Wednesday, Jan. 20, marks a significant change in American politics, one that has not been seen in many years. The inauguration of Joe Biden does not just mean the arrival of a new president, but the beginning of a new political movement in America involving a complete renewal of domestic and international messaging, positions, public policy and alliances.
Joe Biden not only represents the fact that a Democrat is taking the place of a Republican, but he represents a completely different vision of the world from the one we have seen the past four years.
The country is waging an urgent and imminent battle with COVID-19. Even with the vaccine, cases in the United States are accelerating, having surpassed 4,000 deaths over several days in the past week. The promise to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days is quite ambitious, but should it work, it could put Biden in a favorable public position so he can move forward with the rest of his agendas.
Reshaping the Narrative for Allies and the World
A heavy overhaul is needed with respect to the American global narrative, particularly for U.S. alliances, in the wake of Donald Trump. The outgoing Republican president alienated historic American allies during his term, doing damage to the progress being made on an international agenda that focused on isolating China.
In the end, China closed an important trade agreement with the European Union, conquered a place for itself in the Middle East that it had not had before, consolidated its sphere of influence in Latin America and strengthened itself internally around the leadership of Xi Jinping. Biden wants to reverse this development with the help of U.S. allies, and not act unilaterally, as Trump tried to do.
For this to work, the world needs to renew its confidence in the foundational pillars of American democracy. The surreal events of Jan. 6, when Trump supporters overran the Capitol, must stand for something that has occurred, and not represent what could happen again.
One of Biden’s top priorities is to mitigate American polarization once he has contained COVID-19 and expanded the plan for vaccination. To this end, economic recovery is key, since in the view of members of his administration with whom I spoke in recent weeks, it will ease the division among the most ardent Trump supporters.