'Last chance saloon' for US: Rudd warns of international anarchy

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

The United States has been damaged both economically and reputationally by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is "crucial" for Democratic nominee Joe Biden to win the November election, according to former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

"America emerges from the COVID-19 crisis deeply damaged," Mr Rudd said, pointing to the behaviour of US President Donald Trump.

"It's kind of crucial [Joe] Biden wins," Mr Rudd said as part of the ANU Crawford School's Leadership Forum series.

"The next four years will be the 'last chance saloon' for American global leadership. Either America gets its ... together in the next four years, or they don't and we continue the drift towards anarchy," he said.

"Biden is likely to have a first-class team around him, but if he loses then all bets are off as to what happens with the international order."

The former prime minister warned about the possibility of "international anarchy" after the COVID-19 pandemic, as power shifts between major powers and away from international organisations.

Also on the panel discussing global institutions was Samantha Power, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, who said criticisms made of organisations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organisation couldn't be divorced from the context where the Trump administration had been withdrawing from and paying less attention to such organisations.

"If we think about what strengthening international organisations is going to look like, there's no 'door two' that doesn't pass through major capitals," she said.

Asked about the future of China on the world stage, Mr Rudd said Australians needed to look not at China's international motivations, but domestic ones.

"China's communist regime has taken a huge hit in terms of domestic legitimacy as a consequence of the events of January and February this year," he said.

"It's important for us not to assume China is motivated by international factors when it engages in various forms of international behaviour, it's driven by a deliberate, shall we say, exercise in domestic nationalism by the Chinese system on order to validate the legitimacy of the system."

This story 'Last chance saloon' for US: Rudd warns of international anarchy first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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