Analysis & Opinions - The Economist

America needs to invest more in diplomacy

| Nov. 17, 2020

And the State Department must modernise

WHO WILL run the world in 2021? International institutions such as the United Nations have been weakened by great-power rivalry. Russia will be a spoiler, not a leader. In Europe, Boris Johnson will have his hands full with the aftermath of Brexit, Germany’s Angela Merkel will leave the stage and France’s Emmanuel Macron has limited means to pursue his grand ideas. China is the rising superpower, and an increasingly assertive one, but not yet keen, let alone able, to take on the burdens of world leadership. The question is whether America, under President Joe Biden, will be prepared to step back into the role.

For some years now America, weary of its “endless wars”, has been in retreat. Barack Obama believed it was time to focus on “nation-building at home”. Donald Trump took to withdrawal with gusto, pulling the country out of a long list of international arrangements, including the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal and—in the middle of a pandemic—the World Health Organisation. As America has stepped back, emboldened authoritarian leaders have stepped forward, posing a challenge to democracies everywhere.


For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:America needs to invest more in diplomacy.” The Economist, November 17, 2020.