The six great challenges that Joe Biden listed as the “cascading crises of our era,” saying that his administration would be judged on the basis of how it handled them, are important not only for the United States but for the whole world. And so America’s decisive return to a leading role on the international stage can only have positive results.
The Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, inequality (between people, between countries), racism and the assault on truth and democracy concern every human being. The sixth challenge that the new president named – America’s global standing – will depend on how the country deals with the other five problems, as well as the extent to which it will seek international cooperation in the pursuit of solutions.
Biden’s first presidential decrees showed his determination to overturn his predecessor’s isolationism and unilateralism. He canceled the process of withdrawal from the World Health Organization, so that the United States can play a leading role in the fight against the pandemic. He ordered his country’s return to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Dealing with inequality and racism and defending truth and democracy demand ideas, policies and measures that will be watched carefully by every other country. To some extent, all of them face similar problems, whether they are democracies or run by autocratic regimes. Trump’s legacy is proof of the need for cooperation and for policies that are based on facts, on the truth.
The new administration is staffed by people who know that the system of global governance – based on cooperation and on protecting human rights – worked in favor of the United States. Despite its weaknesses, this network of common interests nurtured unprecedented development in very many countries and pulled huge numbers of people out of poverty.
If the United States really is interested in cooperation and justice, we can hope for the evolution of the global system of governance so that it will deter arbitrary actions and promote stability and the solution of problems on the basis of international law.
The Biden presidency’s first steps, on a long and difficult road, are encouraging for Greece, too.