On Saturday afternoon, each of the major news organizations made a call that reverberated around the globe: Donald Trump had been defeated and Joe Biden had won the 2020 presidential election. The Republican White House and many of its allies rejected this and insisted the election was "far from over," the results notwithstanding.
And yet, as NBC News reported, many international leaders wasted no time at all in congratulating the president-elect.
Sighs of relief rippled through capitals of longtime U.S. allies around the world after Joe Biden became president-elect on Saturday. Many leaders have been battered by four years of the convention-smashing President Donald Trump and see in Biden a counterpart who will try and return America onto a path of multilateralism and international cooperation.
With striking speed and efficiency, each of the leaders from G-7 nations ignored Trump's rhetoric and congratulated his Democratic successor. Many others, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, soon followed. There were some exceptions -- Russia's Vladimir Putin, for example, has had little to say about the defeat of his close Republican ally -- but not many.
NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel explained on MSNBC:
"As the results came through tonight, I started to watch the reaction coming in around the world, and people were reacting like the United States had overthrown a dictator, that democracy has been saved, that America's reputation had been saved.... [In the wake of Trump's electoral defeat,] the impression of American democracy, through this experience is actually going to be reinforced. I think the impression of the United States as a believer in democracy will be stronger coming, well, starting right now."
In recent years, Donald Trump has repeated few lies as frequently as his insistence that he'd improved the United States' international standing. Reality left no doubt that the Republican had done the opposite, with much of the world pitying the citizens of Trump's America.
And in the wake of his defeat, we have a new opportunity to regain some of the respect we shed after Election Day 2016.
The New York Times today highlighted Joe Biden's eagerness to "bury 'America First' as a guiding principle of the nation's foreign policy."
He says he will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, assuming the Iranians are willing to reverse course and observe its limits. He would sign up for another five years of the only surviving nuclear arms treaty with Russia and double down on American commitments to NATO after four years of threats from President Trump to withdraw from the alliance that guided the West through the Cold War. At the same time, Mr. Biden says he will make Russia "pay a price" for what he says have been disruptions and attempts to influence elections — including his own.
Inauguration Day is 72 days away.