SEATTLE, Washington — During these last four years, nationalistic isolationism has been the ideological forefront of American foreign policy. Yet, under the new Biden administration, the United States has prioritized the need to re-enter the global stage as a leader in international affairs. With Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, the trend of U.S. isolationism may come to an end. There is hope for an increase in U.S. foreign aid to encourage strategic competition and protect national security goals.
COVID-19 and International Participation
After becoming America’s top diplomat, Blinken addressed the importance of international cooperation and aid to combat the present pandemic. During his nomination hearing, he said that the Biden Administration intends to join COVAX, rejoin the World Health Organization and increase resources to address the global COVID-19 response. For many developing countries, the pandemic has led to increasing economic instability and public health crises which will set back decades of progress in these regions. In the age of multilateralism and globalization, it is in America’s national interest to help re-introduce global stability and progress.
To expedite the rollout of the new COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. should ensure that it is distributed properly and equitably. As President Biden stated during his campaign, to focus entirely on U.S. isolationism would undermine the global markets that have allowed the international and American economy to prosper. Now more than ever, providing quality access to health services should be a national priority. In doing so, the process of returning to normality in a safe and prosperous manner would be accelerated.
Development Programs and Global Poverty
Before Biden’s inauguration, the State Department drafted the Global Fragility Act. The act authorizes $200 million a year for a Prevention and Stabilization Fund and $30 million a year over the course of five years for a Complex Crisis Fund. In order to properly address fragility in geopolitics, President Joe Biden and Antony Blinken will fully integrate development programs in U.S. foreign policy.
As global poverty escalates around the world, humanitarian crises have worsened over time. According to a report by the Human Rights Watch, violence, discrimination and human rights abuses have increased throughout the pandemic. These abuses have also disproportionately affected low-income individuals. For that reason, Blinken and the State Department have expressed interest in having greater access to regions with developing nations. The Department wishes to assist the process of greater accountability and humanitarian assistance.
U.S. Foreign Intervention
Active engagement in international affairs has been a crucial aspect of the United States’ political and economic development. To retract from such tradition might undermine the global stability and progress that the U.S. and other international institutions have attempted to create. For example, the pandemic is expected to push between 119 to 124 million people into poverty. One of the most affected regions is South Asia, which will hold approximately half of such individuals driven into poverty. For the United States, South Asia is a critical area. The region is America’s fourth-largest export market and it supports hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs. Thus, as Blinken said, to be unengaged with international affairs would deter our interests and values.
With the new administration, it is becoming clear that the trend of U.S. isolationism will come to a close. Antony Blinken will lead the Biden administration and the nation into a new era of the U.S. emerging as a global leader. The United States, in providing foreign aid, will help developing nations in solving many of their poverty crises, especially during a time when COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem.
– Jorge Tagle