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A Liberalish New World Order
Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Turkey's President Erdogan, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and President Joe Biden are seen on a screen during a climate change virtual summit (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

A Liberalish New World Order

Walter Russell Mead

Ever since James Monroe instructed the European powers to keep their colonization efforts out of the Western Hemisphere, historians have looked for “doctrines,” the big ideas that guide presidents in their conduct of foreign policy. After last week’s virtual climate conference, political observers can begin to see the Biden doctrine will both clarify and complicate the tasks of U.S. foreign policy.

Simply put, the Biden doctrine holds that geopolitical competition must not be allowed to drive world history. Competition with China is real and must be vigorously pursued, but the essential goal of American foreign policy is to construct a values-based world order that can tackle humanity’s common problems in an organized and even collegial way.

This, Bidenites argue, is hardheaded realism. During the Cold War, self-interest—not starry-eyed idealism—kept American presidents and Soviet leaders from pushing the nuclear button, just as it was self-interest that led both sides to seek to limit their nuclear rivalry through arms control.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

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