Biden’s foreign policy opening
I have released both blogs and news assessing the coming foreign policy of the US under Biden’s presidency. Now that Joe Biden has delivered his first official opening speech on February 5, it is time to wrap up the key features.
Biden framed it as a “reset” after four years of Trump’s America First agenda, pledging to reinvest in alliances and diplomacy and emphasizing democratic values. The speech was designed to restore order and global faith in the US that Biden clearly feels were lost under his predecessor Trump. Biden deliberately chose to reassure the international community that the era of American unpredictability was over. He sought to outline a clear vision of what the US will do next and how he hopes this will improve and stabilize international relations.
“America First” – slogan has turned in “America is back” but the essential content is the same: American leadership in the world and emphasizing of American political project (liberalism, democratic values, free market). But wait a moment, this is just the same the US has been pursuing at least for last 30 years.
He reminded “Russian aggressive actions” and promised more sanctions and other punitive measures, however, nodding to practical cooperation on areas of mutual interests (extending New Start agreement). It became clear that Joe Biden’s foreign policy towards Russia in the next four years will be guided by a very traditional type of anti-Russian stance that has been a part and parcel of US foreign policy for decades. Next day Moscow complained the unconstructive attitude of the US. Sounds familiar?
Biden described China as “our most serious competitor” and vowed to “push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance” but he indicated to Beijing that he was willing to collaborate when it was in “America’s best interests”. At the same time, the US Navy was proceeding “freedom of navigation” operations with several warships both on South China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait. China vowed to be ready to “respond to all threats and provocations at any time” as US warship crosses Taiwan Strait. Still familiar?
As a digression but in this same context: Fox News reported that the head of US Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard is calling on the US military and federal leaders to reimagine methods of deterring aggressive action from rivals such as China and Russia. He wrote in the February issue of Proceedings, the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine, that, “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons.” Chinese Global Times described Washington’s reckless attitude toward nuclear war a threat to world peace.
Back to Biden’s speech. The question of America’s attitude to Iran was noticeable by its absence in the speech, except in reference to Iran’s proxy conflicts with Saudi Arabia. Biden made it clear that the US would end all support and aid for warring parties in Yemen, adding that the new US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, had appointed a special envoy to Yemen tasked with working with the UN and all parties to the conflict to bring hostilities to an end. An interesting extra to MENA complexity.
Another noticeable absence in his speech was silence on Europe, the UK and Brexit. What this means for the future of the “European Special Relationship” is anyone’s guess.
When comparing Biden’s speech with my previous texts, all the key points and political alignments presented in his speech were in line with my previous estimations in blogs and news. I believe that the majority of other political analysts worldwide can share the similar notice regarding their analysis.
So, based on his words in the speech, what is that “new policy” American and European MSM (main stream media) has praised during last days, as well as many politicians. I see “nothing new or essential change” in Biden’s coming foreign policy. Therefore, I dare to state that…
More of the same is the name of the game.