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Home / World / Biden faces a long list of foreign challenges, with China at number 1

Biden faces a long list of foreign challenges, with China at number 1

US relations with China are the worst since the two countries normalized relations four decades ago. America’s allies in Europe were shunned. The most important nuclear anti-proliferation treaty is about to expire with Russia. Iran is accumulating nuclear fuel getting rich again, and North Korea is raising its nuclear arsenal.

Not to mention global warming, the refugee crisis and famine raging in some of the poorest places on earth, all amplified by the pandemic.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr is inheriting a challenging and malevolent context for the United States in hostile countries with President Trump̵

7;s mantra “America First”, his unpredictability. , the cover of autocratic leaders and the resistance to international cooperation. Mr. Biden may also have difficulty dealing with governments hoping for Trump’s reelection – especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, which hold a deep aversion to Iran.

However, Mr. Biden’s past as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as vice president in the Obama administration has helped him familiarize himself with international issues that could benefit him. foreign policy expert he knew.

Robert Malley, chief executive of International Crisis Group and a former adviser at the Obama White House, said: “President Trump has downplayed regulation to the point that Biden won’t take long to change perception in a way. significantly. “Saying something Trump hasn’t said yet – rewinding the tapes on multilateralism, climate change, human rights – will sound loud and meaningful.”

Here are the most pressing areas of foreign policy that the Biden administration will face:

In the eyes of many experts, nothing is more urgent than reversing the downward trajectory of relations with China, the economic superpower, and geopolitical rival that Mr. Trump has engaged in what many call. New Cold War. The trade, South China Sea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and technology disputes that have spread during Mr. Trump’s tenure, his critics say, have been exacerbated by the general’s racist claims. China has infected the world with the coronavirus and should be held accountable.

“China is at the core of radioactivity in US foreign policy affairs,” said Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society’s Center for US-China Relations.

Mr. Biden does not have to portray his own negativity about China and its authoritarian leader, President Xi Jinping, during the 2020 campaign. The two were once considered to have developed a relationship. friendly years Obama. But Mr. Biden, perhaps acting in part to counter Trump’s accusations that he would be tolerant of China, recently called Mr. Xi a “ruffian”.

Mr. Biden has vowed to reverse what he called a “dangerous failure” in Trump’s Iran policy, which rejected the 2015 nuclear deal and replaced it with the tightening of the sanctions that caused. The economic loss was deep in Iran and left the United States largely isolated. this problem. Biden has offered to rejoin the deal, which limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities if Tehran adheres to its terms and pledges to negotiate further. He also pledged to immediately cancel Trump’s travel ban affecting Iran and several other Muslim majority countries.

Whether Iran’s hierarchy will accept Mr. Biden’s approach is unclear. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has said that the United States is unreliable no matter who is in the White House. At the same time, “Iran is in dire need of a deal,” said Cliff Kupchan, chairman of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.

However, Mr. Kupchan said Biden would face enormous difficulties in any negotiations with Iran to strengthen restrictions on the country’s nuclear activities – weaknesses that Mr Trump has invoked to justify abandoning the nuclear deal.

“The content will be very difficult – we have seen this movie and it is not easy,” said Mr. Kupchan. “I think Biden’s challenge is it won’t blow him in the face.”

Mr Biden’s Iran policy may alienate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has capitalized on Mr Trump’s confrontational approach to help strengthen Israel’s relations with Gulf Arab states, especially the pacifier. normalize diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. How Mr. Biden manages relations with Saudi Arabia, which sees Iran as an enemy, will also be a challenge.

“There is a very difficult square to circle here,” said Kupchan.

Mr Trump’s extremely favorable treatment of Israel in the prolonged conflict with the Palestinians may also prove good as Mr Biden takes another path in the Middle East. He has criticized the building of Israeli settlements in occupied lands that the Palestinians want a future state. And he is more likely to restore contact with the Palestinian leadership.

