Can Biden’s ethos of empathy point the way to a new U.S. foreign policy?

By Perry Cammack, Peacebuilding program director

The just-concluded U.S. presidential campaign boiled down to a character referendum on the first reality TV presidency. There was little substantive debate about how to address the coronavirus pandemic, how to heal the country’s grievous racial wounds, or how to fix its debased political culture.

Foreign policy is rarely prominent in American elections. This time around, it was ignored altogether. An exhausted and divided public chose empathy over anger, but voters can be forgiven for not yet having a clear sense of what Joe Biden’s election means for the United States’ role in the world.

Early indications are that the Biden administration will bring back professionalism and competence to international relations. After the concerted assault of the past four years against U.S. government institutions, the next secretary of state faces a particularly daunting task to rebuild American diplomacy...

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