(B2) The arrival of Joe Biden in the White House appears to be good news for Europeans, pilloried by four years of President Trump. What will change... and what will not change?
Defending national interests will remain a priority
Relations with the European Union should improve, be more respectful... as under the presidency of Barack Obama, of which Joe Biden was number 2. With him, Europe will no longer be considered a " enemy " the United States. Witness the reading of a few verses by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney - taken from Sophocles' play 'Philoctetes' The Cure at Troy —, during his enthronement by the 'blue' party last August. But beware of hopes! After taking stock of his various speeches during the campaign, it is obvious that the old continent is not at the center of attention in Washington. The words "Europe" or "European Union" are rare. Like his last interview on CBS News in '60 minutes'. Not a word about Europe! The tendency to retreat, to the defense of national interests, is anchored among Americans, and Biden will not go back on it.
Within NATO, unchanged requirements
Within the Alliance, the tone should probably be more cordial. But the requirements will remain. Joe Biden said to himself “ proud of the commitments the Obama-Biden administration negotiated to ensure NATO members increase their defense spending ". Clearly, he will continue to demand that Europeans take their share of the " burden " (read : I don't give a shit about being popular in Europe. Europeans must pay (Trump)). That they increase spending to reach the 2% target, but also that they take charge of their own security. For Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, researcher at the German Marshall Fund, “ there is always this idea that Europe must take more care of the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Russian threat on the eastern flank, so that Washington can concentrate on the great threat of the 21st century, namely China ».
Russia in threat number 1, China in number 2
The Democrat is certainly more critical of Moscow than his Republican alter ego. In a television interview ('60 minutes'), he describes Russia as " the biggest threat to America right now in terms of our security and alliances breaking down ". " We must impose real costs on Russia for its violations of international norms and stand with Russian civil society, which has courageously opposed President Vladimir Putin's kleptocratic authoritarian system time and time again. “he added on Foreign Policy in April. This threat requires us to remain mobilized militarily. " To counter Russian aggression, we must maintain the alliance's military capabilities at a high level while expanding its ability to deal with non-traditional threats, such as armed corruption, disinformation and computer theft. China comes second described as “ the biggest competitor but also potentially as a threat. This will be the way of doing things with Beijing which " will determine if we are competitors or end up being in a more serious competition when it comes to strength “says Joe Biden.
The return to multilateralism
The other big difference with Donald Trump is a return to multilateralism. " Work with allies » was the mantra of his campaign. J. Biden has promised to immediately rejoin the Paris climate accord. Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, he supports a joint global effort and the restoration of the key role of the World Health Organization (WHO).
...and at the disarmament negotiating table
J. Biden promised that diplomacy would again be at the forefront of US efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons rather than unilateral diplomacy and "maximum pressure", pursued by the Trump administration with North Korea and Iran. Returning to the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA) (read: Trump pulls US out of nuclear deal with Iran, reinstates extraterritorial sanctions), for the " strengthen and expand it, while more effectively repelling Iran's other destabilizing activities is moreover an idea for a campaign... provided that " Tehran resumes compliance with the agreement ". As for North Korea, Joe Biden wants to play the joint action card " with our allies and other countries, including China, to advance our common goal of a nuclear-free North Korea. “He will also continue efforts to conclude arms control agreements with the New START treaty — a bilateral treaty with Russia — which expires next February,” an anchor of strategic stability between the United States and Russia “, he said in the campaign.
A military power... which will choose its battles better
The national interest always takes precedence with regard to military engagement. The watchword: less dispersion. " The United States has the most powerful military in the world, and as president I will ensure that it remains so, by making the necessary investments to equip our troops for the challenges of this century, not the last. »
Middle East: the return of American troops maintained
End " to eternal wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, which have cost us untold blood and treasure ". This is Joe Biden's pledge. Like Donald Trump (read: Stupor among Europeans after Donald Trump's announcement of American withdrawal from North Syria in favor of the Turks), he undertakes to bring home a large majority of the American troops present in Afghanistan. He also announces that he wants to end support for the war waged by the Saudis in Yemen.
A more selective approach and a priority: terrorism
« The use of force must be the last resort, not the first. It should only be used to further vital United States interests, when the objective is clear and achievable, and with the informed consent of the American people. The priority is clear: “ narrowly define our mission as defeating Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State ". And stop sending troops unnecessarily: To remain entrenched in unwinnable conflicts exhausts our ability to direct other issues that require our attention, and prevents us from rebuilding the other instruments of American power. »
More 'small' missions
The candidate bets on smaller missions that “ are militarily, economically and politically sustainable”, and "serve the national interest" ". It marks the difference between the large-scale, open-ended deployments of tens of thousands of US combat troops, which must come to an end, and the use of a few hundred Special Forces soldiers and intelligence assets to support local partners against an enemy commmon ».
(Leonor Hubaut and Hannah Guérin st.)