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Op-ed: Biden says America is back at the table. Is it?

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At the U.N. General Assembly this week, President Joe Biden told the world again that America is back at the table. He championed global cooperation as the only way to address today’s global challenges, making clear that it not only benefits the international community but is essential for American interests and national security too. It was a direct repudiation of the nationalist “America First” approach taken by then-President Donald Trump at the same assembly four years ago.

This speech six months ago would have been a comfort to friends and allies, jarred by the uncooperative Trump years. But in the wake of several nationalist moves and unforced errors on the world stage, Biden’s words rang hollow to many. If Biden doesn’t start living up to his promise of positive, multilateral engagement and diplomacy, America will pay the price.

The administration’s actions haven’t looked cooperative. Biden’s message about the urgent need to vaccinate the world is unconvincing in the face of continued vaccine nationalism at home. While the administration hoards booster shots for every American, less than 4% of the population in Africa has received the first two doses.

The United States has barred travelers from most of the world for 18 months, even as other countries have welcomed Americans. Many of these countries are managing the pandemic better than we are. These rigid restrictions not only harmed business but kept families........

© Chicago Tribune

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