Biden’s America: An International Embarrassment – Conservative Article
Joe Biden has been in office for less than a year, yet he is already proving to be an awful president. For this article, Biden’s foreign policy actions will be looked at; his domestic actions deserve their own article. So far his foreign policy actions seem to be far more reminiscent of Trump than Biden promised it would be.
First are the problems in the Middle East. While Afghanistan is his most public example of failure, there is another: Iran. One of Biden’s key election promises was to rejoin America to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal). But this is unlikely to happen.
While talks have been going on in Vienna for many months, they have gone nowhere. This is because Biden has failed to eat humble pie over Trump’s reckless actions. In February, Biden refused to lift Trump era sanctions on Iran to bring them back to the negotiating table. Iran has maintained since Trump announced this policy that they will only negotiate if sanctions are lifted. This hasn’t changed just because a new administration has entered office. Especially if that new administration won’t offer them anything first.
Consequently, this further empowered hardliners already emboldened by Trump, ahead of the Iranian Presidential elections. As a result, a moderate president who was willing to cooperate with the West was replaced with an ultra-conservative, who has said that Iran will not return to the nuclear deal. The president has also refused to even speak with Biden. Under Biden’s watch, Iran will obtain nuclear weapons. This will only further serve to increase tensions. While this was undoubtedly a process started under Trump, Biden has failed to recover what he said he could.
This will not only have consequences in the Middle East but with his relationship with Europe. Europe has stuck to the nuclear deal throughout and were no doubt hopeful when Biden said he could negotiate for America’s return to it. But ultimately, he could not. This will certainly impact how Biden is viewed in Europe, for the worse.
This leads to how Biden is treating his European allies. Biden also seems keen to continue isolating them, just as Trump did. Members from across the continent were swift to condemn his withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Czech President even labelled the actions “cowardice”. Tony Blair slammed the actions as “imbecilic“. Many European leaders feel sidelined by Biden’s actions and that there was a lack of communication about vital information. This is further evidenced by the fact that Biden denied extending the Afghan withdrawal, despite an appeal made by Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders.
Biden has also sidelined his European counterparts in other ways. He is yet to fully lift Trump-era tariffs on Europe. He failed to reciprocate on lifting travel restrictions on the continent. At the G7 meeting in Cornwall Biden sidelined host Boris Johnson (though Johnson shares some of this blame for allowing himself to be sidelined). Taking over an international event is behaviour that would be unsurprising from Trump, less so from Biden.
Biden also had a very embarrassing moment, where he got lost at the event. While getting lost abroad is nothing new to anyone, it is still embarrassing and shows Biden’s age. Especially when the whole world is watching, including our enemies. Someone as important as the President of the United States would be under the constant watch of security, or at the very least have a clear route of where they are going. But this is clearly not the case.
Biden seems to be pursuing a similar foreign policy to Trump; that of America first and isolating allies. While it is understandable that Biden wants to put his country first – as all countries should – it does not mean isolating allies without provocation. It proves that Trump wasn’t just some sort of freak event in American foreign policy, but indicative of a larger shift.
This is disappointing as Biden campaigned on the notion that he would be nothing like Trump, and diplomacy would be ‘back’. What has happened however is that those who are allies with America are continuing to question their relationship, and Biden isn’t providing the reset they were hoping for.
Written by Co-Chief for the Conservatives, Kieran Burt
Point of Information
Biden Must Reverse Trump’s Legacy – A Liberal Response
Kieran has accurately summarised some of Biden’s foreign policy failures, most notably Afghanistan. It is undoubtedly the President’s most remarkable mistake to date. It could cost him the 2024 election. Both Kieran and I have previously agreed that Biden performed poorly, although we differed in some minor areas. By comparison, the mention of the G7 conference is almost comical.
However, America’s connections with Europe should not be laughed away. China’s growing self-reliance is posing a threat to American global hegemony, mostly for the worst. Biden’s continuation of Trump’s combativeness towards China has its pros and its cons. Whilst it is laudable that America is taking on China’s immoral economy, it is becoming an almost outdated struggle.
Indeed, as Rudd argues, Xi may cut off America all on its own. As a result, the trade war will become significantly less direct. Instead, a proxy trade war will ignite in Europe – America’s second home for almost a century – and East Asia. With Muhbubani the influence of ASEAN, and who they favour, in the latter could ultimately determine whether the American empire falls or continues. Many are already unwilling to stand with America’s isolationism.
Yet, this is a Trump-era policy that Biden has failed to revoke. It is certainly not the only one either. Kieran importantly highlights the continuity between Biden and Trump, particularly regarding Iran and Afghanistan. Both men failed to continue the Iran deal, which had brought a degree of stability to the region. Yet, with both Biden and the Ayatollah refusing to make concessions before the other, it is clear a peace will not be brokered soon. With protests rocking Iran and Biden’s blunders animating the newspapers, both men have little political space to do so.
In any case, what Kieran’s article shows best is that Biden has to revoke Trump’s foreign policy. Unfortunately, Biden is now on the receiving end of Trump’s misdirected decisions. The only foreseeable way this could be achieved is if Biden focuses on promoting his domestic policies, such as the Infrastructure plan, first. This could potentially buy Biden enough space and time to reinvigorate a new global trajectory for America. Yet, with China’s dominance growing by leaps and bounds, there may be no time left.
Written by Chief Liberal Writer, Frank Allen
Biden May Survive – A Labour Response
Kieran has written an excellent article critiquing Biden’s administration foreign policy of the past year. However, I differ on some parts.
For example, to call Afghanistan “a public example of failure” is perhaps unfair. Here in Europe, there has been harsh criticism of Biden as Kieran noted. Despite this, there is little evidence to suggest it is as unpopular with Americans. For example, a poll found that 54% of Americans agreed with Biden’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan. This is not an awful result given the partisan nature of American politics.
However, Biden has clearly not done wonders, as only around a quarter of those polled believed that his administration has done a “good job” handling the situation in Afghanistan. In fact, the series of events in Afghanistan has undermined his reputation for competence, which was a key part of his presidential campaign to defeat Trump. Overall, withdrawal from Afghanistan is popular with the American public, but the handling has hit Biden’s popularity.
I agree with Kieran’s criticism of Biden’s handling of Iran. His refusal to lift the trade sanctions imposed by Trump on Iran has only served to increase tensions and harm the Iranian people. As Kieran put it, this has “empowered hardliners”, and Iran now has an ultra-conservative President, Ebrahim Raisin.
However, the Iranian people are not fairly represented in a democracy. The 2021 election was described as “neither free or fair” by Human Rights Watch. With a turnout of only 49%, and 13% of the votes being protest votes, many Iranians were not happy with how the election was handled. This is another reason why Biden’s refusal to lift trade sanctions is so disappointing, as ultimately it harms normal Iranian people, many of whom are no fan of their regime, and are not fairly represented.
Written by Senior Labour Writer, Brian Byrne