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BIDEN’S POLICY UNDER EXAMINATION BY THE COMPARATIVE CREDIBILITY EQUATION.

Source: Dr. Bassem Sidani – Strategic Political Analyst : Dr Bassem Sidani Papers and Analysis

President Biden, there is a famous rule among adversaries: they compare statements with actions, to detect lies, maneuvers, and all the negotiable proposals on the table.

Sometimes, understanding and interpreting the game, requires joining the game. Therefore, all the statements of the Biden Administration should be closely examined by comparing them to the concrete actions that it takes, and, undoubtedly, with the reactions that they may incur since the opponents’ reactions often reveal the hidden terms within the announced proposals or the sensitive points and red lines in negotiated terms.

Therefore, based on the above-mentioned comparative credibility equation, President Biden’s inaugural speech should be considered a key reference in identifying his administration’s concerns, priorities, and guidelines.

President Biden’s inauguration speech addressed the medical and economic level as a priority: facing the Corona pandemic was at the top of his concerns, followed by the high unemployment rate and the rate of closure of institutions.

On the social level, President Biden listed what he thinks are the threats affecting the American society: political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, which, collectively or individually, constitute a fundamental threat to the unity of American society.

On the foreign policy level, President Biden declared that he intends to rebuild American alliances and re-engage with the international community again, using a different approach from that of his predecessor and based on leadership through the American example, not the strength of the American example, as he stressed.[1]

The first tangible actions of the Biden Administration could be observed through the first batch of executive orders which validated the president’s stated intention to address the effects of COVID-19[2], the economic crisis[3], and social rifts.[4]

The speed with which these executive orders were issued is a strong indicator of the severity and urgency of the crises that have struck American society. These crises have a huge impact on a variety of files having to do with US policy and strategy imparting on them huge restrictions, obstacles, and poor efficiency. Economic crises and domestic policy problems can, undoubtedly, disrupt the effectiveness of the foreign policy.

There is consensus that foreign policy is one of the basic indicators of the political effectiveness of any country. President Biden defined in his inauguration speech the outlines of the foreign policy of his administration consisting of restoring alliances and re-engaging with the international community.

In a supplementary speech from State Department Headquarters, President Biden presented his vision of the scene in international politics. He identified the most important files that his administration is concerned with at the international and regional levels. He put forward a multi-layered roadmap for interacting with all the threats and crises facing his administration.

Biden’s ranking of international opponents matches that of his predecessor, he considers:

  • China as a model for supporting authoritarianism and believes it has growing ambitions to rival the United States.
  • Russia to remain determined to destroy and disrupt American democracy.

Despite adopting the same ranking, President Biden set himself apart with his call to leadership with diplomacy, something which requires high flexibility in dealing with opponents and/or competitors diplomatically, as long as this would achieve one’s goals.

In the implementation of his invitation to lead with diplomacy, the Biden Administration hastened to sign with Russia an agreement to extend the validity of the “New Start” treaty for a period of five years, something he justified on the grounds of preserving nuclear stability.

On the other hand, and in a preventive political maneuver anticipating the expected republican attacks and accusations, President Biden stepped up his tone in the face of Russia, in order not to be accused of backing away from confronting it and stated that he would not be silent about any hostile actions from Russia in matters like interfering in the US elections, cyber-attacks, and Russia’s way in dealing with the Russian opposition, such as poisoning the opposition’s leaders.

Moreover, he addressed Russia with a threatening tone saying he would not hesitate to make it pay a heavy price.

It is noteworthy that President Biden, in the same context, considered that collaboration and coordination with allies to be a deterministic factor for the efficiency of his policy regarding dealing with Russia.

Also at the international level, President Biden described China as the most serious competitor, he listed the challenges and threats it poses and affirmed his determination to confront Chinese economic violations and its aggressive and coercive actions in response to its attack on what he called human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.

It is also noteworthy that President Biden linked his promised confrontation to his success in strengthening internal affairs inside the US and with working with partners and reactivating America’s role in international institutions to restore what he called its credibility and moral authority.

In international relations, President Biden’s wills and intentions do not count unless associated with tangible actions.

In case of Russia, President Biden camouflaged his resumption of the strategic treaty NEW START by swapping one of the riskiest file, the nuclear and strategic balance, with a bunch of long-term cold files.

President Biden also opened a back door to justify the potential future inconsistencies between his anti-Russian tone and his pragmatic actions: he linked the efficiency of the policy towards Russia to working in alliances and coordination with like-minded partners, referring mostly to European partners.

Knowing that the Europeans and Russia have many unresolved disputes related to energy pipelines, energy supplies and the expansion of the European Union membership that have reached Russia’s “Near Abroad”. These disputes have shown, repeatedly, that Russia is never receptive to the pressure game, which led the two parties to a mutual understanding to embrace negotiations and diplomacy. Consequently, Biden’s tactic of consulting and coordinating with the Europeans provides him with a space to justify a policy of de-escalation at the domestic and international levels.

The second case that President Biden presented in his speech at the international level was facing the Chinese economic violations, but in his handling of this confrontation, he mentioned steps and preparations that are required to be subject to scrutiny.

