President-elect Joe Biden has signalled that he will move swiftly to restore dignity to the badly sullied image of the United States; respect for the professionals of America’s diplomatic, intelligence and military services; and a more predictable, nuanced and sympathetic approach to foreign relations. That message of a restoration of norms is likely to resonate in many capitals around the world, as it did with an electorate that gave Mr. Biden a decisive victory over Donald Trump. There is much that Mr. Biden can do in his first 100 days. He has already vowed to promptly re-join the Paris accord on climate change and to make climate action central to his administration. He has declared his intention to restore the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization, signalling that the United States will join forces with the rest of the world to halt the rampage of the coronavirus. Mr. Biden is also expected to organise a summit of democracies, and to recommit the United States to exposing human rights abuses wherever they arise, whether in China, Russia, Saudi Arab or Turkey. At the same time, he will seek ways to revive the nuclear deal with Iran, and agree with Russia to extend the New START treaty on limiting strategic nuclear arms. These are all welcome signs of America’s imminent return to a role in the world that better reflects historical values. Mr. Biden may tone down the trade war with China, but contentious differences on issues such as 5G networks or China’s claims in the South China Sea will remain at the fore. Whatever hold President Vladimir Putin may have had on Mr. Trump almost never translated into a lifting of sanctions, and Democrats are not likely to seek a reset with Russia. Mr. Trump’s bromance with Kim Jong-un did little to change the U.S. stance on North Korea. Mr. Trump’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was decidedly one-sided, yet there had been no movement toward a two-state settlement in the years before Mr. Trump became president, and there is little indication that any such movement is imminent no matter who’s in the White House — or where the U.S. Embassy is. Biden has signalled that he intends to lead America back into the international arena, and whatever their qualms or doubts, America’s friends and allies should not wait to join forces in tackling the business of the day — a global pandemic and the future of the planet, to name just two items on the agenda Mr. Biden is likely to continue Mr. Trump’s attempts to withdraw from foreign wars and be reluctant to enter new conflicts, though with more nuance and more concern for allies. While Mr. Biden will definitely not emulate Mr. Trump’s zero-sum approach to trade, with tariffs slapped on friend and foe alike, free trade is not something Democratic voters are always keen on. While most NATO allies and members of the European Union will celebrate the exit of Mr. Trump, the United States is likely to continue insisting that NATO allies start paying a fair share for the common defense. The Europeans, for their part, have recognized that the United States is no longer the undisputed boss of the free world. China is considerably more assertive, and countering Beijing’s aggressions while recognizing its legitimate demands and seeking its help in containing North Korea or reducing carbon emissions will require creative new approaches. So will dealing with a right-wing president in Brazil or a tenacious dictator in Venezuela, or negotiating further nuclear arms reductions with Russia while maintaining sanctions, or trying to placate Israel and several Gulf Arab states while reviving a deal with their archenemy Iran. Simply abandoning Mr. Trump’s approach is immeasurably important for America and the world. The strength of the United States has always derived as much from the soft power of its democracy, freedoms and values as from its battleships and drones. That strength is multiplied by America’s alliances among democracies in the East and West. For Pakistan, the key issue is what changes Biden’s presidency would bring for the country and the region and whether Biden would stick to Trump’s Afghan peace efforts. The new Secretary of State and the National Security Adviser have hinted at a review of the deal with the Taliban but clarified that the Biden administration too would want to ensure a safe exit of US troops from Afghanistan. The fear is that if the US withdraws from Afghanistan without a long-term political deal through the intra-Afghan dialogue, a civil war is inevitable. That is why it is crucial to find out if Biden would link troops’ withdrawal with the final peace accord between the Afghan Taliban and the government. One thing is certain — Pakistan would remain a major player in any Afghan deal. Pakistan an ‘essential partner’ for any solution to the Afghan war. But Pakistan wants the US to see its importance beyond Afghanistan and security prism. Pakistan had a lot more to offer than Afghanistan to the US. In this context the sense within the policymakers here is that Pakistan must strive to revive the institutional mechanism with the new US administration. On the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) front, Pakistan is unlikely to get relief in the form of getting off the grey list. While Pakistan has made good progress on many points related to money laundering, terror financing, and holding militant accountable, this is unlikely to become a decisive factor when it comes to Pakistan’s fate at the forum. Washington’s broader interests in Asia, including relationships with India and China, will determine its policy at the forum. Pakistan can also expect to have more functioning, coordinated, and enhanced cooperation on military training programs under Biden. Before Trump, Pakistan and the US had high-level strategic dialogue as part of the Kerry-Lugar Bill that sought to triple non-military aid to Pakistan in hopes that the country would indiscriminately go after militant groups. In return the then Obama administration was willing to expand cooperation with Pakistan beyond Afghanistan and security matters. In short, the world is not what it was in 2016, nor can it go back to the status quo ante. It is a restive world, requiring constant adaptation and engagement from its most powerful democracy. But the importance of vision, expertise, honesty and simple decency in the management of world affairs cannot be overstated. President-elect Biden has signalled that he intends to lead America back into the international arena, and whatever their qualms or doubts, America’s friends and allies should not wait to join forces in tackling the business of the day — a global pandemic and the future of the planet, to name just two items on the agenda. There had been a visible change in Washington’s tone towards Pakistan as the country helped the US advance peace efforts in Afghanistan. The downside of this arrangement, however, was that there was no institutional framework between both countries for high-level engagements. But one thing is clear: that Biden, a foreign policy veteran, knows Pakistan and the region well — something that can work both to our advantage and disadvantage. The writer is an economist, anchor, analyst and the President of All Pakistan Private Schools Federation.