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Joe Biden Administration Working Towards Asserting Global Leadership

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.

Suppose the vaccination campaign is speeded up and carried out. It can “help the Quad demonstrate its functional and normative importance as an alternative to Chinese hegemony,” as ORF’s Dhruva Jaishankar and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution argue in a related Foreign Affairs article. Of course, the diplomatic and strategic advantages to the United States, which is currently ideally placed to lead such an effort, will be significant.

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.

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