He mentioned that he had signed an economic rescue plan to extricate the United States from its economic crisis.

He also said that an executive order had been signed to encourage the purchase of American goods.

Moreover, Biden set two basic conditions for confronting China: the first is to raise the competitiveness of American business at the international level, and the second is to work to address international trade rules so that they are not used against him.

These steps and conditions hold an explicit and warning confession: the American economy is suffering from a massive economic crisis especially in the competitiveness area.

It is worth noting here that the Center for Economic and Business Studies, in its report on the economic performance of countries for the year 2021, indicated weaknesses in the American economy, which prompted the authors of the report to prepone their expectation, mentioned in the 2020 report, that China will take the position of the American economy in the year 2035 changing that date to the year 2028, i.e., five years earlier, due to the development of the Chinese economy. [5]

Therefore, Biden stated his intention to confront the Chinese economic violations, but after a long period of time to achieve the conditions that he set for the success of the confrontation, which means that his speech does not match his capabilities.

In conclusion, Biden’s speech at the international level came within a delusional context, given his realistic potential in the face of opponents such as Russia and China.

In the second part of his speech, President Biden announced a Global review of US army troops’ deployment in order to align it with foreign policy and national security priorities. President Biden initiated his so-called correctional course by stopping a planned troop withdrawal from Germany.

Biden also called for stepping up diplomatic efforts to end the war in Yemen in collaboration with the United Nations. For this end, Biden announced the nomination of Tim Lenderking as special envoy to push for a diplomatic resolution. Accordingly, Biden announced halting relevant arms sales — for Saudis — to push for a cease of offensive operations in Yemen.

At the same time, President Biden considered that Saudi Arabia is facing the threat of missile attacks, UAV strikes and other threats from Iran-backed forces originating from multiple countries. Consequently, Biden assured America would continue helping Saudi Arabia to defend itself.

Applying comparative credibility equation on Biden’s-claimed correctional course reveals other motivations behind his calls:

The United States military bases in Germany served U.S. military interventions on multiple stages in Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa. Mind that the Trump’s administration decision to withdraw from Germany, which, at that time, was justified by feeble pretexts that Germany did not pay its share in funding NATO’S operations, was actually meant to steer Germany away from natural gas deals with Russia.

In the same context, Biden’s steps and call to end the war on Yemen, under humanitarian clichés, will reverberate on the new geopolitical scene in the Middle East.

Ending the war on Yemen will help the Saudis, Biden’s close ally. On the other hand, ending Yemen war will establish Houthi’s as a political and armed entity, commanded by Iran, in the Yemeni political scene.

Furthermore, Biden Administration removed Houthi’s from America’s sanctions list to pave the way to a possible deal in Yemen or elsewhere. Additionally, Biden insisted repeatedly on cooperation with European partners. Meanwhile, Europeans were the loudest voice inviting Washington to come back to the nuclear deal with Iran.

In consequence, the so-called “cooperation with the Europeans” is merely a feeble pretext to justify Washington’s return to the negotiations’ track with Iran.

President Biden’s decision to re-engage in negotiations and to delve in international relations, aimed at bringing America back to lead on international politics, as he literally stated.[6] The aforementioned return was not driven by the love of peace and prosperity for the Middle East but rather by President Biden’s acknowledgment of the implications of Russia and China growing influence in the Middle East.

President Biden is serving as the head of an administration, which, for long decades, kept the Iranian network of influences under close supervision. Biden Administration came with a new approach serving the same strategic goals as those of the Trump Administration,  which launched the “fragmentation process” known as the “deal of the century”, with one dominant strategic goal of establishing Tel-Aviv as an accepted regional agent. President Biden’s diplomatic re-engagement approach, compelled by the new balance of power, aims at re-drawing the map of influences. All of the factors mentioned above will make Biden’s presidency riddled with uncertainty and secret deals to weaken his opponents with soft power.

[1] Inaugural Address by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. January 20, 2021,Speeches and Remarks, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/01/20/inaugural-address-by-president-joseph-r-biden-jr/

[2] Executive Order on Organizing and Mobilizing the United States Government to Provide a Unified and Effective Response to Combat COVID-19 and to Provide United States Leadership on Global Health and Security, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-organizing-and-mobilizing-united-states-government-to-provide-unified-and-effective-response-to-combat-covid-19-and-to-provide-united-states-leadership-on-global-health-and-security/

[3]  Fact Sheet: President Biden’s New Executive Actions Deliver Economic Relief for American Families and Businesses Amid the COVID-19 Crises, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/22/fact-sheet-president-bidens-new-executive-actions-deliver-economic-relief-for-american-families-and-businesses-amid-the-covid-19-crises/

[4]  Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government , https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-advancing-racial-equity-and-support-for-underserved-communities-through-the-federal-government/

[5] The Centre for Economics and Business Research, world economic league table 2021,p11https://cebr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/WELT-2021-final-23.12.pdf

[6] Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World, FEBRUARY 04, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/02/04/remarks-by-president-biden-on-americas-place-in-the-world/

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