Joe Biden’s Foreign Policy: A Series of Failures

June 20, 2024 in Columnists, News by RBN Staff




When Joe Biden came to power, U.S. priorities in international relations shifted dramatically from establishing and improving foreign ties to the dominant position of intimidating individual countries and their leaders. As the most influential state in the world (in any case, it was until January 20, 2021), the U.S. had every opportunity for peaceful coexistence with its partners, without ceasing to act from a position of strength, realizing its role as the leader of the free world — an option that has certainly worked since the end of the Cold War.

Since the beginning of his term, Biden has knocked the political scales out equilibrium, tilting them towards the emergence of international strife, exacerbating long-frozen disputes, and creating new hotbeds of tension on the globe. Analyzing the steps taken by the Biden administration concerning both partner countries and governments of unfriendly states, one issue vividly emerges — are current government’s actions aimed at strengthening the U.S. position in the world?

NATO, despite the expansion, has not become stronger

In a recent interview with Time magazine, Joe Biden said: “NATO is considerably stronger than it was when I took office. I put it together… [and] I was able to expand it. And we’re now the strongest nation. We have the strongest alliance in all of America, all of history. ”

Has NATO expanded since Biden took office? Certainly. Has it become stronger? Quite doubtful. The Russo-Ukrainian war raised several issues that decisionmakers in the Alliance should pay attention to (for example, weapons not fully adapted to the realities of the modern war), but now it’s not even about the course of the conflict in Eastern Europe, but the attitude of several members of the “strongest alliance.”

The war showed that NATO, although still the largest military-political alliance, is not as united as it should be. Along with countries that unequivocally support Ukraine in defending its sovereignty, some question the American government’s approach to protecting Kyiv for any amount of time. For example, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban is an ardent supporter of a policy of non-interference in conflicts outside his own country. A similar position is held by Slovak prime minister Robert Fico, who recently survived an attempt on his life, which, according to the person who committed it, is associated with the political views of the Slovak politician.

If the value of Budapest and Bratislava for the Alliance can be questioned, one cannot ignore the position of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This odious politician, despite NATO’s official position on the Ukrainian issue, continues to adhere to dual views, pursuing only the interests of Turkey without reference to the of “corporate ethics.” Nothing prevents Erdogan from simultaneously recognizing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and stating that the “lobbyists of the war” disrupted peace talks in Istanbul in 2022.

At the same time, Turkey, due to its territorial position, is a strategic center of NATO influence in the Black Sea region. Taking this fact into account, the Alliance has to endure a disloyal leader in its ranks one who has a serious influence and does not always show solidarity with NATO decisions — the case of delaying Sweden’s accession to NATO was also artificially created by Erdogan.

NATO, as Biden declares, is now greater than ever, but there are questions about its unity. Imagine a situation in which Putin, for example, will nevertheless decide to strike at military facilities on the territory of the Alliance. Which countries will unconditionally support Article 5 on collective defense, and which will remain on the sidelines?

In this case, unity is a key factor, not the number of participants. And that unity is now in doubt, despite Biden’s claims otherwise.

In Asia, everything is not as good as Biden believes

In Asia, such serious players as Japan and South Korea are still Washington partners, while China and the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), run by leaders whose style can be described as authoritarian, pose a threat to world security under the current U.S. president.

In the case of the DPRK, everything is quite transparent — the country ruled by Kim Jong Un has a clear goal to extend its regime to its southern neighbor. The creation of new types of weapons and testing of ballistic missiles — preparations for a potential conflict — are in full swing, although the likelihood of its occurrence shortly is quite small.

Comparing the policy of Trump and Biden towards the DPRK immediately brings to mind the meeting of the former U.S. president and the leader of North Korea on the Korean border. Trump held bilateral talks with Kim and at the same time clearly defined the price that the North Korean regime would pay for violating peace in the region.

Negotiations, even with a totalitarian leader, generally demonstrate not weakness, but wisdom, because a wise leader will do everything to ensure his own country and his partners. Unfortunately, Joe Biden turned everything the other way. The President immediately threw aside any options for meeting with the North Korean leader, putting forward conditions for holding it — de-escalation on the Korean peninsula and the elimination of the DPRK’s nuclear arsenal. Biden, unlike his predecessor, sets conditions for negotiations, during which such issues should be discussed, that will obviously not be fulfilled.

As for relations with China, Joe walks on thin ice here too. On the one hand, the Biden administration defines Beijing as the main geopolitical opponent. On the other, it calls for negotiations with Xi Jinping. When it became possible to conclude several agreements during the U.S.-Chinese negotiations, Biden first talked with his Chinese counterpart for four hours, and immediately after that called him a dictator. Is that the way America pursues foreign policy today?

Biden’s position on Taiwan is also contradictory. The president seemed to say that he was not going to encroach on China’s territorial integrity, and at the same time added that he would defend the island if Xi decided to launch a full-scale military operation to return it to control. Is Biden ready to drag our country into another senseless war? And Republicans are called crazy?

In general, the vector of aggravation of relations with China, which is adhered to by the Biden administration, is a very dangerous game. Beijing is the most serious actor in the Asian region. Talking to China not having the best cards on your hands is a rash decision.

Is the “War on Terror” over?

The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan marked the end of the twenty-year “War on Terror,” declared by President George W. Bush after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Afghan operation aimed at destroying the Taliban terrorist group ended completely at the wrong time — the agreements with official Kabul and the Taliban reached during Trump’s presidency were multiplied by zero. In consequence, the Taliban seized the entire country.

The withdrawal of troops was long overdue. The twenty-year presence in one of the most problematic regions of the world cost at least $825 billion since 2001 (several experts say that these numbers are seriously underestimated), and the lives of 2,300 soldiers.

Our troops left the country at the time of a Taliban offensive, removing the last shield protecting Afghan civilians, while also leaving the Taliban weapons worth billions of dollars, including helicopters, armored vehicles, artillery systems, rifles, and much more.

Biden regularly states that “we will support Ukraine as long as it takes.” Such words would have been wasted on Afghanistan, which was no less in need of help.

A strong leader makes difficult decisions and, just as importantly, is responsible for them. At one time, the U.S. lit the torch of the fight against terrorism, adequately starting this battle. Biden ingloriously completed it.

American foreign policy under Biden has been a string of bad decisions: inappropriate aggravation of relations with China; failure to prevent the Russian-Ukrainian war, from which serious economic losses suffered not only U.S. partner Ukraine but also European countries divided against the background of the ongoing conflict; the untimely withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan; partial loss of influence in Africa (as in the case of Niger). Will we tolerate such a policy for another four years?

Image: White House