Commentary: Biden says America is back at the table. Is it?

Elizabeth Shackelford, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Political News

But if we fail to course-correct, the United States will be poorly prepared to address our greatest national security threats ahead. The past 18 months have taught us that we can’t solve our biggest challenges alone. A self-centered strategy won’t defeat COVID-19, mitigate climate change, address critical supply chain vulnerabilities, or prepare us to resolve the next crisis ahead.

If Biden is serious about facing these challenges together, he should show it with concrete steps on COVID-19 and climate change. His administration could consult closely with the World Health Organization to develop a plan for boosters backed by science instead of political interest, and lead a global vaccination effort large enough to meet the moment. After all, the less vaccinated the world is, the more likely we’ll see a variant that can beat our vaccines.

The world will be watching U.S. domestic activity too. If Biden allows his signature legislative initiative to pass with meaningful climate change provisions gutted, America’s global commitments will mean little.

President Biden sounds like he understands how essential a well-coordinated global response is to these threats, but it will take more than words at this stage to address them, and to convince others to trust our partnership again.




Elizabeth Shackelford is a senior fellow on U.S. foreign policy with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She was previously a U.S. diplomat and is author of “The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age.”


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