President Joe Biden’s first multilateral meeting was to host the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) in its first meeting of heads of government since it was founded more than a decade ago. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan described the summit of Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. as a “critical part of the architecture of the Indo-Pacific.”
The Quad has been an informal forum, and some observers point out that the members have different agendas and political cultures, but at the moment, they appear united in concern about China’s expansionist foreign policy. And, the Biden administration has clearly made reviving it a top priority.
At the initial session, the members agreed to a vaccine production and distribution strategy in Asia. Will it become a beginning of a coalition capable of addressing a broader agenda of diplomatic, military and economic initiatives? Could climate change, cyber security and military coordination be on a future agenda?
Fortunately for President Biden, the U.S. public has a very favorable view of Quad members with Gallup’s latest poll showing: Japan 84 percent, Australia 88 percent and India 77 percent. Also, in the recent past, China’s favorability in the developed world collapsed and in particular the U.S. (20%, down from 53% in 2018), mostly due to the handling of COVID-19. The administration has public support to get tough on China.