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America’s Re Engagement with the World and the Continued Importance of Diplomacy

For many regions of the world, the election of President Biden signals a welcome resumption of American global leadership. Under President Donald Trump, America had stepped back from the world and its proactive commitments to international cooperation, in forums such as the United Nations, NATO, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, and bombastic style, often conducted via social media, had undermined a number of key relations with allies and forced a reassessment of the longevity of American power. In January, those harbouring hope for a shift in US engagement appeared vindicated by a flurry of major announcements from the new administration, from re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement to breathing new life into the JPCOA with Iran. In his first major foreign policy address, delivered at a State Department side-lined over the preceding four years, President Biden had a clear message: ‘America is back’. There would be more support for diplomacy, and diplomats, and efforts to repair the bonds that had been strained. The task of leading this re-engagement now falls to the newly confirmed Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who embodies much of the experience, expertise, and empathy that is required to signal the sincerity of America’s commitment to diplomacy. His nomination and Senate approval – including by the majority of Republican senators – is a step in the right-direction to re-establishing the international credibility of US diplomacy.

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