Some of the most significant foreign policy commitments Joe Biden made the following commitments during his 2020 campaign:
- To end what he called the “eternal wars” in Afghanistan and the Middle East
- Uphold democratic values at home and abroad, including a pledge to host a global summit for democracy
- To improve diplomacy, rebuild the State Department
- Restoring historic partnerships and strengthening NATO
- Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement
- Seeking an extension of the New START treaty, which limits the strategic nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia
- To re-enter and “strengthen” and extend the nuclear deal with Iran
President Biden began rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office. Although he has revived US diplomatic leadership on combating climate change, implementing legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has proven more difficult.
Mr. Biden has extended the New START nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia as promised. He also ran the hosting of a global summit for democracy, although there has been criticism over which countries have been invited.
President Biden promised during his campaign to end the “eternal wars” in the Middle East. Although he withdrew US troops from Afghanistan, the manner in which this was carried out was heavily criticized. The US combat mission in Iraq ended in December 2021, but 2,500 troops remain available to advise Iraqi forces, although they are also providing assistance in airstrikes against what remains of Islamic State.
On trade, President Biden has maintained President Trump’s strong line on China but eased some of the trade restrictions imposed on America’s allies like the EU and Japan.
The Biden administration has put more emphasis on multilateralism and renewed efforts to work with the NATO alliance and the G7. However, the slow pace of his appointments to key ambassadorial posts like London has drawn criticism.
President Biden vowed to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. Negotiations with Iran, which is no longer complying with parts of the agreement after President Trump again imposed sanctions on the country, are ongoing but have not brought any major breakthrough so far. If all sides fail to agree on a deal, the US could soon be forced to find other ways to prevent Iran from acquiring irreversible nuclear knowledge that renders the deal meaningless.
The US announced that it would form a new security and defense partnership with Australia and Britain, “AUKUS”, which would, among other things, help Australia produce nuclear-powered (but unarmed) submarines. However, this arrangement caused a major diplomatic row with France, which was already tasked with delivering a submarine program for Australia.
President Biden faces great challenges. At the moment, above all, the crisis in Ukraine, where Russia has built up considerable military forces on the border.