What is the kernel of the issue?
Under the last administration, the “America First” foreign policy diminished the importance and priority of America’s alliances in Europe and Asia, often undermining them in very damaging ways.
Why is the issue important?
This decade, alliances and partnerships are critical for ensuring peace, prosperity, and stability. The new MAD (“Massive Acts of Disruption”), whether through pandemics, climate change, cyber, or other instruments of destruction, must be assigned top national security priority to contain, prevent, mitigate, and deter and become a new basis for international security and cooperation.
What is the recommendation?
The Biden administration should first of all rebuild and strengthen NATO and relations with the EU, not only vis-à-vis Russia but as the most intelligent way to deal with China heading east through Europe, and revise its strategy with a new “Atlantic Charter” and adopting a “Porcupine Defense”. The United States also should re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership soon to counterbalance China’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and renew ties with Asian allies and friends. What the Biden Administration must not do is to change the division of labor so it assumes larger responsibilities in Asia and the Pacific while leaving the EU and NATO to take on the burden for defending Europe. Nor should it measure NATO military strength in terms of the defense spending percentage of GDP, but in terms of actual alliance military capability.