Quite the most striking feature of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy, as unveiled on Friday, is his decision to suspend all American assistance to offensive operations in Yemen, a move aimed directly at Saudi Arabia and its leaders, who had developed close ties with Donald Trump.
“This war has to end,” said the 46th President of the United States of America in a dramatic departure from the praxis of Trump and his support for his allies. Yemen since 2015 has been a critical storm-centre of the Arab world in the context of the war seemingly without end. All in all, Biden’s foreign policy is a revolutionary change from the Trump era. And that precisely is the highlight of his diplomatic powerplay.
The comity of nations must now look up to him for a positive essay towards the restoration of democracy in Myanmar. In a span of two weeks since he stepped into the Oval Office, the outline of the United States’ foreign policy has emerged with a measure of grandstanding, specifically a powerful speech at the State Department, sweeping executive orders, phone calls to leaders on every continent, and a series of press conferences.
Just as Biden’s economic, domestic and Covid agendas are a reversal of Trump’s policies, so too is his diplomatic agenda. Well and truly has he jettisoned the policies of Trump. The contours are clear with his statement: “America is back, diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy.” He called on diplomats to include a few core tenets, notably “integrity in all you do, transparency and accountability to rebuild trust in America around the world.”
This represents a dramatic break with his predecessor, who had sought to dismantle any efforts at maintaining a coherent, democratic presence of America on the world stage.
On closer reflection, there are five key pillars of Biden’s foreign and defence policies. These range from ‘re-engaging key institutions and agreements” to “reasserting our values,” as well as “compete more effectively with our competitors across the board.”
First, America will end support for the five-year Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen.
Second, Biden has eventually stopped the planned withdrawal of US troops from Germany.
Third, he has made it clear to Vladimir Putin that the days of the United States “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions” such as the expansionist designs in the Ukraine and “interference in our elections” are over. Biden mentioned the predicament of Alexei Navalny and the Kremlin’s effort to suppress the freedom of expression.
Fourth, he has signalled his intent to increase the number of refugees admitted into the United States, yet another thorny issue over the past few years. Fifth, Biden mentioned that he is prepared to work with China “when it’s in America’s interest to do so.” Incidentally, President Xi Jinping is the only major world leader Biden has not contacted personally. The world looks up to Joe Biden.