President Biden has promoted what he calls a “foreign policy for the middle class,” which aims to link U.S. domestic and foreign policy. But whether he can recoup America’s role on the world stage remains to be seen.
The U.S. faces a trust gap with traditional allies, who fear America could swiftly change course on commitments in the future. Biden’s longstanding personal relationships with world leaders help bolster his credibility, as does his belief in democracies’ collective influence to set global rules and norms.
Last week, Biden participated in a virtual meeting of Group of Seven (G7) leaders and the Munich Security Conference, where he called for a reinvigorated democratic alliance to address global challenges, despite heightened divisions within Europe. In its closing joint statement, the G7 used Biden’s campaign theme, vowing to “work together to beat COVID-19 and build back better.”
Biden’s priorities vis a vis specific countries include:
- China: Biden aims to use global partnerships to address challenges posed by China. He and other senior officials have stated the U.S. will confront China’s economic abuses and is conducting a thorough review of current policies before taking action on tariffs, trade and sanctions. The administration is expected to coordinate with China on global issues such as climate change and COVID-19 but will continue to respond to China’s human rights abuses and attempts to shape the international system to advance its national interests.
- Russia: Biden will seek to prevent Russia’s attacks on democracy and its suppression of democratic dissent while also advancing a strategic agenda that includes arms control and nonproliferation.
- Middle East: Biden has already changed course dramatically by appointing a Special Envoy to end the war in Yemen, pausing some arms sales, and reassessing troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. Addressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions will also be a high priority.