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Major Countries Propose Priorities for Biden Administration, World Leaders: Leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States Shape a New Era of Cooperation

A PDF of the Report can be found here.

BOSTON, January 7, 2021: Leaders from Australia, India, Japan, and the United States have proposed a blueprint for tackling the major challenges confronting the incoming Biden administration and other world leaders in a post-Trump era. The proposals were developed by the Quadrilateral Initiative, which was started by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to review and address global issue.

The four countries, known informally as the Quad, address shared goals within a framework of cooperation, diplomacy, and democratic values. Senior officials from the countries met in mid-November on the sidelines of the Riga Conference 2020, which drew the president and vice president of the European Commission, the secretary general of NATO, the presidents of the Baltic countries and defense ministers from the Canada, France, Japan and the United Kingdom as well as the Baltic nations.

The Quad session was organized by the Latvian Transatlantic Organization and the Boston Global Forum. Speakers included former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, chairman of the Boston Global Forum; Defense State Minister Yasuhide Nakayama of Japan; Senator Kimberly Kitching, chair of the Australian Senate Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade References Committee; and Ambassador P.S. Raghavan, chairman of India’s National Security Advisory Board.

The special report prepared by the Quad identified five challenges confronting the global community as a new administration takes over in Washington and global leaders work to mend differences among Western allies and shape the new arena for competition and cooperation in fields like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The main challenges in the report are:

  1. The interests of the United States should be realigned with its Western allies to open the door for peace, stability, and long-term prosperity. Cooperation should be renewed on global issues like climate change and humanitarian assistance.
  2. The objective of the Quad is to promote openness, transparency, and inclusion across the Indo-Pacific region. The foundation for this objective rests on broadening cooperation and improving adherence to the rule of law among the many nations of the region.
  3. The enormous potential of artificial intelligence should be harnessed for the benefit of every nation and every person, rather than restricted to a handful of countries and tech titans. The promotion of inclusion and democracy through AI should be encouraged and attempts to use AI to support authoritarian regimes should be blocked. The Quad concluded that supporting standards and democratic values reflected in the Social Contract for the AI Age is essential to countering threats from AI and enhancing its common good.
  4. The Quad and its allies should enable China to recognize the global responsibilities that accompany its position as an AI and economic powerhouse. Rather than confronting China, the Western alliance should exercise its responsibility to ensure that China respects its neighbors and the democratic imperative for Hong Kong.
  5. The surge of 5G technologies will expand the impact of artificial intelligence in ways that could either improve global cooperation or devolve into unhealthy competition. Democratic values should guide the use of AI and big data for the common good rather than the good of the few.

Along with its work in the Indo-Pacific region, the Quad proposes creating an agreement like the Helsinki Accord to meet the challenges and capture the full benefits of artificial intelligence. The new accord could be drafted in Riga and take advantage of cyber and communications expertise of the Baltic countries.