(The speaker is professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University)
A lot of American mentality of Democrats and Republicans is that the United States is only safe when the United States is fully dominant in the world and that any large country or region that challenges American primacy or American dominance is therefore a threat to national security.
It is a very dangerous idea to think that the only way the world is safe is if you are running the world. But that is, unfortunately, a fairly deeply set part of American psychology in foreign policy over a long period of time. We see it again in the recent interim national security, strategic guidance that the Biden Administration put out in the early days, because the guidance is very clear that America, not china, must set the international agenda. This is a strange idea because it excludes the idea that America and china and other regions cooperatively could set the international agenda, but that's the only way we can really have peace.
Not when one block of countries is setting the international agenda. That's a guaranteed direction to conflict. We need a global cooperation and the idea still remains, I think, not only as a political tactic, but as a real belief that America must set the international agenda.