Return of the United States to liberal leadership
Article – Joseph
Four years after Trump came to power, his imminent departure gave people hope. Biden, an internationalist and institutionalist, will replace the subversive. Unlike Trump, Biden will treat America’s allies more kindly, including respect for free trade. In the security field, he will not threaten allies with “pay or withdraw troops”, multilateralism will once again become the dominant policy, and the United States will return to liberal leadership again.
“Freedom” means an international order based on rules, promoting democracy and open society. Trump not only abandoned the above principles, but also showed a preference for power. Trump pursues the zero-sum game, especially in the trade field. This obviously deviates from the post-war American tradition, which is the win-win positive and positive pattern that the United States has always emphasized. Trump forcibly dragged the world back to the power politics of the 19th century. In his view, there are no eternal friends between countries, only eternal interests.
Biden will lead the U.S. in some form of reconstruction, but be aware that Trump is not a complete anomaly. Before the “Twitter Ruler” came to power, some people in the United States began to believe that “people do not do their own, and heaven and earth will be destroyed”.
Recalling the 2020 Trump order to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from Europe, the Obama administration made the same decision in 2012. In contrast to Trump’s fierce attack on Europe, Obama also complained that “hitchhiking countries are annoying”. It was also he who began to reduce the U.S. military strength in the Middle East, abolished the U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and refused to interfere in Assad’s chemical war in Syria.
When Trump vowed to end the “permanent war” of the United States, he was just imitating Obama. It was his predecessor who began to experiment with neoisolationism, saying that “it is time to focus on domestic construction”. The inversion of American policy does not begin with Trump, nor will it be completely reversed under Biden’s leadership. After all, protectionism that prevents international competition is attractive to both the right and the left.
The Biden administration will not give up competing with China for great powers. The United States will continue to expand in a high-profile way in the western Pacific region, where the confrontation between a rising land power and an established sea power power is escalating. On the Middle East, Biden will work hard to restore the Iran nuclear agreement, and the new government will keep the new anti-Iran alliance between Israel and the Gulf countries unaffected and will not make mistakes again, seeking to restart relations with Russia, as the Obama administration has done.
As Europeans hail Biden’s victory, they should also be prepared to meet the call for the United States to raise defense spending again. For the same reason, Germany expected that the United States would intensify its efforts to obstruct the joint Russian-German “North Stream-2” pipeline project. The project bypassed Eastern Europe and increased Germany’s energy dependence on Russia.
Despite Biden’s presence as anti-Trump, he will continue to pursue the core strategic interests of the United States when it comes to business competition with China, Russia and Europe. However, the Biden administration will bring some welcome changes to the American diplomatic style, replacing Trump’s rudeness with polite and professional attitude.
As in personal life, respect and civilization can make international relations more lasting. Biden will reduce the zero-sum game and increase the positive-sum game. He will focus on the common interests of all parties and restore American leadership by seeking recognition rather than barbaric unilateralism.
With Trump’s “America First” principle, Biden will provide security for other Western countries, but not free lunch. As he wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine, the policy agenda of his cabinet will bring the United States back to the top of the negotiating table. There, “They will not only use our strength as an example, but also see our strength as an example.”
The United States will open up again when Biden’s inauguration arrives in January next year, but the world should be ready for a strong negotiation.