WASHINGTON – If former Vice President Joe Biden wins the White House in November, the United States is likely to be prone to a foreign policy about-face as Biden overturns, dismantles or severely restricts many of the most important actions and most daring of President Donald Trump.
From the Middle East to Asia, from Latin America to Africa and, in particular, to Europe, and on issues such as trade, terrorism, arms control and immigration, the alleged Democratic candidate and his advisers are committed to triggering a tsunami of change in the way the United States operates. itself on the international stage.
With a few exceptions, the Americans could expect Biden to re-engage with traditional allies. Where the iconoclast Trump has used brutal threats and slurs to advance his case, Biden, a former senator, would be more inclined to seek common ground.
Historically, US foreign policy has not changed dramatically as the presidency passed between the Democratic and Republican administrations. Allies and adversaries remained the same, and a non-partisan diplomatic corps pursued US interests.
That changed with Trump. As part of his “America First” policy, he viewed the allies and the foreign policy establishment with suspicion, while speaking warmly of adversaries like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin of North Korea. Russia.
But Trump was struggling to make quick changes. Academics often say that American foreign policy is like an aircraft carrier: it is easy to order a global change of direction from the bridge, but it is much more difficult and time consuming to change course.
Trump saw this when he couldn’t get the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal for over a year. His high-profile withdrawals from the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization will not become final until after the November 3 election, if ever. Its decision to redeploy thousands of German troops could take years.
Trump’s initial problems may have reflected a lack of government experience on the part of him and his top advisers. This created a steep learning curve complicated by their intense distrust of national security institutions.
Biden, with his experience in the Senate and the White House, may be better suited to make changes quickly.
Biden told reporters in Delaware on Tuesday that he knew “how to get things done internationally.”
“I understand the national security and intelligence issues,” he said. “It’s what I’ve been doing all my life. Trump has no idea. No. “
Biden’s campaign also assembled an experienced team of foreign policy advisers: Jake Sullivan served as Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama and director of political planning at the State Department. Nicholas Burns held senior positions in foreign policy under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Tony Blinken was Obama’s assistant secretary of state and deputy national security adviser.
Susan Rice, National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the UN under Obama, is a runner-up for vice-presidency. If not selected, she could become a key adviser if Biden wins.
The Trump campaign makes Biden’s foreign policy experience a weakness.
Joe Biden’s appeasement and globalization record would be detrimental to US foreign policy and national security, and 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. Deputy Press Secretary Ken Farnaso said in a statement.
For decades, the first and often the only foreign policy change that the new presidents of both parties led in their first day in office, and Trump was no exception, was related to abortion.
Like clockwork, Republicans enacted the so-called “Mexico City” language – known to opponents as the “global gag rule” – to ban the use of US foreign aid for US-related services. abortion. The Democrats canceled it and if Biden wins, he has promised to do the same.
But he also vowed to demolish other Trump policies on day one. They include rescinding Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, restoring US funding and membership in the WHO, and stopping efforts to oppose the Accord. of Paris on the climate. He pledged to call on top NATO leaders and declare US foreign policy: “We’re back” while calling a summit of top heads of state in its first year.
One area that will require more nuance is China, which Trump has placed at the top of his foreign policy agenda and on which he called Biden weak.
After previously boasting of warm ties to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Trump has relentlessly attacked China, blaming it for the coronavirus outbreak that threatens its re-election prospects.
Biden has been slower to directly criticize Trump’s recent actions against China, but his campaign questions whether the president will end up undermining his administration’s tough actions of late by personally striking softer tones towards Beijing.
“The administration has a habit of speaking very loudly but without producing results,” said Jeff Prescott, campaign foreign policy adviser,
Biden also said he would immediately reinstate daily White House, State Department and Pentagon press briefings, events once deemed essential to communicate the US policy that the Trump administration has all but abandoned.
Biden and his surrogates say they intend to act quickly on the following:
- Middle East: Restoring assistance to the Palestinian Authority that the Trump administration has eliminated, as well as to agencies that support Palestinian refugees. Biden did not say he would cancel Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or return the embassy to Tel Aviv.
- United Nations: Restore United States membership in United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and possibly the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- Europe: tone down the rhetoric Trump used to chide and insult European allies. Biden can be expected to try to warm up relations between NATO partners.
- Africa: Try to raise America’s profile on the continent, which has become a new battleground for competition with China.
- Asia: Return to a traditional American position in favor of the presence of American troops in Japan and South Korea. Biden also criticized Trump’s personal relationship with Kim.
- Latin America: Cancel Trump administration deals that sent asylum-seeking immigrants to Mexico and other countries pending court dates and halt any new construction of the southern border wall. Biden also wants to revive the Obama-era engagement with Cuba.
Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.