I believe that in terms of economic might and military strength the US will continue to be dominated. Where it will be weakest is in its domestic turmoil, of which Trump was a symptom. So, its moral strength will be a bit weaker. The danger is that nations with historical identities may overestimate their strength and underestimate that of the US. Simply put, if the vital interests of the US are threatened, it wil be able to bring devastating military force against an enemy.
The US during last year has been experiencing various social developments. It is argued that these challenges occurred, as there have been serious social gaps in American society for a long time. The US society has had inequities for a long period. It is important to understand, however, that a degree of social turmoil is part and parcel of American identity. There is always a movement to improve something or to address some unfairness.
It is a time-honored technique of governing that stigmatizing and targeting an enemy, that is starting a war, can quell domestic dissent and unify an otherwise divided people. President Biden is not a warmonger. Far from it, but circumstances can sometimes drive policies beyond the inclinations of the ruler. I would be much more worried about the potential actions of the US now, with its internal troubles, than I would have been 25 years ago when it had a more unified era.
Biden has selected a team that enjoys a high degree of regard among peers in the Washington community; Blinken, Sullivan, and Garland are outstanding picks. I think Biden will not push the U.S. towards a softer foreign policy. In fact, I expect that he will be forced to pursue a hard policy on a number of fronts because the Trump administration was a farce that exacerbated major problems that the Obama administration, with its “leading from behind ethic,” created. Surely the US will face more opposition from other nations, ones, like Iran, that have histories of being regional powers.
There are two major trends in Eurasia: growing authoritarianism (Russia, China, and Iran) and growing popular opposition (Belarus, Russia, Myanmar). These trends will call for mixed diplomacy, especially one that promotes human rights, but also one that will drive the need to form new alliances, military and economic, such as the Quad (India, Japan, Australia, and the US).
I think China is over-extending itself and is facing a potential backlash because of cultural factors that conflict with values inherent in those other nations which it hopes to dominate or enlist in a sphere of influence. Russia too is overextended and Putin’s position is no longer as secure as it was just a year ago. Iran is stuck in an unchanging stand-off with the US.
I see three basic mistakes. First, China has assumed that money will buy it the allegiance of others. Second, Russia assumes that historical links and military adventures in them (Ukraine, Crimea) and elsewhere (Syria) will enhance the security of the regime and the nation as a whole. Third, Iran assumes that by persistent low-level hostility toward the US that it can gain regional dominance and thwart the US. All three of these assumptions are unlikely to yield the outcomes these powers seek.