“Benjamin Netanyahu can expect an uncomfortable period of adjustment,” an Israeli journalist, Yossi Verter, wrote Friday in Haaretz newspaper.

At the same time, Mr. Biden also has a history of close ties with Mr. Netanyahu. Biden vowed not to reverse Trump’s move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – a move that angered the Palestinians.

Credit…Erin Schaff / The New York Times

While President Trump routinely criticized the European Union and strongly encouraged Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc, Mr. Biden expressed the opposite view. Like Mr. Obama, he supports a close US relationship with EU leaders and opposes Brexit. Mr. Biden’s ascendance could prove particularly awkward for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has accepted Mr. Trump and is contemplating reaching a trade deal with the United States before his divorce. Your country with the European Union takes effect. Mr. Biden may not be in a hurry to finalize such a deal.

While many Europeans will be happy to see Mr. Trump go, the damage they say he has done to America’s credibility will not be easily erased.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Norwegian prime minister, told The New York Times last month: “We have differences, but there is never a fundamental doubt about having common views of the world. Over the past four years, she said, European leaders have learned that they “can no longer underestimate the fact that they can trust America, even on the basics.”

Mr. Trump has described his friendship and three meetings with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, as a success in averting war with the nuclear-armed country. But critics say Trump’s approach not only failed to convince Kim to give up his nuclear and missile arsenal, but also gave Kim time to consolidate them. Last month, North Korea unveiled its largest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile.

Evans JR Revere, a former State Department official and North Korean expert, said: “According to Trump’s observations, the North Korean nuclear weapons program has grown dramatically, its missile capabilities have been expand and Pyongyang can now target the US with ICBM ”. “It’s a legacy Trump will soon pass on to Biden, and it will be a huge burden.”

Mr Biden, described by North Korea’s official news agency as a “beaten to death” wild dog, criticized Mr Trump’s approach to appease a dictator. Mr Biden has said he will push for denuclearization and “sided with South Korea”, but has not made it clear how he will deal with North Korean aggression.

Mr. Biden has long insisted that he will take a tougher stance on Russia than Mr. Trump, who questioned the usefulness of NATO, doubted the intelligence warning about Russia’s interference in the US election, the threshold grave of President Vladimir Putin and said that improving US relations with the Kremlin will benefit all. Mr. Biden, as vice president pushed up sanctions against Russia for annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 – the largest illegal land acquisition in Europe since World War II – may seek to renew those sanctions and take other sanctions.

While tensions with Russia are likely to increase, arms control is an area where Biden and Putin both want to make progress. Mr. Biden will take the oath just a few weeks before the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is expected to expire. He said he wanted to negotiate an extension of the treaty without any prerequisites.

Mr. Biden said one of his first actions as president was to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement aimed at curbing global warming that the United States formally left under Trump on Thursday. Private. Mr. Biden also said he would restore US membership in the World Health Organization, which Mr Trump rejected amid the coronavirus pandemic, describing WHO as henchmen of China.

More broadly, Mr. Biden is expected to reverse many of the moves of isolationism and anti-immigration made in the Trump administration, which many critics of Trump see as a shameful stigma against the position of Americans in the world. Mr. Biden vowed to disband Mr. Trump’s immigration restrictions, stop building his border wall with Mexico, expand resources for immigrants and provide a pathway to citizenship for those who live in. America illegal.

However, many of Mr Trump’s policies have received considerable backing in the United States, and it remains to be seen how quickly or effectively Mr. Biden can change them. Shocks rocked American democracy and divisive elections also planted doubts about Mr. Biden’s ability to deliver on his commitments.

Jean-Marie Guehenno, a French diplomat who is a member of the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Program and former secretary, said: “There is a relief to going back to some sort of ordinary, but bronze time, history cannot be deleted. common to peacekeeping operations at the United Nations. “The kind of soft power that the United States enjoyed in the past has largely evaporated.”

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