As recent polling has confirmed, the prestige and image of the United States have suffered a precipitous decline under President Donald Trump. As for Trump himself, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that people in a variety of other countries place more stock in the leadership of both China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin than in America’s president.
Although domestic issues are likely to dominate the upcoming U.S. presidential election, for these reasons and others, a key feature of Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign to send Trump into political retirement has appropriately been addressing the damage to the country’s global standing. Biden proposes to achieve this, though, in mostly predictable ways that are both self-limiting and unfortunate.
He wants to recommit Washington to what have traditionally been regarded as its most important alliances, and restore America’s reputation as a country governed by law and by certain well-known progressive principles, including fairness and inclusion. By the same token, Biden wants to promote human rights and democracy in America’s foreign policy again, while opposing the persecution of religious, racial and sexual minorities. To these, in light of Trump’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic, one might add demonstrating more basic competence in governance.