Alliance of like-minded democratic countries more fruitful than 'America First' policyTuesday, June 15, 2021
The world has been accustomed to the influence of the United States of America as the dominant superpower for the last 70 years. Some are comfortable with this role, and some even welcome it, but there are many who oppose American hegemony.
The US has several unresolved contradictions, and this causes its foreign policy to be a dialectic between ideas and goals which are not compatible; for example, between isolationism and multilateralism, their freedom and the willingness to impose their will on other countries, racism, and democracy.
The world is affected by the good, bad, and the ugly of foreign policy. However, faced with the alternatives of communism, dictatorship, and State-controlled economic policy, most people would rather take their chances with the far from perfect USA rather than Russia, China, or Saudi Arabia.
The isolationist tendency came to the fore under US President Donald Trump and started to dismantle the international institutions and multilateral arrangements which have given the world the longest period of peace and prosperity. This led some Americans to speak philosophically of their nation as “the indispensable country”.
President Joseph Biden has abandoned the “America First” approach in favour of building alliances of like-democracies. He began by convening a two-day summit of 40 world leaders on climate change.
The summit re-energised international action on climate change. He has also reactivated US engagement in international organisations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Group of Seven (G-7) has just held meetings and made some important decisions, notably to make available hundreds of millions of vaccines mainly through the WHO.
It shows a recognition that the rich countries cannot save themselves unless they help the rest of the world. It took a pandemic and the death of millions to awaken this recognition.
Commendable as these developments are, they are not the true multilateralism that the world needs.
The People's Republic of China, as the other superpower, must be a participant in the management of world affairs. In the absence of dialogue and cooperation between the two superpowers, their rivalry will be disruptive of the possibility for global peace and prosperity.
Gone are the days when the G-7 — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States — could rule the world with consummate ease and unchallenged.
Moreover, even the G-7 plus China cannot rule the world if global peace and prosperity are to be achieved and maintained. It is time to involve the other over 200 other countries in true multilateralism.
That, of course, will entail true respect for all, as in the words of the Jamaican national anthem, and a willingness by the more developed countries to meet the lesser developed countries halfway. In other words, the strong must be prepared to help the weak.
More importantly, let us hope that one of the features of the post-pandemic world will be the recognition of how much we are integrated as a world and how much we need each other to survive.
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