Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden met with his counterparts from the five states of Central Asia in the first-ever leaders’ summit of the so-called C5+1 format. The meeting is a step in the right direction when it comes to U.S. policy toward an increasingly strategic region, but one that Washington has historically neglected.
Earlier this year, the global economy experienced an important milestone that, though it went largely unnoticed, scholars may look back on as a marker of the beginning of a new era, with economic but also geopolitical significance: For the first four months of 2023, Mexico surpassed China as the top trade partner of the United States.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump upended what was once a relatively staid global economic and trade system. For all of the upheaval he created, though, Trump left office with only one clear-cut accomplishment: an updated NAFTA deal. And even as Trump sowed chaos in America’s trade relationships, most of the world reinforced its commitment to trade liberalization.
For the current GOP candidates, calls for the U.S. to invade Mexico have the twin benefits of making them look tough while also potentially appealing to Republican voters in the Trump faction. But these calls also betray three sad truths about U.S. foreign policy generally, and Republican foreign policy in particular.
President Joe Biden took office with an ambitious foreign policy agenda summed up by his favorite campaign tagline: “America is back.” Above all, that will mean repairing the damage done to America’s global standing by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
Even as regular climate diplomacy has resumed between the U.S. and China, officials and observers of both countries have become markedly more pessimistic about the feasibility of carving out a separate lane for climate progress amid rising tensions. That may imperil our chances of a timely energy transition.
Violence and corruption in Central America, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries, is causing a wave of outward migration. Since taking office, the Biden administration has pledged to tackle the root causes of the problem, which the Trump administration’s restrictive measures and pressure on regional governments did nothing to address. Meanwhile, efforts at reform across the region face opposition from entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo.