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The new US foreign policy, according to Joe Biden

(B2) The arrival of Joe Biden at 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?

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris during his first speech as 'president-elect' in Delaware (credit: Franceinfo stream – selection B2)

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 as a “ enemy " the United States. This is demonstrated by reading a few verses by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney — taken from Sophocles' play 'Philoctetes'  The Cure at Troy —, during his induction by the 'blue' party last August. But be careful with your hopes! After taking stock of his various speeches during the campaign, it is obvious that the old continent is not 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 withdraw, to defend national interests, is anchored among Americans, and Biden will not go back on it.

Within NATO, unchanged requirements

Within the Alliance, the tone should undoubtedly 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)). Let them increase spending to reach the 2% target, but also take responsibility for their own security. For Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, researcher at the German Marshall Fund, “ there is always this idea that Europe must pay more attention to 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 breaking down our security and alliances ". " 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 confront non-traditional threats, such as armed corruption, disinformation, and cyber 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 promised to immediately rejoin the Paris climate agreement. 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

Biden vowed that diplomacy would once again be at the forefront of U.S. 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. Return to the Iran nuclear deal (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 also a campaign idea… provided that “ Tehran returns to respecting 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 shared 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

National interest always takes precedence when it comes to military engagement. The watchword: less dispersion. “ The United States has the most powerful military in the world, and as president, I will ensure it remains that way, making the investments necessary 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 commitment. Like Donald Trump (read: Stupor among Europeans after Donald Trump's announcement of American withdrawal from North Syria in favor of the Turks), he is committed to bringing home a large majority of American troops present in Afghanistan. He also announces that he wants to end support for the war led 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 advance the vital interests of the United States, 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: “ Staying entrenched in unwinnable conflicts depletes 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, indefinite deployments of tens of thousands of U.S. combat troops, which must end, and the use of a few hundred Special Forces troops and intelligence assets to support local partners against an enemy common ».

(Leonor Hubaut and Hannah Guérin st.)

Download the Programs of the Democratic Party and theopinion by Joe Biden in Foreign Policy (April 2020)

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One thought on “The new US foreign policy, according to Joe Biden"

  • I am not very optimistic about a change in NATO vis-à-vis Turkey. A return from Ankara is to be feared towards Mostar and Tirana.
    This may explain the return of part of our forces from Mali!

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