President Joe Biden’s first months in office have been fraught with challenges. His administration has been actively working on a variety of different fronts and there are a number of things that are a cause for concern, as well as hope and optimism.
Biden is hustling, but it is too soon to see a clear picture of whether or not he can meet the serious global challenges before him.
The president just wrapped up meetings with the G7 in Cornwall, England, and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, June 16 in Geneva amid deteriorating relations between the two countries. The two discussed nuclear strategies and the worsening relations between the nations.
The G7 summit was a welcome return to the United States operating in cooperation with our traditional allies. It was evident from the body language captured in images from the summit that it was no longer America against the rest of the world. What we saw instead was America finding common ground with the most developed economic countries in the world, as opposed to highlighting differences in opinion or approach.
From a drama perspective, Biden has been very successful in returning the United States to a more normal, low-key day-to-day existence. We are no longer careening at breakneck speed through major policy shifts that come with little warning. A sense of steadiness and consistency that was noticeably absent in the years preceding him has returned.
Still, we have an aged president who is no longer at the peak of his mental and physical strength. He has a tall task ahead of him in confronting major threats to the world. Russia and China are powerful countries who have been unrepentant in their autocratic approach. They both provide a clear and present economic danger to America.
Expect the United States and China to be vying for global supremacy as superpowers over the next half century. It remains to be seen whether Biden is all talk or whether he is actually going to find ways to put China back in its place and prompt America to stay 10 steps ahead of its global competitor.
The president’s first meeting with Putin this week set a baseline for relations between the two countries during the rest of Biden’s term.
All of it is going to take some creative thinking, strength, stamina and nerves of steel. I am just not sure if Biden is up to the task. It remains to be seen whether a 78-year-old fragile president can get the job done.
Meanwhile, the president does deserve credit for working hard to not just get Americans vaccinated but also to return the U.S. to supreme benevolence. The pledge by the United States to distribute 500 million vaccines to poor and developing countries is an important gesture that will no doubt have the effect of saving lives. It is a very smart use of America’s soft power. I’m proud that this nation has always been benevolent and giving. And once again, the U.S. has stepped forward and led, even as others in the world criticize our system of government and way of life. One has to ponder why is it that one-seventh of the world’s most powerful, richest countries vowed to provide half of the vaccines to the rest of the world? I’m referring, of course, to the U.S.’s pledge to donate 500 million doses and the rest of the G7 committed an aggregated 500 million for a total of 1 billion doses. I’m sorry, but the G7 can do better. They should do better. The toll in saved lives and saved economies is incalculable.
It is also the right thing for America to do. We are a wealthy nation and if we have access to life-saving medicines such as vaccines, it is incumbent upon us to do what we can to lift up others and save lives. It will also engender good feelings toward the United States if we can help save lives in other countries. People will look upon America favorably, and know America is truly in their corner.
How Biden handles future looming crises and opportunities remains to be seen. Unquestionably there will come serious situations, even if they come in the dead of night in the form of a cyber strike, a terrorist attack or gross human rights violations by an adversary. It is not a question of if, but when.
Without question, the next several years will be tense between the United States, China and Russia. How we weather the storm remains to be seen. Can Biden safeguard the United States’ unique standing as a world superpower?
Meanwhile, we are a global community, all connected for better or for worse. Whether Biden’s efforts are successful to bring the world together with America remaining in the lead remains to be seen. But at least he deserves credit for trying.
Follow on Twitter: @arightside