(Washington) If former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidential election in November, there would likely be an about-face in current US foreign policy.
Matthew Lee and Will Weissert
If Mr. Biden occupies the White House, observers expect him to overturn or dismantle many of President Donald Trump’s most important and reckless measures.
The Democratic candidate and his team have already pledged to unleash a tsunami of change on subjects as diverse as terrorism, arms control, immigration, the Middle East or even Europe.
With a few exceptions, Biden will undoubtedly reconcile the country with its traditional allies. Where Donald Trump wielded threats and insults to advance his causes, his opponent will be more inclined to seek common ground.
Historically, American foreign policy has not undergone profound transformations, even when Democrats and Republicans succeeded each other in the White House. The bad guys were the same, the friends were the same. The non-partisan diplomatic corps defended the interests of the country.
And then came Donald Trump.
The current president has always viewed traditional allies and the Secretary of State with suspicion. He spoke warmly of adversaries of the United States, such as North Korean Kim Jong-un or Russian Vladimir Putin.
However, Mr. Trump has struggled to force rapid changes. According to specialists, American foreign policy is like an aircraft carrier. While it is easy to command a change of course, it is very difficult and very long to do so.
The president saw this when he was unable to get the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal for over a year. Even his high-profile withdrawals from the Paris Agreement on climate change or the World Health Organization will not take effect until after November 3. The current redeployment of troops in Germany could last for years.
The initial problems of Donald Trump and his team reflected their lack of experience. Learning, already difficult in itself, has been complicated because of their intense distrust of national security institutions.
Mr. Biden, with his experience in the Senate and the White House, may be better suited to make rapid change.
He told reporters on Tuesday that he knew “how to get things done internationally”.
“I understand the national security and intelligence issues,” he said. This is what I have been doing all my life. Trump has no idea. Any. “
Joe Biden’s organization has also assembled an experienced team for the foreign policy adviser. Jake Sullivan was an assistant to President Barack Obama and director of political planning in the State Department. Nicholas Burns held senior positions in foreign policy under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Tony Blinken was Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor to Mr. Obama.
Susan Rice, who served as UN ambassador during Barack Obama’s presidency, is one of the favorites for the vice president. She could become a well-listened adviser in the event of a Democratic victory.
For Donald Trump’s team, Joe Biden’s foreign policy experience is actually a weakness.
“Joe Biden’s appeasement record and support for globalization would be detrimental to US foreign policy and national security. After decades of the status quo, President Trump has made it clear that the United States will no longer be exploited by the rest of the world, ”Assistant Press Secretary Ken Farnaso said in a statement.
Joe Biden vowed to cancel other Trumpian policies in the early days of his term. Among them: the ban on immigration to the United States for citizens of certain Muslim countries, withdrawal from the World Health Organization, opposition to the Paris Agreement. He also pledged to call on top NATO leaders to let them know that the United States “will be back. “
Relations with China will require more nuance. Mr. Trump, who has placed China at the top of the list of opponents of the United States after praising his counterpart Xi Jinping, accuses the Democrat of showing weakness in this regard.
Joe Biden has been slower to directly criticize the president’s recent measures against China. His team asks if Mr. Trump will end up undermining his government’s own positions by adopting a softer personal tone towards Beijing.
“The government is used to speaking very loudly, but without producing results,” criticized Jeff Prescott, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Biden.