Co-Chair Statement on the June 2021 Meeting of Commissioners
On June 17, the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security convened its members and expert advisors to weigh a commission white paper that both provides an update on the global pandemic and details several concrete recommendations to strengthen U.S. international leadership. Today, we are pleased to publish the white paper entitled “Time to Escalate U.S. Leadership on Covid-19 and Beyond.” It captures the majority consensus of the commissioners’ sentiments, integrating the commission’s extensive work over the past six months. In the coming days, the paper will be disseminated widely, including to Congress and within the administration. We do hope you are able to read the paper in its entirety, and we welcome your feedback.
How has the world changed?
Since early this year, a far more dangerous and uncertain phase of the pandemic has arrived that fundamentally changes the calculations of the United States and others. Variants and the egregious vaccine gap dominate the world’s attention.
At home, we have benefited enormously from the acceleration of the national vaccination campaign. That pivot towards greater control and confidence enables more U.S. international engagement. But domestic progress has slowed and remains fragile. In the meantime, the domestic and international agendas are fusing, requiring an intensified focus on what is happening both at home and abroad.
It is encouraging that the U.S. government has taken several important recent steps to demonstrate leadership in addressing the global pandemic crisis. Nonetheless, the U.S. lacks both a clear and authoritative leadership structure and a strategy to guide international action. These need to be urgent priorities.
Across the world, high-level diplomacy, largely paralyzed in 2020, is resuming, though haltingly. A strong, concerted push by the United States, led by President Biden, is the single most important element that can drive global progress forward.
Below is a summary of the commission’s recommendations to Congress and the administration.
Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer, Merck
Former U.S. Congresswoman (R-IN-5)
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