Much will certainly change in the world of U.S. foreign policy when Joe Biden enters the White House. There will be a more measured tone, and less reliance upon Twitter to announce U.S. policy. Trump is brusque, as illustrated by the way he shoved aside Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic at the 2017 NATO meeting; Biden might not push and shove his way to the front of the group, but his silvery smile will camouflage as ruthless a set of aims. On foreign policy, Biden will appear to be different from Trump, but the broad outlines of their policy will be identical.
by Vijay Prashad
Part 2 - Why Biden Is Not a Multilateralist
The liberal media portrays Biden as a multilateralist—but the evidence for this speculation on the president-elect’s foreign policy is problematic, to say the least.
Biden wants to rebuild the Western military alliance system that Trump has eroded. An indication of Biden’s enthusiasm was an early phone call to French President Emmanuel Macron, to suggest that the United States is back as a player in Europe. This is not an advance toward a multilateral world order, but rather a return to the old alliance system where the United States (with its Canadian and European allies) attempts to dominate the world system by the use of its military, diplomatic, and economic power.
Further evidence offered for Biden’s multilateralism is his commitment to return the United States to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (or the Iran deal) and the 2016 Paris Agreement.
Why does Biden wish to return the United States to its commitments toward Iran?
Obama entered this deal because the Europeans were desperate for a source of energy after the United States and France destroyed access to Libyan oil in NATO’s 2011 war and hurt access to Russian natural gas because of the Ukraine conflict in 2014. Obama agreed to the Iran deal because the Europeans were desperate, not to line up with the demands of international law; Biden will give the Europeans this gift, welcomed by the Iranian people, in order to cement the Western alliance system. Meanwhile, Biden continues to talk about suffocating the Iranian people.
On climate, during the negotiations that resulted in the Paris deal during Obama’s presidency, the United States watered down the text of the agreement, preventing a truly multilateral deal that would have accepted Western responsibility for a century of fossil fuel use.
Again, there is no major commitment to save the planet in Biden’s pledge to return to the Paris Agreement; the main agenda is to strengthen and subordinate the European countries to the U.S.-led alliance system.