From Trump to Biden: How America’s Foreign Policy Would Change
Donald Trump’s foreign policy has been heavily criticized. He supposedly alienated America’s allies while cozying up to its enemies. The president clashed with traditional allies like Canada and Germany yet spoke of good relationships with dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
In his presidential inaugural address, Joe Biden said, “We face an attack on … America’s role in the world.”
How are America’s allies and enemies reacting to Mr. Biden being in the White House? In this upside-down world, who are America’s allies and enemies?
Let’s compare Donald Trump’s foreign relations with what Joe Biden’s could look like.
Perhaps no country had a better relationship with President Trump than Israel. Despite strong internal and international opposition, the president recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017. In 2019, he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. President Trump also negotiated normalization deals between Israel and several Arab States last year: the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, then Sudan and Morocco.
Mr. Biden has pledged to keep the American embassy in Jerusalem. However, he has also promised Iran “a credible path back to diplomacy,” and it was the Obama-Biden administration that empowered Iran by forcing through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal in 2015. This gave the Iranians cash and weapons to continue its proxy wars and destabilizing activities. The provisions meant to slow Iran from building a nuclear weapons program were unenforceable.
Meanwhile, Biden has been reaching out to the Palestinians, promising to re-establish the ties that President Trump cut.
United Arab Emirates
America hosts naval bases in the United Arab Emirates. While the U.A.E. and nearby Iran have robust business dealings, relations soured when Abu Dhabi recognized Israel.
During the Trump administration, Democrats in the senate contested the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Abu Dhabi. They criticized the U.A.E.’s potential to use them in the Yemeni civil war against the Houthi rebels. These are the same Iranian-sponsored terrorists causing havoc around one of the most important trade choke points in the world: the Bab el-Mandeb strait.
Democrats claim they don’t support the purchase because they don’t want to give the Arab states a military advantage over Israel. Yet they helped end the weapons embargo on Iran, which actually is a radical Islamic state. We have written about how the U.A.E. deal isn’t the harbinger of peace most think it is. But the U.A.E. is currently one of the most moderate states in the Arab world, offering more religious freedom than almost any other nation in the region. It is a military partner with America. Abu Dhabi and Dubai constantly rank among the safest cities in the world. You would think that the Democrats would value the U.A.E. as a partner more than Iran.
It remains to be seen whether Biden would support the position his party takes in the senate. But his appointee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, expressed concern about the F-35 sale.
Saudi Arabia is an Islamic fundamentalist autocracy. It is true that the government there beheads heretics and imprisons women’s rights activists. But it is also an important regional partner for America. America is a major importer of Saudi oil. Saudi Arabia is a vital military partner in the fight against jihadism and Iranian expansion, and it hosts United States military bases. So, it may come as a surprise that Biden wants to reevaluate America’s relationship with the Saudis.
“I would end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen and order a reassessment of our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Biden said. “Saudi Arabia has [led] … a war in Yemen that has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, pursue reckless foreign policy fights and repress its own people.”
Biden seems to blame America’s ally for starting what he calls “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” rather than Iranian-backed jihadist insurgents.
The United States and Britain have been each other’s strongest allies for more than a lifetime. The Obama administration intentionally damaged that “special relationship,” controversially removing a White House bust of Winston Churchill and mocking the “special relationship” concept itself. When the Brexit vote was looming, Obama claimed that a “leave” vote would put Britain at the “back of the queue” regarding trade agreements. He much preferred the European Union as a partner compared to an independent Britain. He said that America had no stronger friend and ally than French President Nicolas Sarkozy and that he considered German Chancellor Angela Merkel his “closest international partner.”
As Obama’s vice president, Biden belonged to an administration that didn’t like Britain in general.
Mr. Trump publicly backed Brexit even before becoming president. When the Brexit became a reality, he promised the UK a “phenomenal” trade deal. That has not happened, but the U.S. and UK were negotiating a smaller trade deal as recently as early January. Trump also reaccepted the Churchill bust Obama had removed.
Biden doesn’t have a good opinion of either Prime Minister Boris Johnson or Brexit. In 2019, he called Johnson Donald Trump’s “physical and emotional clone.” It goes without saying that Biden has little respect for Mr. Trump.
Biden intervened in the argument over the border between the European Union (in the Republic of Ireland) and the United Kingdom (in Northern Ireland) by threatening to reject a U.S.-UK trade deal.
