Biden Warns Putin & Rebuilds America's "Soft Power" Through Alliances & Trust
During the Trump years, America's standing in the world was reduced to what it could obtain through raw power and intimidation. That might have been enough for Great Britain in the 19th Century, but in the age of nuclear weapons, cyberwarfare, terrorism, and a globalized economy it's not enough to achieve the nation's international goals. You also need what IR expert Joseph Nye called "soft power." US President Joe Biden understands that you need both to reach your global objectives in the 21st century.
Soft Power.com: "Power in international relations has traditionally been defined and assessed in easily quantifiable ‘hard’ terms, often understood in the context of military and economic might. Hard power is deployed in the form of coercion: using force, the threat of force, economic sanctions, or inducements of payment. In contrast to the coercive nature of hard power, soft power describes the use of positive attraction and persuasion to achieve foreign policy objectives. Soft power shuns the traditional foreign policy tools of carrot and stick, seeking instead to achieve influence by building networks, communicating compelling narratives, establishing international rules, and drawing on the resources that make a country naturally attractive to the world."
Biden had three objectives during his trip to Europe: rebuild America's alliances in Europe that had been undermined by Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, warn Vladimir Putin of the consequences of misbehavior, and demonstrate to the international community that the United States is a force for good in the world. And, Biden understands something that Trump never did; those goals, combining America's hard and soft power, are intertwined and constitute American "Greatness."
President Biden didn't get everything that he wanted in his meetings with the G7, the European Union and NATO, but he got more than anyone could have expected going into the meetings.
Washington Post: "Biden got fellow leaders to agree on a 15 percent global corporate minimum tax, on sending 1 billion doses of covid-19 vaccines to the developing world (not enough, but a start), on speaking out about the challenge posed by China, and on settling a long-festering European-American trade dispute over aircraft subsidies."
More importantly, Biden set a new tone in our relations, one of cooperation on the issues that impact both the US and Europe. We are stronger and the world is safer when America leads through cooperation with our natural allies. Trump and Pompeo learned what happens when the only tool you have is the "stick," [see here, and here and so many more] The countries of Europe have their own national interests which they are quite happy to pursue if the US tries to play the bully. This is not the Cold War era and the EU no longer fears Russian tanks rolling across Eastern Europe. They value America's friendship, but friendships require compromise & trust.
In his summit with Vladimir Putin, Biden set out the future parameters of US-Russian relations. The United States will work with Russia on issues of mutual interest such as arms control, Syria and cyber warfare, but we will retaliate against Putin's misbehavior, including his penchant for political assassinations. Biden's approach contrasts sharply with Trump's embarrassing 2018 Helsinki summit performance during which the former President "simpered and cowered," his way through meetings with the Russian dictator. Conservative IR expert Max Boot captured the change in tone for the Post.
Washington Post, Max Boot: "But there is a diplomatic benefit from the summit that may outweigh the cost of boosting Putin’s standing. That is to have an experienced and principled U.S. president communicate clearly and unequivocally to the “killer” in the Kremlin what U.S. interests and expectations are — and to let him know that there will be grave consequences for misbehavior. That appears to be exactly what Biden did. Whether Putin got the message remains to be seen. But at least it’s nice to have a president who knows what message to deliver."
By: Don Lam & Curated Content