President-Elect Biden Says America Is Back. Is That True?

Dec 18, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden says ‘America first’ is history. But is the U.S. as world leader history, too? We discuss Biden’s foreign policy team and America’s place on the world stage.


Peter Beinart, contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and editor-at-large for Jewish Currents. Professor of journalism at the City University of New York. (@PeterBeinart)

Shaun Breslin, professor of politics and international studies at the University of Warwick. He led the EU’s GREEN Project, which studied the U.S. role in the evolving global order.

Kimberly Atkins, senior opinion writer for the Boston Globe. (@KimberlyEAtkins)

From The Reading List

New York Times: “Biden Wants America to Lead the World. It Shouldn’t.” — “There’s a lot we still don’t know about how President-elect Joe Biden and his foreign policy team will approach the world. But this much is clear: They believe in American ‘leadership.'”

Foreign Affairs: “A Democracy Summit Is Not What the Doctor Ordered” — “President-elect Joe Biden has announced that he intends to hold a “Summit for Democracy” in his first year in office.”

Foreign Affairs: “Why America Must Lead Again” — “By nearly every measure, the credibility and influence of the United States in the world have diminished since President Barack Obama and I left office on January 20, 2017. President Donald Trump has belittled, undermined, and in some cases abandoned U.S. allies and partners.”

CNN: “America’s role as global leader all but died under Trump. The world was outgrowing it anyway” — “The United States was never expected to last this long as the world’s leader. For more than seven decades, America has buttressed the ‘rules-based order,’ acting as the world’s police and its moral champion, whether its allies and enemies liked it or not. That’s no longer the case.”

Vox: “The single biggest foreign policy decision Joe Biden faces” — “When I spoke last week with Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador in Washington from 2014 to 2019, I expected to hear about the world’s reaction to President-elect Joe Biden and his Cabinet. My aim was to understand the decisions global leaders faced and the effects they’d have on the world.”

Military Times: “Biden SECDEF choice, a recently retired general, says he’s prepared to embrace civilian mindset” — “Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin made his first public remarks on Wednesday after President-elect Joe Biden selected him for defense secretary, making his case that he can be trusted to run the Defense Department like a civilian.”

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