An unnamed Biden adviser told the Telegraph that a U.S.-UK trade deal wasn’t high on Biden’s priority list. Former U.S. government officials suspect he won’t get a trade agreement going with Britain until 2022.
Biden also got re-removed the Churchill bust Trump had reaccepted.
President Trump’s stance against China has made him immensely popular in Taiwan. His phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016 was the first between a Taiwanese president and an American president or president-elect since 1979. President Trump rescinded the prohibition on Taiwanese and American diplomats from formally meeting. This followed meetings between several high-ranking American officials and the Taiwanese government. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last year that Taiwan “has not been a part of China,” sparking outrage in the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Major media outlets were furious at the removing of the diplomatic ban especially. They saw it as a last-minute complication for Biden’s foreign policy team. Biden did invite Taiwan’s unofficial ambassador to his inauguration. But this is more riding the tide of the Trump administration rather than any policy shift.
Given Poland’s recent history during World War ii and the Cold War, America, the leader of the free world, has a special obligation to Poland. President Trump was arguably the biggest international supporter of Poland’s security. He oversaw Poland’s largest ever weapons purchase from a U.S. contractor. He put sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which pumped gas from Russia directly into Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.
Last year, President Trump authorized a shifting of U.S. troops stationed in Germany to Poland. This increased the number of American troops in Poland to 5,500. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak stated the U.S. presence could increase to 20,000.
All of this came on the heels of the Obama administration’s snubs to Poland, like the scrapping of the Ballistic Missile Defense system, meant to protect Eastern Europe from Russia.
It’s no surprise then that Poland is apprehensive at the idea of Obama’s vice president in the White House. The Polish government refused to acknowledge the official results of the U.S. presidential election weeks after the results were in, waiting for the conclusion of Mr. Trump’s legal battles. Polish state tv supported President Trump’s claims of voter fraud. A Pew poll from last year found Poland to be the only European country surveyed (among 16) where a majority of the population supported President Trump.
Probably the most surprising world leader to have Trump nostalgia is Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The two originally feuded regarding Trump’s illegal immigration policies. However, the two leaders got along well together through a mutual understanding: López Obrador would stop illegal migrants from crossing the border into America, and Trump would let him run Mexico how he wanted. American presidents have long held inordinate amounts of influence in Mexican internal affairs. Many suspect Biden would be more intrusive than his predecessor.
López Obrador was one of the last world leaders to congratulate Biden. When he finally did phone Biden—the month after the election—he stressed his good relations with the Trump White House. “I must mention that we do have a very good relationship with the now president of your country, Mr. Donald Trump,” López Obrador reportedly said. “Regardless of any other considerations, he respects our sovereignty.”
In other words, the Trump administration wasn’t the chaotic betrayal of America’s allies many suspect it was. If anything, many American allies are more apprehensive about a Biden administration.
But what are America’s enemies thinking? Was President Trump’s “retreat from the world stage” to their advantage? Are they quivering in fear at Biden’s promise to restore “America’s role in the world”?
No doubt Iran looked forward to having Obama’s vice president replace hardliner Donald Trump in the White House. The heir to the administration that gave Iran the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a gift. And Iran is now trying to provoke Biden to give them an even better deal. Iran started enriching its uranium to 20 percent this month, blatantly breaking the regulations set by that agreement. This means Iran’s breakout time to obtain a nuclear bomb is as short as six weeks.
What is Biden doing about it?
Biden’s director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, said that Washington is “a long ways from” returning to the Iran nuclear deal. His nomination for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the same thing.
Is six weeks long enough?
Iran must also be salivating with Biden pressuring Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. to leave Yemen. This would give Iran’s Houthi proxies the boost they need.
Traditionally unpredictable and volatile North Korea celebrated Joe Biden’s win by showing off some new “fireworks.” Kim Jong Un held a military parade on January 15, days before the inauguration. The parade demonstrated some new North Korean technology, including new submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
In his speech, Kim vowed to continue North Korea’s nuclear program in defiance of U.S. sanctions.
This comes on the heels of a North Korean Worker’s Party congress. During the congress, Kim announced the intention to develop longer-ranged intercontinental ballistic missiles that could hit the U.S. mainland more accurately.
Given President Trump’s on-and-off relationship with Kim, the North Koreans may be “testing the waters” to see how far they could push Biden.
