It’s day one of Joe Biden’s administration and, now that the confetti has settled, it’s time for his team to get on with governing. The 78-year-old Democrat’s signature mix of decency and dodder belie a shrewd political operator who is keenly aware that his success as president could be judged on his first few months in office. Priorities for these symbolic first 100 days include plenty of sense but little in the way of surprise: supplying 100 million coronavirus vaccinations, nudging through a $1.9trn (€1.6trn) stimulus package and rolling back many of his predecessor’s policies by executive order.
Here are a few additional thoughts for the presidential to-do list, all taken from the out-today, hit-play-themed February issue of Monocle.
1. Launch a digital decency manifesto It’s time to talk openly about a better online social contract. The ubiquity of technology and how we use it is seriously affecting our health, wellbeing, stress and more broadly the quality of our conversations. Isn’t it time to unfriend a few technology companies, President Biden? Who elected messrs Zuckerberg and Dorsey to draw the lines on freedom of speech?
2. Follow the leader Our sit-down interview with Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the Maximos Mansion showed how a firm hand on the rudder can steer a listing nation back to calmer waters. If a relatively small nation can create a wave of positivity, persuade talented émigrés to return and be a broker for peace in the region, then the US certainly could too.
3. Plan for the worst The scale and wake of the coronavirus pandemic should illustrate the fact that we need to invest in preparedness. For pangolin-borne respiratory viruses, yes, but also for water shortages, freak weather patterns and food security. We report on Finland’s national defence force, which runs courses for leaders in planning for the best but preparing for the worst.
Biden has now achieved his lifelong ambition of becoming US president. The next 100 days will show the world whether it was worth the wait – see yesterday’s edition of The Globalist for more analysis.
For the full 50 suggestions on how we can all hit play and improve our lives and livelihoods, pick up a copy of Monocle’s out-today February issue or buy a subscription.