Woody Allen once famously said, “Eighty percent of success is showing.” No advice is more important to President-elect Joe Biden as he maps his strategy to regain the lost ground of the United States and worldwide influence.
The relative America’s global retreat trend pre-dated the Trump administration, but accelerated in the last four years. The Biden administration has made the strengthening of global partners and allies as well as common causes one of its top priorities. However, reversing current trends, one needs to understand that America’s “no-show” is the most important.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would be a good place to start this week. China stood at the center – and the United States was seen from afar from the world’s largest multilateral trade agreement. It brings together countries that account for about 30% of the world’s economic output and population.
The deal is a fitting book for the Trump administration in the first hours of negotiations toward a trans-Pacific partnership agreement that would have sealed America’s trade relations with 11 other Asian economies – stealing a march on China. Instead, the agreement proceeded between those countries, but without the United States. The Biden administration should begin by studying whether there is a quick route to reintegrate this group. Yet the phenomenon of relative American withdrawal, known by some scholars as the “world without America”, transcends trade. Last week, for example, both the United States and Europe were left looking outward as Russia signed an agreement to end a six-week bloody conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karbakh. did.
Anyone’s view of the agreement, and the Armenians seem to be the most lost as matters stand, was the most struck among international diplomats as President Vladimir Putin’s central and unpublished role. Turkey was the only major country, but it was not a signatory to the agreement nor is it mentioned in the deal. It said, Ankara’s military and diplomatic assistance contributed to Azerbaijan’s victory.
Putin’s message to Europe and the world was clear at the time of American political transition and distraction: the United States is no longer a deciding factor in “its territory”.
Neil Harr, a Canadian journalist and analyst working with the South Caucus, writes, “Missing this opportunity and allowing Moscow to end the war altogether means Russia now has military bases in the territory of all three South Caucasus republics. Sits with. ” “Any American engagement with Karbakh (under a Biden administration) will now begin firmly on the hind leg, beholding this unfavorable reality on the ground.”
American diplomats who have invested their careers in the democratic and peaceful development of countries on Russia’s borders, noting the contrasting disparity between today’s American influence and Washington’s central role 25 years ago, the Dayton Agreement that ended the Bosnian War Are doing brokerage.
Many Americans can at least welcome Washington’s engagement in such distant conflicts, even when they do not engage American troops. However, there remains a perception among allies and opponents around the world that Washington has quietly accepted a less global role that remains of uncertain size and ambition.
They point to the recent Abraham Accord, through which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain reached a peace deal with Israel, underlining that Washington can still shape a better future whenever it wants. However, there also, the Middle East’s parties moved forward partly as a security hedge against growing concerns about a low US presence.
The list is a long list of places where the partners would like the Biden administration to regain America’s influence. The Biden administration is likely to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization on opening day, but it will also move forward on other fronts.
First, US partners will look to see if President Biden works more closely in multilateral settings such as the GV-7 and G-20, Kovid-19, in response to vaccine delivery and ongoing economic shaking of the global common cause. To manage better. They point to the way the US responded to the 2008–2009 global financial crisis.
They will also look to see how quickly and with what success the United States will rejoin multilateral organizations like the United States. Whatever Americans may think of the UN’s performance, the US disagreement has left the door open for China to fill top positions in several influential UN agencies. China now heads four of the 15 specialized UN agencies and groups that run the organization’s machinery. No other country has more than one.
The most important to address, but also the most difficult politically, will address the Chinese global economic and trade gains pointing to this week’s RCEP agreement.
Nowhere can the United States gain more ground more quickly than it does in making trade and investment agreements with its European and Asian partners, either by joining current agreements or by adding new ones.
The RCEP shows that some close regional partners in China and Washington see that the greatest path to greatest prosperity is through liberalizing trade and liberal economic relations. The agreement is expected to add $ 209 billion in global income and $ 500 billion in global trade by 2030.
Having said that, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress and their constituencies have parted from the most important agreements in addressing China’s rise.
The leader of the European People’s Party, Manfred Weber, the largest constituency in the European Parliament, told the South China Morning Post that the new Asia-Pacific trade deal should be a “wake-up call” for the transatlantic common cause.
“We need a reunion of the so-called Western world,” he said, “now with Joe Biden as the creative ally, to face this challenge of China. This is the key question for the coming decade.”
Coming back to Woody Allen, 80% of success is visible, but it is the final 20% that will be decisive for history. Can President-Elect Biden galvanize European and Asian partners around a landmark agreement to counter the growing influence of China and totalitarian capitalism? Or will American politics and disorganization among global democracies block this critical path to global relevance?
Frederick Kempe is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the most influential think tanks in the United States’ global affairs. He worked in the Wall Street Journal for over 25 years as a foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor, and longest serving editor of the European edition of the paper. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Most Dangerous Places on Earth” – was a New York Times best-seller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Follow her on twitter @FredKempe And sStart here His look every Saturday in Inflation Points, last week’s top stories and trends.
For more information from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion On twitter