Biden has pledged to roll back the embargo President Trump put back on Cuba. He’s hoping to bring relations back to where they were under President Obama. This is even as Cuba was placed on the U.S. List of State Sponsors of Terrorism by President Trump, due to its support for Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.
Despite Obama’s deal, “the communist regime has remained repressive,” writes Nearshore Americas. “It did not respond positively to Obama’s diplomatic outreach. Neither did it release any political prisoners nor increased openings for private enterprise.”
Biden’s nominee for secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, is Cuban. He was one of Obama’s point-men for reestablishing relations.
Other international power players have been pressuring Biden to open relations with Cuba once more. Most notable of these is the European Union. An EU spokesperson told EU Observer that Brussels “rejects” the embargo and is pressuring Biden to reverse President Trump’s decision. The EU claims the U.S. embargo is hurting the Cuban economy right when Cuba needs foreign investment the most: during the covid-19 crisis.
Human rights groups are skeptical that giving Havana an injection of cash will actually help the Cuban people. Because of Cuba’s centralized communist system, it is very easy for the government to divert funds earmarked for “humanitarian” reasons to more nefarious activities. Lucia Argüellova, leader of the non-governmental organization People in Need, suspects that foreign investment could be diverted to fund Cuba’s secret police.
“[The Cuban government has recently] taken harsh steps to limit basic rights and freedoms, including artistic and academic freedom, increasingly punishing those who hold alternative views” said Argüellova. “Cuban authorities continue to use arbitrary detentions, inhuman treatment, threats, large fines and imprisonment … to silence critical voices.”
It is worth noting that the Trump-era sanctions significantly affected many European companies doing business in Cuba.
Allowing Cuba to prosper while still hostile to the U.S. is a significant danger. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned about this in Chapter 4 of his booklet Great Again, “The Deadly Deal With Cuba.”
The regime of the Chinese Communist Party noticed that Biden invited the unofficial Taiwanese ambassador to his inauguration. Days later, the Chinese air force held an exercise in Taiwanese territory with 13 planes. Chinese President Xi Jinping also gave a thinly-veiled threat to Biden during the World Economic Forum. “To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to willfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, to create isolation or estrangement, will only push the world into division and even confrontation,” Xi said.
It appears that Biden’s election has made China even more confrontational.
Nevertheless, there are reasons to suspect that relations between Washington and Beijing will be more cordial. But not for the right reasons. Joe Biden’s business dealings with China, and especially his son Hunter’s dealings, could form a conflict of interest. Di Dongsheng, vice dean of the School of International Relations in the Renmin University of China, stated:
For the past 30 years, 40 years, we have been utilizing the core power of the United States. … Since the 1970s, Wall Street had a very strong influence on the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States. So we had a channel to rely on. … [A]fter 2016, Wall Street can’t fix Trump. … But now we’re seeing Biden was elected. The traditional elite, the political elite, the establishment, they’re very close to Wall Street …. Trump has been saying that Biden’s son has some sort of global foundation. … Who helped him build the foundations? Got it? There are a lot of deals in all of these.
In other words, far from restoring America’s place as leader of the free world, a Biden presidency will make America weaker. Both America’s allies and enemies can see that. Many of America’s traditional allies can expect sour relations with Biden. Pariah states like Iran and North Korea, meanwhile, are getting pushier and pushier.
It sounds like Mr. Biden would be the president to throw the international order off-kilter, rather than Mr. Trump.
So what can we expect of a Biden presidency?
We can expect Biden to go down the same path Barack Obama went down. We can expect him to marginalize traditional allies like Britain and Israel. We can expect him to court regimes like Iran and Cuba at the expense of American security interests.
In short, we can expect a third term of Obama.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has been emphasizing the importance of former President Obama’s upside-down foreign policy for years. Here is what he writes in his free booklet Great Again:
The nation’s foreign policy is utterly transformed. We have seen apologies, concessions and surrenders made to dictators and despots, while longtime alliances, like those with the United Kingdom and the Jewish state of Israel, have been cast aside. Nations that have relied on America for leadership, strength, security, protection and largesse face a new reality and are having to forge alternate relationships, even if they undermine America.
But this is more than the work of political incompetence. Mr. Flurry continues:
There is a spiritual dimension to America’s decline that most people do not see. The crisis facing this nation is not because of a bad president! The cause is far deeper. But most people are unwilling to face it.
If the cause isn’t a bad president, then what is it? To find out, request your free copy of Great Again.