A virus is putting America’s search for global leadership to the test. Since the Joe Biden administration is attempting to assert leadership in global health security by spearheading a multilateral initiative to combat the pandemic, the virus that began in China and is now ravaging the globe poses both challenges and opportunities.
Joe Biden now has a chance to direct the US response away from Donald Trump’s isolationism and toward leading a global vaccination campaign, and the Quad may be a critical forum for that effort — at least in the short term. Vaccinating its Quad partners first — and even the Quad-plus — would strengthen America’s contribution to the framework and guide resources and energies to a region of the world (not just India) currently the pandemic’s epicenter one-fifth of the world’s population.
Washington could also reclaim some of the soft power it has let erode. The world is already aware of the havoc wreaked by a mercurial second wave in India. From earning grudging praise for its handling of the pandemic in the first wave to experiencing a meltdown in the second, India’s history has lessons for the rest of the world.