Joe Biden's clear attempt to get the band back together is well under way.
The United States President is enlisting traditional allies to try and contain rivals it views as problematic competitors.
Under the Trump Administration, US allies were frequently sprayed with (un)friendly fire. Biden is essentially going back to the future - trying to stamp some method and order on US foreign policy again after Donald Trump's chaos. This includes co-ordination with old alliance partners to apply collective pressure.
The US, Canada, European Union, and Britain jointly issued targeted sanctions against Chinese officials to protest against the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
New Zealand and Australia chimed in with a joint statement of concern, but no sanctions.
"We share these countries' deep concerns, which are held across the Australian and New Zealand communities," Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her Australian counterpart Marise Payne said. "We underscore the importance of transparency and accountability, and reiterate our call on China to grant meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for United Nations experts, and other independent observers."
China launched retaliatory sanctions against the EU. It got some backing of its own from Russia. But China should take note of how Uighur rights have become a cause in the West. It is a weeping sore in relations.
The EU and US also tossed sanctions at officials in Myanmar accused of involvement in the country's deadly crackdown. The junta has since released dozens of detained protesters.
America's new officials have held talks with South Korea and Japan. The US attended the 'Quad' summit with India, Japan and Australia.
The pandemic highlighted the usually taken-for-granted need for basic planning, structure, transparency and competence in government. Domestically, Biden has put that approach to good use with his vaccine rollout and relief bill. The Administration and congressional Democrats have a largely co-ordinated legislative plan. Symbolic gestures and words of empathy are back.
Before I took office, I set a big goal of 100 million shots in my first 100 days.— President Biden (@POTUS) March 25, 2021
We hit the goal on day 58.
Now, I’m setting a new one: 200 million shots in my first 100 days.
Let’s do this.
But there are potential downsides with being systematic, predictable, rational and saying the expected things. They include policy inertia, over-cautiousness, and tokenism.
Will sanctions actually have much practical impact? Was Biden's failure to directly censure Saudi Arabia's crown prince a telling sign of a mostly risk-averse foreign approach? What new ideas are there to make progress with North Korea and Iran?
Team Biden has dropped some surprises into the mix.
There was an undiplomatic verbal brawl for the cameras at the Administration's first high-level meeting with Chinese officials. The President called Russian leader Vladimir Putin a "killer". Biden downplayed North Korea's missile tests as "business as usual" rather than dance to the drama with Kim Jong Un as Trump did. Pyongyang has responded with more tests.
Biden's blunt manner of speaking and the sense that he's trying to get a lot done in a short time cuts through, and allows Secretary of State Antony Blinken the space to be John Kerry 2.0.
Great trip to Brussels. As strategic competitors continue to challenge us, @NATO binds North America and Europe in the collective defense of our people and our values. I was glad to reaffirm U.S. support for the Alliance. pic.twitter.com/8cowWTIKlm— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 25, 2021
Biden knows the US has to get its own house in order to project credibility abroad. His Covid-19 recovery package and infrastructure legislation are two major pillars of that effort. Yesterday he linked his domestic and foreign agendas by saying that increasing investment in US science and research would help counter China's rise.
The past year presented a picture of the US in seemingly irreversible decline - a society and political system looking broken and weak. Vaccinating at a rate of 2.5 million people a day is something of a shot in the arm for American self-belief.
Under its new leadership, the US has resembled a grizzled boxer getting back in the international ring to prove that the shuffle, dodge, and heavy right still work.
There has been a lot of inevitable posturing with China, Russia and Iran. Any aggressive, competitive rival would try to test the new troops. China understands the power of economic ties to make other countries more dependent on it.
America's return to relying on alliances means individual countries gain safety in numbers. Britain, Canada and Australia were picked off last year in individual squabbles with China. There's now a diplomatic shield wall that also carries more weight.
It also signals unmistakable widespread disapproval on particular issues. And it says "you'll have to deal with all of us to make progress".
That could be potentially problematic if the US-China rivalry escalates across the Asia region. Rival powers need to understand each other but still be prepared to co-operate on areas of common interest.