Can Asia help Biden?

A strong, self-confident America is needed to resume its leadership role. Asia has a role to play - if the US is prepared to listen.

United States President Joe Biden and his wife Jill walking down Pennsylvania Avenue after his inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on Wednesday. The big question that the rest of the world, including Asia, faces with Mr Biden's inauguration, is whet
United States President Joe Biden and his wife Jill walking down Pennsylvania Avenue after his inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on Wednesday. The big question that the rest of the world, including Asia, faces with Mr Biden's inauguration, is whether it is in the world's (or Asia's) interest to see America continue to decline and weaken, or if they should instead help America to recover, says the writer.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

"Ask not what America can do for you! Ask rather what you can do for America."

If US President Joe Biden were in a position to send a sincere and honest message to the rest of the world in his recent inaugural address, these are the words he should have used - echoing the famous words of John F. Kennedy, exactly 60 years ago, when he said: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2021, with the headline 'Can Asia help Biden?'. Subscribe