избранный президент сша джо байден дал ясно понять, что центральную роль во внешней политике его администрации будет играть дипломатия. байден пообещал снова присоединиться к парижскому климатическому соглашению уже в первый день работы администрации, а также подтвердить верность союзникам по нато, вернуть америку в иранское ядерное соглашение 2015 года и созвать «саммит за демократию» с целью «поддержать дух и единую цель государств свободного мира». как он писал в марте в журнале «foreign affairs», «дипломатия должна быть первоочередным инструментом американской силы».
the restoration of america's treaties and alliances will be a positive development after four years of president donald trump's mercantile attitude towards the world. trump's america first foreign policy has worsened the country's relations with allies and reduced its ability to withstand growing global challenges such as pandemics, climate change, nuclear proliferation, democratic rollback, and unfair foreign trade practices.
but shaping a diplomatic-first foreign policy that will tackle these kinds of problems requires more than the new administration’s policy decisions made in its first year — no matter how important. a fundamental overhaul of the relevant us institutions is required to place diplomacy and international development at the center of foreign and national security policy on an ongoing basis.
this work should start by rethinking what security is and who needs it. politicians and political scientists traditionally define security in a narrow sense - the protection of the territorial integrity and political independence of the nation-state, which naturally leads to increased attention to military potential.
but in reality, national security should mean something different - protecting people from a variety of threats that negatively affect their daily life, from disease and violence to fires and floods. the fact that these threats have the greatest negative impact on the lives of the most vulnerable is the result of politics, not chance. and therefore, security must begin with a set of national and global instruments to reduce risks to these groups.
according to this logic, diplomacy begins internally. for example, if a pandemic threatens national security, then the united states needs to invest in strengthening the health system and at the same time significantly increase its participation in international institutions like the world health organization to prepare for the next virus.
if america's security is threatened by political violence (and as the new america foundation has shown, more americans have died from extreme right-wing terrorist attacks since september 11, 2001 than at the hands of jihadist terrorists), then it needs to invest more in tracking tools at home and abroad. in addition, we must invest in restoring confidence in our democratic institutions, including the electoral voting system, and at the same time work with partners around the world to counter the democratic rollback and to combat the spread of disinformation.
or if unequal internet access prevents some americans from getting education, health care, and a growing number of public and private services, then the u.s. government must focus on making internet connectivity as ubiquitous a phenomenon like electricity. at the same time, it must work with foreign governments and international organizations to create a more equal and accessible digital world.
the biden administration should also develop a plan to restructure the us department of state, starting with the foreign service. recently, one of the authors of this article argued in democracy magazine that the concept of the diplomatic service, as a professional civil servant, developed in the last century, “deprives america of the talent, connections and flexibility we need to effectively defend national interests and solve global problems in xxi century ". a service that welcomes talented professionals from ngos, universities and faith-based groups, among others, will be better equipped to tackle complex, transnational problems that require a workforce with diverse backgrounds and a wide range of experience and expertise.
finally, keeping us foreign policy in line with diplomacy first means that it has to play a much more important role in development assistance, which requires its own diplomacy. ideally, the biden administration, working with congress, could work to revise the 1961 foreign aid act and create a new ministry for global development. alternatively, raising the post of director of the united states agency for international development (usaid) to the ministerial level, signaling that america sees economic development as a critical tool in its efforts to improve global human well-being.
other countries may similarly rethink their diplomatic strategies and definitions of diplomacy and security. their legislators have an important role to play in this work. in america, congress decides how much funding each federal agency and program should receive. in fiscal 2019, defense in the united states accounted for about half of all discretionary federal government spending, while the total international aid budget was less than 4%.
congress can help build america's diplomatic capacity by committing more resources to reform and funding for the us state department and the usaid. in addition, as part of its oversight role, it can limit the executive's excessive focus on military instruments. by acting as decisively as possible, congress can revoke authorizations for the use of military force, block contracts for the sale of american weapons, and limit or burden funding for security cooperation.
against the backdrop of a global pandemic and climate change, political leaders around the world must re-examine what exactly increases or decreases the safety of their citizens. they will find that investing in domestic resilience, diplomacy and international development is far more wiser than increasing military budgets. now, as joe biden prepares to take office, we need a collective upsurge of new global diplomacy to enable greater cooperation in the face of common threats.
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