As I have traveled the world over the past three years since Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America, I have stared into the disbelieving and disillusioned faces of countless colleagues, close friends, and new business acquaintances as our global leadership crumbled.
After immigrating to the United States from Germany in 1991 and becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in July of 2002, this is the exact opposite experience from the respect, even reverence, for American presidents to which I was accustomed. Much of the world has admired the United States, just as I did as a teenager growing up in Berlin. Whether it’s Rock and Roll music, Hollywood movies, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, or Coca-Cola, America’s so-called “soft power,” our country’s cultural influence over the rest of the world has been immense and pervasive for a very long time. Our democratic (with a small “d”) ideals and practices, including our nearly 231-year-old constitution have been studied, admired and even copied the world over. Our stock markets have been shining examples of the power of capitalism, human ingenuity, and economic progress.
For the past three years, President Trump has diminished our respectability and our influence on the world stage by abdicating the United States’ global leadership role in immeasurable ways. Many of his foreign policy decisions seem to have been made at a “gut level,” without any respect for – or even knowledge of – the historical circumstances. Most certainly, a great many of President Trump’s foreign policy decisions have been made without any consultation of our country’s closest allies.
On the environmental and medical fronts, the country that led the world by introducing lead-free gasoline in the 1970s and taking significant steps to educate the world on the dangers of smoking, is now taking steps in the opposite direction under President Trump.
That’s why so much of the rest of the world is in disbelief.
Over the past few months, as Vice President Joe Biden’s strong standing in the presidential primary polls has continued to solidify, with voters saying he is best positioned to beat Donald Trump in November, more and more people in Europe and Asia have started to ask me how President Biden would lead on the world stage. Just this past weekend I was invited to represent the Biden campaign at a forum in Munich organized for “Democrats Abroad” at their annual convention. There are more than 100,000 Americans living in Germany, and I received a lot of well-informed questions about the presidential race in the United States.
What would be different with Joe Biden in the White House as the 46th president of the United States?
Joe Biden is a student of history. He has been respected on the world stage since the early 1970s and personally knows – and is highly regarded by – dozens of world leaders. Joe Biden has empathy for others and is a careful listener with sound judgment. He surrounds himself with world-class professionals and listens to their advice and counsel. Joe Biden has an unshakeable moral compass. Most of all, Joe Biden loves his country and reveres our democratic traditions.
If Donald Trump’s attitude is “my way or the highway,” Joe Biden’s is “let’s work together.”
The next president of the United States will face the tall task of reasserting global leadership in a disillusioned world. Other countries, some with nefarious motives, have filled the vacuum that President Trump has left in his wake. On day one in the White House, President Biden will take immediate steps to re-strengthen our global alliances. He is equipped to do so like no other person in history with his 48 years as a respected leader and statesman.
As Vice President Biden often says, the United States has always been served best when it has led by the power of its example and not by the example of its power. He knows the United States of America stands for liberty and democracy, and as president, Joe Biden will ensure that is how we act.
And I look forward to seeing hope and respect in the eyes of my family, friends and business partners around the world once again.
Michael Marquardt is a tech-savvy global business advisor and board member who has served as CEO of four companies over the past 25 years. He has lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the United States and is fluent in his native German. For the past ten years Michael has provided strategic guidance and advice to corporate and government clients, while serving on boards of directors in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Michael has served on the Biden for President national finance committee since Vice President Joe Biden announced his presidential campaign on April 25, 2019.