How will US foreign policy change in the first 100 days of Biden’s administration?

Trump, who has just stepped down, issued a series of executive orders within 100 days of his taking office to overthrow and abolish many of the key political legacy left by former President Obama during his administration. The “America First” decree that Trump first promoted broke the consensus of the two parties on foreign policy for decades.

   “Foreign Policy” on January 19, 2021 stated that “the time to reverse the’Trump’s reversal’ is coming”. President-elect Biden has repeatedly promised that he will lead the new administration to respond to a series of security challenges the country is facing by resetting the main policies of the Trump era-from climate change to Sino-US relations, from the end to endless Until the end of the continuous spread of the new crown epidemic.

   President-elect Biden’s team has expressed the hope that Biden will attack boldly from the first day of his term. In a book about Biden published in 2020, the incoming National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly stated, “Our (Biden administration) strategy is to act quickly and boldly”, “He (Biden) The consideration is not in two years, but in the first few months (action)”.

  So, in the first 100 days after Biden and Vice President-elect Harris begin to deal with the foreign policy agenda, how will American foreign policy begin to change? “Foreign Policy” published an article detailing the 10 major challenges that Biden’s foreign policy team faced after taking office, and made predictions about possible policy trends.


   “Foreign Policy” predicts that under Biden’s leadership, Trump’s hardline line towards China may continue, but his attitude may be slightly eased and some coordination between the two sides may be increased. The main potential contradiction in Sino-US bilateral relations may focus on attitudes towards Taiwan.

   In addition, Biden will take over the trade war launched by Trump against China during his tenure. In an interview with The New York Times in December 2020, Biden stated that he would not take any immediate measures to remove tariffs. At the same time, some U.S. officials worry that the violence in the Capitol on January 6 will leave a stain on the United States’ international reputation, and will plunge the U.S. government into competition with China.


“Foreign Policy” pointed out that although Trump himself has an “unexplainable affinity” for Russia, the Trump administration still has a tough hawkish policy aimed at isolating Russia: accusing Russia of interfering in the election and publishing the so-called Russian media Broadcasting false news reports, condemning the conflict with Ukraine, and expanding economic sanctions against Russia. Biden is also expected to continue to maintain a tough US stance on Russia. It is reported that Victoria Nuland and Andrea Kendall-Taylor, who are experienced in dealing with Russia, will hold important positions in the State Council and the National Security Council, respectively.

“On this (US-Russian relations) issue, I don’t think the Biden administration will encounter difficulties.” During the tenure of former President George W. Bush, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs and retired diplomat Daniel F. Reid (Daniel Fried) said.

   It is reported that Biden will face a series of national security issues involving Russia. Less than two weeks after he took office, the “New START” signed by the United States and Russia is about to expire, but so far, Biden and Russian President Putin have expressed their willingness to extend the treaty. In addition, there are also conflicts between Russia and the United States on cybersecurity issues. The United States strives to oppose the Russian-led “Beixi-2” submarine gas pipeline project, as well as Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny ( Alexei Navalny) Follow-up treatment of suspected poisoning incidents.

   “Start over” with Iran

Although Biden promised to resume diplomatic relations with Iran, since the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement in 2018, the U.S.-Iranian confrontation has intensified. In addition, Iran has recently taken actions to substantially increase the abundance of enriched uranium to 20%. The measures have plunged the Iranian nuclear issue into a deeper quagmire. “Foreign Policy” commented that the Iran nuclear agreement has been “dying,” and the restoration is not just about returning to the agreement.

   On January 15, the Trump administration announced a new round of sanctions against Iran, which further aggravated the tension between the United States and Iran in the last few days of his term. Biden wrote in a column for CNN in September 2020 that he would provide Iran with a “credible way to restore diplomatic relations.” “Foreign Policy” pointed out that Iran’s current enriched uranium amount is 12 times that allowed by the nuclear agreement, which will give the country a greater bargaining chip at the negotiating table.

   Some former officials predict that Biden may use the removal of some of the “extreme pressure” sanctions during Trump’s period as a bargaining chip to obtain more concessions from Iran.

   End the endless war?

   Like his predecessor, Biden also promised that he will end the “eternal war”, which refers to the end of the U.S. military operations in the Middle East that have been costly and lasted for nearly 20 years. But like Trump and Obama, there is a big difference between promising to end the war and actually ending it.

