President Joe Biden came to power at a time when America had reached a record low in the world. In the 60 countries and territories surveyed by Gallup’s US Leadership Poll during the final year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the average acceptance of US leadership was 22%.
Six months after Joe Biden’s presidency, the US global situation had improved substantially. According to Gallup’s August survey across 46 countries and territories, the average acceptance of American leadership was 49%.
Thomas Schwartz, a historian of US foreign relations at Vanderbilt University, said Biden entered the presidency with a very low bar. “Outside a very few countries, most notably Israel and Saudi Arabia, Donald Trump was so disliked by most foreign leaders that simply not having Trump was an immediate advantage,” he said.
However, not being Trump can only lead to Biden, Schwartz said. Despite inheriting a withdrawal deadline from Afghanistan from his predecessor, the disastrous execution of Biden’s exit severely damaged America’s credibility internationally and its reputation for competence domestically.
Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center, said: “Terrorism has intensified, and the Taliban takeover has led to sanctions, which have put Afghanistan in the face of a serious humanitarian crisis, largely could cause famine.” , “And I think this very rapid, chaotic American withdrawal is seen as a link to those results.”
Kenneth Weinstein, Walter P. Stern Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute, said the turbulent retreat betrayed Western and other allies, including Afghanistan’s increasingly educated women, who would suffer most under the Taliban. He said this would make it difficult for US presidents to ask their allies to make sacrifices for shared goals in the future.
Weinstein pointed to the administration’s handling of the southern border as another failure. As the crisis escalated, Weinstein said, America is “back to the watered-down versions of the Trump administration’s policies, which the Biden-Harris campaign described as dehumanizing in 2020.”
Is America back?
After years of “America First” under Trump, Biden delivered a widely protesting message that America was back, returning to multilateralism and diplomacy as the main instruments of foreign policy, rejoining multilateral organizations. is happening, returning to the agreements struck down and bringing more engagement to global issues. Epidemic recovery and climate change.
“If the measure of success is global engagement and the baseline is 2020, then President Biden’s first year in office is nothing short of,” said Leslie Vinzamuri, director of programs for America and America at Chatham House.
Responding to a VOA question, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki listed a number of achievements that the US has made to regain leadership on some of the biggest global challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Changes included, while restoring alliances, resolve trade disputes with Europeans. Enhancing partnership in the Indo-Pacific through the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) involving the US, Australia, India and Japan, and AUKUS, a trilateral security partnership involving the US, Australia and the UK.
AUKUS will provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines and promote cutting-edge three-nation cooperation on cyber, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies. “This deal could change the security dynamic of the Indo-Pacific, if we can actually deliver the submarine before the 2042 due date,” said Weinstein of the Hudson Institute.
However, the launch of AUKUS blindsided France, a close ally, and the $66 billion traditional submarine deal Paris was under way with Australia. This was widely seen as another foreign policy blunder and as an example of a disconnect between the administration’s messaging and policies.
The administration has shown little respect for traditional allies and does not support its rhetoric with action that would be different or better than some of the isolationism seen under Trump, said Dalibor Rohak, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Rohak pointed to the continuation of the EU travel ban and tariffs months into administration, as have other examples of disconnects.
“Whether the president can bridge the gap between rhetoric and action is the most important question facing him today,” Rohak said.
China and Russia
Managing strategic competition with Beijing, a key tenet of the Trump administration, remains the defining framework of US-China relations under the current administration.
Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in November to discuss “ongoing efforts to manage responsibly,” the two rivals competing in the areas of trade, geopolitical influence and, most recently, military power. Between threatens to spiral out of control.
The biggest thorn in this turbulent US-China relationship is the issue of Taiwan, a democratic self-governing island that Beijing considers a separate province.
“The United States is asking China not to increase pressure on Taiwan. Robert Daly, director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, described a key point at the Biden-Xi meeting as asking the United States not to try and test the limits of the One China policy. Is. , “Both countries are guilty as has been alleged, and neither is in a position where it is going to reconsider its policies.”
Meanwhile, Russia is not living on the edge. In recent weeks, President Vladimir Putin has mobilized thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border. He says he wants to halt NATO’s eastward expansion – the main focus of the Biden-Putin virtual summit in December.
“What we are seeing here is some behavior of the Russian Federation to remind the United States that it is still there, it still has interests that it wants to pursue and those interests cannot be ignored. Andrew Lohsen, Fellow of the Europe, Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Moscow recently called for a comprehensive new security arrangement with the West, including a guarantee that NATO would stop expanding not only in the East, but also in Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Will withdraw military activities. It also includes a ban on sending warships and aircraft of the US and Russia to areas far away from each other’s territory.
Max Bergman, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said Russia wants Washington and Moscow to “sit down and make the world as 1921 as it is 2021.” The harsh demands are sure to be rejected by the US and its allies, who insist that Moscow does not dictate NATO expansion.
The administration says it will continue to hold high-level talks with both Moscow and Beijing to not only avoid conflict but also to cooperate on areas of common interest such as the pandemic, climate change and regional issues such as Iran.
So far, Biden’s two-track strategy of deterrence and diplomatic engagement has not resulted in serious setbacks or negative consequences, said Chatham House’s Leslie Vinjamuri. “But defending a rules-based order in the context of power transition and technological change – and in a world where major powers embrace radically different value systems – is a tall order and the future is uncertain,” she said.
In addition, Putin’s threats to Ukraine and Xi’s crushing of democracy in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s threats and alleged genocidal policies toward Uighurs have weakened an administration’s narrative so much that it can sway American interests against aggressive opponents. and stand up for values, Vanderbilt University said. Thomas Schwartz. “Iran’s continued defiance and move towards acquiring nuclear weapons only strengthens this picture,” he said.
Other unresolved problems include North Korea, where the administration is in no hurry to push for an agreement unless Kim Jong Un commits to shutting down his nuclear weapons program and de-escalating tensions between Israel and Hamas. . More than a year after the Abrahamic accord that normalized diplomatic ties between Israel and its two Arab neighbors, the administration has re-established ties with the Palestinians, severed under Trump but moving the broader Middle East peace process forward. Little progress has been made in increasing
democracy vs autocracy
The administration frames relations with rivals in the context of a global conflict, drawing a fault line between democracy and autocracy.
Biden said in remarks to the UN General Assembly, “We will stand up for our allies and our friends and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker countries, whether by force, economic coercion, technological exploitation or regional change.” be through propaganda.” September. “But we are not asking for – put it again, we are not asking for – a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.”
A “cold war mentality” is exactly what China and Russia have accused Washington of fostering. Their leaders were excluded from the Summit for Democracy where Biden hosted more than 100 countries on December 9-10. Xi and Putin held their virtual meeting a week after the democracy summit.
While activists applaud the summit’s goals of “strengthening democracy and defending against authoritarianism”, combating corruption and promoting human rights, some analysts have warned of redundancies.
Stacy Goddard, the Mildred Lane Kemper Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College, said if Biden pushes his democracy-versus-autocracy too far, there is a risk of losing allied ground with China on global issues like climate change and arms control with Russia. There is danger. , “Those are the types of global issues where you really need that type of cross-ideological collaboration,” she said.