Foreign policy advice: Don’t look back
The Biden administration must navigate a new set of global challenges, experts say in MIT panel discussion.
President Joe Biden’s administration represents a fresh start for the U.S. in foreign affairs. But as experts observed at an online MIT panel on Wednesday, the U.S. cannot just reset foreign policy to the last time Biden worked in the White House, as vice-president in the Obama administration. Too many things have changed, too dramatically, in the last four years.
“You can’t rewind the clock at a time when, frankly, great power rivalry is higher than it ever was,” said Shivshankar Menon, an Indian diplomat who previously served as the country’s national security adviser and as the foreign secretary in India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
Regarding China, similarly, the Biden administration “can’t simply revert to Obama era or Obama administration policies,” said Paul Heer, a former career officer in the CIA, where he was an East Asia specialist. “The region has changed dramatically in the past four years … in ways that will require new strategies and tactics, and frankly probably some reassessment of U.S. interests and goals and aspirations in the region.”
The event, “President Biden’s Foreign Policy Challenges: Views from Abroad,” was hosted online by MIT on Wednesday, covering topics from basic diplomacy to public health, nuclear security, immigration, technology policy, and more.