United States President Joe Biden took office in January promise to trade according to the “America first” approach of his predecessor, Donald Trump, for a foreign policy centered on diplomacy and human rights.
As Biden marks his first 100 days in the White House this week, observers say his administration has taken several steps to achieve that goal – including re-engaging with a number of international organizations and pushing for multilateral cooperation. on global issues, such as climate change.
“Biden’s first 100 days went pretty much as advertised,” said PJ Crowley, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under President Barack Obama.
Crowley highlighted the Biden administration’s hard line on China, its efforts to re-engage with Washington’s European allies and its ongoing negotiations for a return to the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has endorsed. unilaterally withdrawn in 2018, as examples of the change.
But while Biden has an entirely different style from Trump, his foreign policy has not been a “wholesale scolding” of his predecessor, Crowley told Al Jazeera.
This drew criticism from segments of the Democratic Party, who urged Biden to take more progressive positions on a number of issues, including U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, a low ceiling on the admission of refugees to the United States and arms sales to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Here are some of Biden’s major foreign policy actions in his first 100 days:
On April 13, Biden announced that the United States would withdraw all remaining US troops from Afghanistan September 11, the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that precipitated the US invasion of the country.
Biden pushed back the May 1 withdrawal deadline between the Trump administration and the Taliban, and his plan has been hailed by advocates who have long called on the United States to end its so-called “wars forever.” .
But critics questioned whether the pullout would lead to an upsurge in violence, leave the Afghan government poorly equipped to cling to territory and make a peace deal between the government and the Taliban more elusive.
The Biden administration has increasingly made competition with China – and the fight against Beijing’s economic and military assertiveness – a top priority, while promising a more nuanced approach that involves cooperation as far as possible. possible.
While the United States continued to sanction Chinese officials for human rights violations, impose tariffs in an ongoing trade dispute, and regional alliances To counter Beijing, officials in the Biden administration traded beards with their Chinese counterparts at an inaugural meeting in Alaska in March.
In an opening statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced “Deep concerns about China’s actions, especially in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks against the United States and economic coercion against our allies.”
His Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi then accused the United States of “long-armed jurisdiction and repression” and said that many Americans had “little confidence in the democracy of the United States,” an apparent reference to the assault on Capitol Hill. American by pro-Trump rioters in January.
Yet Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a climate summit hosted by the United States last week, indicating leaders are ready to work with each other on some global issues.
Biden’s pledge to reset Trump-era policies on the southern border with Mexico was also ad hoc in the middle a sharp increase in arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers, the vast majority of Central America.
The Biden administration ended Trump’s so-called stay in Mexico policy, which required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico – often in makeshift camps set up along the border – while their requests for asylum American asylum are processed. He also finished The agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras which allowed the American authorities to deport asylum seekers who passed through one of these countries on their way to the United States and to return them.
Nevertheless, the Biden administration keep using Title 42, a Trump-era public health policy that allows authorities to deport most migrants at the border during the COVID-19 pandemic, although Biden exempted unaccompanied minors.
Biden was also quickly reprimanded for announcing that he would not keep his election promise to lift the historically low Trump-era refugee admission ceiling of 15,000. After a widespread reaction, the administration announced that it would announce a higher cap on May 15.
The Biden administration has twice sanctions imposed against Russia, first for the alleged poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and then for a series of allegations, including interference in the American elections and the hacking of a whole series of US federal agencies.
Biden also took a more confrontational tone with Russian President Vladimir Putin for his crackdown on dissent and the buildup of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, including confirming that he thought Putin was a “killer” in an interview in March.
Biden has offered to meet with Putin for a summit in a European country in the coming weeks, although it remains unclear whether that meeting will take place.
In February, the Biden administration announced a end American support for offensive operations carried out by a Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as well as for any “relevant arms sales”. The United States has not provided concrete details on how this will work, however.
Biden officials push for diplomatic solution to end more than six years of war in Yemen, which led to a serious humanitarian crisis, and in its early days, the Biden administration survey a Trump-era designation of the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), which observers say could hamper aid deliveries.
Saudi Arabia and UAE
Before being elected, Biden pledged to “reassess” US-Saudi relations.
While Biden’s approach to the Gulf Kingdom signals a change from Trump, who has unequivocally backed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his administration has also come under fire for failing to sanction MBS after an intelligence report American. directly related him to the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Biden has also been criticized for proceed with a $ 23 billion Trump-era arms sale to the UAE, also a member of the coalition fighting in Yemen. The sale includes F-35s, drones and other advanced equipment that critics say could put Yemeni civilians further at risk.
Biden also called for a return to the Iran nuclear deal, a deal made under the administration of his former boss Obama, who saw Tehran cut its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Trump withdrew from the deal, which Saudi Arabia and Israel opposed, in 2018 and instead imposed a campaign of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.
Tehran and Washington were stuck in a deadlock over who will take the first step in reverting to the deal, but indirect talks in Vienna, which include the other parties to the agreement – the UK, France, Germany, the EU, China and Russia – are underway.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Biden administration has reported perhaps the greatest openness to maintaining the policies of the Trump era.
While Biden has renewed funding from the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), he also made it clear that he would not reverse Trump’s relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem or his recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the heights of Occupied Syrian Golan.
Biden administration officials also said they plan to rely on broker Trump standardization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, which drew condemnation from the Palestinians.