2021 will be a pivotal year for international order as the world begins to emerge from a devastating pandemic and a contentious period of nationalism and populism stoked and symbolized by Donald Trump.  But rather than emerging dominant after a period of great struggle, as in 1945 or 1989, America will face the world with its international reputation in tatters, its polity deeply polarized, and its economy in disrepair. And the Biden administration will be presented with a daunting inbox of harrowing threats and profound challenges.

And yet, with most of the world looking forward to America’s return to the global stage, President-Elect Joe Biden has a historic window of opportunity to reshape a global order in need of innovation and modernization. The Biden administration will need to make clear that it is not simply going to return to the status quo ante, but is prepared instead, with humility and purpose, to embrace a new approach for America’s role in the world. Biden has spoken often about restoring cooperation with allies. To succeed in advancing America’s core interests and values, the administration should follow its rhetoric with concrete actions making a true partnership with democratic allies the central organizing principle of US foreign policy.

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