Over the past four years, the Trump administration has taken on a more isolationist approach towards foreign relations aimed at putting ‘America First.’ Biden, on the other hand, is seeking to reverse some of Trump’s changes and is seeking more international cooperation. In one of his town hall meetings, Biden said: “America first has made America alone”.
The US-Chinese relations have come under the spotlight increasing over recent years due to the rise of China’s economic power. Consequently, the upcoming US election could be pivotal in giving the rest of the world an idea as to how America plans to combat this.
Biden has admitted that China’s rise is a serious concern and is aware that it may move ahead of the US in new technologies. He wants to build a united front alongside the US allies to confront China’s abusive powers and their human rights violations, notably Biden was highly critical of the treatment of Uighur Muslims.
Biden has stated that he believes that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is a threat to Western Democracy, and is wary of their interference in the US electoral process. Not only that but, he recognises that the Kremlin has the potential to break up America’s security and alliances. Consequently, Biden has reiterated his desire to maintain NATO’s military capabilities and wants all member states to recommit to their responsibilities as a part of the intergovernmental alliance. He believes that if NATO is strong and unified then they will be able to contain Russia.
Biden recently stated that he strongly opposes any Brexit outcome which poses a threat to the Good Friday Agreement. He has strong Irish ancestral roots and wants to avoid any more conflict in Ireland. Even if they manage to overcome it, a US-UK trade deal may be quite difficult to achieve. Paris, Berlin and Brussels are partners in tackling climate change and combating the rise of China, so the fact that Britain is compromising their relationship with EU states over Brexit does not sit well with Biden.
One of the Biden administration’s key policies in their manifesto is to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords as early as possible. In recent years we have seen the Democrats have been big on pushing the climate crisis higher on the political agenda, with the Green New Deal being at the focal point. However, at the first Presidential debate, Biden came out opposing the Green New Deal, and instead put forward a $2 trillion climate plan which has been described as “less far-reaching and aggressive”. Under this new plan, Biden has set the target to achieve a clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Iran nuclear deal was negotiated by the Obama-Biden administration before Trump put it to one side which allowed Iran to restart their nuclear program. Biden has confirmed that he intends to re-enter the agreement, so long as Tehran returns to compliance.
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice appears to be the frontrunner for the role of Secretary of State. She was one of the contenders to be Biden’s vice-president and has already worked alongside the Democratic nominee in the White House under the Obama administration. Biden has a very close working relationship with Rice who is already a well-respected diplomat. This could be vital for Biden as he seeks to repair relations with the US allies.
Senator Chris Coons is another name which has tout for the secretary of state position. The moderate currently holds Biden’s old seat in the Senate and has spoken out about China’s growing influence and containing Iran’s nuclear threat.