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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasAmerica is back, but the world has changed

America is back, but the world has changed

Author: Dr. Leslie Vinjamuri

Affiliation: Director, US and the Americas Programme; Dean, Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs at Chatham House

Organization/Publisher: Chatham House 

Date/Place: February 23, 2021/UK

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 1466


Keywords: Joe Biden, America, climate 


In this article, the author tries to shed light on the international standing that the United States seeks to return to lead the world. She explains a set of measures taken by the Biden administration, such as returning to the Paris climate agreements and the World Health Organization to join the United Nations Human Rights Council – albeit in an observer status until the next elections – and ending the travel ban imposed on many Muslim majority countries. Biden has also pledged $2 billion to support COVAX, the global plan to ensure a fair distribution of the vaccine, followed by another $2 billion over two years. President Biden has also worked to dispel the perception of US ambivalence toward its European allies, by firmly declaring the United States’ commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The writer believes that the next four years will be an experiment to see if the United States can cooperate, for example, with China on climate and Russia on arms control. The author notes an essential point about European-American relations. Despite all the measures taken by the American president, the Europeans are still concerned about its remaining strength, and the opinion is divided about the return of America. Some in Europe have adapted to a world without US leadership, while others insist that Europe must chart its course independently of US’ priorities. There is also a new reality of international politics. America’s relative position in the global economy has declined, China has grown, and on multiple dimensions, the world has moved forward. America itself has changed too, and returning the country to its former status will be difficult. In the writer’s opinion, for Biden to achieve the goals he seeks, he needs more pragmatism.

By: Taqwa Abu Kmeil, CIGA Research Assistant



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