The Biden administration needs a new ‘grand strategy’


The Ukraine crisis is a critical challenge for the Biden administration, which may require the establishment of a new “grand strategy” to restore America’s global image. Andrew Lohsen, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), calls the issue “the worst crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War”. The Russian aggression along the Ukrainian border is a true test of the foreign policy of the incumbent Biden administration. So far, the president has relied on incremental changes in his predecessor’s foreign policy in the absence of a reliable framework that aligns the country’s goals with its role and worldview.

Biden took power with the determination to restore American prestige in the international arena. This might only be possible by undoing the key developments that have taken place thanks to Trump’s transactional and isolationist approach to foreign policy. The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, the agreement with Iran and the withdrawal of the American army from the Middle East have been serious setbacks for America’s global stature in the face of influence. China’s growing economy. To restore America’s “global policeman” role, Biden aimed to re-engage friends and foes on the international stage. It took a paradigm shift in American foreign policy to overcome the negative impacts of Trumpism. Structurally, however, the realities of the post-Trump world differ from the pre-Trump era, which reaffirms the indispensability of a new direction in foreign policy, rather than reverting to the same traditional approach.

Over the past few decades, China has transformed itself into an economic giant that places a heavy burden on the shoulders of the liberal world. Ten years ago, Neill Ferguson, a historian, described the rise of China as a “reorientation of the world”, a phrase now synonymous with the rise of the East. China was able to transform its economic weight into a powerful military muscle through which it was able to restructure international institutions and rules. First, China has become an immediate threat to Western economic interests. Second, Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is determined to realistically secure its backyard with a zero-sum approach. Putin’s recent interventions in his neighborhood may be marked by his sense of geographical insecurity. Historically, on many occasions, Russia has been invaded due to insecure geography: namely Napoleon in 1812, the British and French in 1854-56, the Japanese in 1904-05 and finally the Germans in the 20th century. . In the words of Richard Pipes, “Russia has by no means become the greatest territorial state in the world by repelling repeated invasions than a man gets rich by being robbed.” Putin has many justifications for acting anxiously in his quest for a buffer zone at a time of NATO expansion.

In the age of information and technology, postmodernists place dominance in relatively softer terms of attraction and persuasion – projection of soft power.

Another reality is climate change, which poses an existential threat to everyone around the world. The world may be fragmented in terms of traditional ideologies and policies, but it is unique in its unity in the face of non-traditional security challenges. From the dangers posed by climate and epidemics, to cybersecurity risks, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Global security challenges have transformed dramatically in the post-Trump era in such a way that they cannot be addressed by old foreign policy logics. It’s time for Biden to liberate American foreign policy from the traditional goals of American ideals and democratic values ​​toward non-traditional goals — a policy disposition that eliminates widespread trust deficits regarding the integrity of the United States by reinvigorating the dominant role of America on the international stage.

In a realistic sense, the durability of a great power’s dominance generally depends on its persistent demonstration of military superiority over others—hard power projection. Sometimes military coercion plays a big role in getting what you want and intimidating others. But, in the age of information and technology, postmodernists place dominance in relatively softer terms of attraction and persuasion – the projection of soft power. A concept coined by Joseph Nye emphasizes the strong manifestation of one’s values, culture and ideology to influence others. On the contrary, the Covid-19 pandemic revealed another reality by inaugurating a leading role in the form of a turbulent Mother Nature. As Keeling and Lehman stated, “post-humanist scholars reject the ‘human-nature dichotomy’ by understanding that humans are entangled with the environment”. For example, the climate issue and the pandemic have unleashed the tumultuous face of nature and its ability to destroy everything around it; a reality so strong that it could transform all kinds of existing relationships of dominance and subordination.

Ironically, it does not matter who benefits from the geopolitical and geoeconomic gains in international confrontations such as Russia in Ukraine or the United States and China, because the world cannot be saved from the grip of a disastrous climate, a epidemic and cyber-encounters by waging wars. for geography or democracy. These non-traditional security issues have posed a myriad of challenges that require dynamic leadership at the international level. Today, the role of “global policeman” demands new foreign policy justifications, dressed in suits related to climate, pandemic and cybersecurity.

For the Biden administration, the Ukraine dilemma is a critical moment that demands major shifts in foreign policy to address non-traditional but vital security challenges. Either his decision could propel the world into another era of costly competition with nuclear weapons, or simply transform it from perceived traditional security challenges into greater existential threats. With declining approval ratings at home, where 54% of Americans are unhappy with the president, and a lack of significant restorations of America’s global image, despite strong promises, the Ukraine crisis is perilous for the Biden administration. He will assess the credibility of his leadership in an atmosphere of toxic external threats and looming midterm elections at home. Simultaneously, this is an opportunity for the Biden administration to devise a new “grand strategy” to ease green voice concerns among European allies and ease some tensions with traditional enemies to enable a working relationship on threats. serious non-traditional security issues. Above all, the new role of “world policeman” is situated at the threshold of planetary security, of an immune humanity and secure information.

The author is an M.Phil. Student in the field of American Studies at Area Study Center, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. He is interested in world politics, foreign policy and sociology.


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