Home US Foreign Affairs Biden’s Foreign Policy: A Blend of his Best Friend Obama and Worst Rival Trump

Biden’s Foreign Policy: A Blend of his Best Friend Obama and Worst Rival Trump

by Eli Mshomi

Despite a cry of chaos in the pre-election times, Biden’s foreign policy looks like a mixture of two former presidents’ policies, i.e., Donald Trump and Barack Obama. 

While on the one hand, Biden is an advocate of open borders, easier immigration, and better climate, inspired by his former boss Barack Obama.

On the other hand, he is in full flow not to bond with the other emerging superpowers, just like Trump, who left no stone unturned in worsening relations with China.

Biden is even taking one step further compared with Trump to take Russia and Saudi Arabia by their horns, in times when the soft power of Russia is increasing at an unprecedented rate.

Amid Biden’s inability to bring the US out of the persistent foreign policy crisis, even the hardline Democrats, including Ro Khanna, have started criticizing the president.

Khanna said,


“It has been a disappointing start when it comes to Iran policy from the administration.”

(Ro Khanna)


How is Biden trying to copy foreign policy designs, some from Obama and others from Trump? And why are some Democrats getting angry about this policy approach of Biden? Let’s see.


Taking Super Powers by Their Horns: Biden Walking Trump’s Path

Donald Trump was often criticized by the political commentators for destroying the normalcy in US relations with the other foreign powers.

The top of the list included China, which faced a new era of sanctions under the Trump administration.

As Biden puts himself in Trump’s shoes, this time, he has already distanced the United States from Russia, an emerging power.

The relations of the US and Russia came back to normalcy in the Trump administration for the first time since the cold war.

Not only this, Biden’s approach toward China in tackling the everlasting climate change issue and pervasive trade discrimination depicts that, just like Donald Trump, Biden has no plan to improve relations with China in the near future.

Then comes the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a prominent power in the Middle East, with which the relations have been strained even before the completion of 100 days of Biden’s presidency. 

Obama’s Inspirations in Biden’s Foreign Policy

Until now, Biden’s foreign policy also remained inspired by the erstwhile administration of Barack Obama.

The top issue in this regard is the rejoining of the Paris Climate Accord, which was signed under the presidency of Barack Obama.

As Joe Biden walks on Obama’s path, immigrants are also happy with him, seeing open borders. These open borders come despite the already dwindling economy of the United States amid the coronavirus crisis and the political pressure that Republicans have been exercising on the Biden administration by demanding the application of technology in closing the borders.

Going against Trump this time and embracing Obama’s policy, Biden is not ready to pull out the United States troops from Afghanistan following former president Barack Obama.

When Biden Talks Obama but Walks Trump

Then there are some matters in which Biden’s ambitions resemble Barack Obama, but his actions suggest walking Trump‘s path.

The top of this is the Iran nuclear deal issue, where he wants to bring Iran back to the nuclear deal signed under the Obama administration, but the inability to develop and implement an actionable strategy is making things worse.

The Biden’s administration actions regarding Iran are forcing the Islamic Republic to continuously reject the US plan.

This suggests that although his ideal remains Barack Obama in the Iran nuclear deal, his ineptness to follow-up Obama’s strategy in the matter is snatching the situation away from the United States.

Final Thoughts

Biden has already drifted away from many of his campaign promises, not only in the foreign policy domain but also in domestic affairs.

In today’s unipolar world, the role of the United States as the only superpower is humongous, and bandwagoning other countries are also equally important. 

The decry among the Democratic circle regarding Biden’s foreign policy is meaningful. If Biden’s policy approaches towards the major superpowers remain negligent, it is a matter of no time that a highly divided world with different priorities will emerge, having no common grounds or mutual interests.

While the rejoining of the global initiatives revoked by the Trump administration is commendable, a sane strategy must be devised by Biden’s foreign policy team to walk away from Trump’s legacy so that foreign affairs get the attention they deserve.

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