Think Tank (6/2020)
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Does the US Need a New Security Framework/Architecture for Renewed Great Power Rivalry?
26 Nov 2020

On 26 November 2020, Dr Adam Garfinkle, founding editor of The American Interest and RSIS Distinguished Visiting Fellow, presented a webinar titled “Does the US Need a New Security Framework/Architecture for Renewed Great Power Rivalry?”

Opposing this notion, Dr Garfinkle argued that macro-level strategic changes were unlikely to either occur or be successful as the US was no longer enjoying its unipolar moment. Instead, it would have to put its own house in order and restore its global reputation before it can credibly suggest changes to existing security or alliance arrangements.

However, the US could consider micro-level adjustments to allow the diplomatic processes to function properly again, although this should be recalibrated to account for the global changes since the end of the Obama administration. Towards this end, Dr Garfinkle had three recommendations for the incoming Biden administration:

Firstly, the inter-agency process for the US’ foreign and security policy would have to be restored after the chaos of the Trump presidency. Biden’s appointees – with their experience in both Democratic and Republican administrations – are well-versed in the workings of the system. A functioning inter-agency process would not only reduce missteps but change the tenor of the US’ foreign policy, as America’s reputation among friends and foes had suffered under the Trump administration.

Secondly, the new administration would have to undertake a zero-based re-evaluation of the changes and to establish new priorities. This was crucial as Biden’s immediate focus would be to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the domestic economy – leaving less “bandwidth” for foreign policy than most people might expect.

Lastly, the re-joining of UN agencies would not be sufficient. The new administration would have to make its inter-agency process work better for Americans by combining domestic and foreign policy concerns. This is especially the case as the US seeks to re-engage with international organisations.

Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel:

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