   “These endless wars must end”, Biden expressed his support for the withdrawal of troops in September 2020. “Foreign Policy” pointed out that Trump still left Biden with an unstable Middle East. Less than a week before Biden was sworn in, Acting Secretary of Defense Miller announced that the US military had reduced the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500, bringing the US military in Iraq to its lowest level since 2001. Miller said that the United States will continue to carry out counter-terrorism missions in these two countries, but if conditions permit, the United States can reduce the number of troops to zero by May.

  Extend an olive branch to Europe

   After four years of Trump’s term, Biden will, to some extent, easily improve relations with Europe. “Foreign Policy” pointed out that after countries witnessed the violence in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, it will be easier to strike at the far right in Europe. However, for many European countries, they may also continue to follow the route previously formulated under Trump’s term to reduce the continent’s dependence on US diplomatic, military and economic influence. “This distrust will not disappear easily,” a senior German official said, “No matter what happens next, the United States is the country that chose Trump.”


   The Trump administration has a close relationship with Saudi Arabia. After the murder of the Saudi journalist Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia and other countries launched military operations against Yemen’s Houthis, many countries have criticized Saudi Arabia for this, but the Trump administration has ignored the opposition of many parties and still supports it on the side of the Saudi government. . The Biden team made it clear that after taking office, it will take a different route from the Trump administration. “We will reassess the relationship between (the US) and Saudi Arabia.” Biden issued a statement in October last year, demanding that the Kashuji case be held accountable and calling on the United States to stop participating in the Yemen conflict.

   Some experts close to the Biden transition team predict that the new US president will cease military support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen and suspend large-scale arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its neighboring United Arab Emirates. However, considering the importance of Saudi Arabia to the United States in terms of geostrategy, it is not clear whether Biden will substantially change US-Saudi relations.


   Under Trump’s leadership, Israel has become a major focus of US foreign policy. During his tenure, Trump cut aid to Palestine, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. All of this shows the close relationship between the Trump administration and Israel. In addition, the Trump administration has successively facilitated Israel and four Arab countries-the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco to reach an agreement to normalize relations.

   The “Foreign Policy” analysis pointed out that the Biden administration may adopt a more neutral and fair stance on the issue of Palestine and Israel. However, despite Biden’s criticism of Trump’s move of the embassy to Jerusalem, Biden has also stated that he has no intention of moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv and will continue to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

   US Secretary of State-designate Blinken said on the 19th that the Trump administration’s policies have made it even more difficult to reach a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, but the “two-state solution” is still the only and appropriate way to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

   North Korea deadlock

   When Biden took office, the talks between the United States and North Korea were in a long-term deadlock. The United States asked North Korea to cancel its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for the United States to lift its sanctions against North Korea. Reuters reported on the 18th that South Korean President Moon Jae-in took the initiative to act as the mediator between the United States and North Korea, saying that he would seek opportunities to raise the North Korean issue as a priority option in the diplomatic field of the Biden administration in order to implement Trump and Kim Jong-un. Agreement reached at the first meeting in Singapore in June 2018.

“Foreign Policy” analyzed and pointed out that the North Korean nuclear issue is still full of challenges for the United States, and whether the Biden administration can continue to build on the progress made by Trump and North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un on US-DPRK relations. Not yet known.

   return to the climate agreement

   Climate policy may be one of the biggest policy changes after Biden took office. For a long time, Trump has been playing down the impact of climate change, revoking a number of US environmental regulations, and getting the US to withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. Biden emphasized that the issue of climate change is an “existential threat of this era,” and has repeatedly stated publicly that on the first day of his appointment, the United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement.

   curb the epidemic

   Within a few days after being elected president in November 2020, Biden announced a team of 13 health consultants to be responsible for and manage the response to the new crown epidemic. In addition, Biden’s transition team told Foreign Policy that after the president-elect takes office, the United States will immediately rejoin the World Health Organization, which Trump previously announced withdrawing during the outbreak.

   At the same time, Biden also proposed a new crown epidemic economic stimulus plan with a total amount of 1.9 trillion US dollars. It is reported that this stimulus package, called the “American Rescue Plan”, covers a wide range and aims to deal with the current dual crisis of the epidemic and the continued deterioration of the economy.


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