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Biden’s actions echo Trump’s isolationism and populism

21 62 71
04.10.2021

If the US’s allies thought the era of Trump-style populism was over, the last few weeks have shattered that impression. When he became president, Joe Biden – elected under the premise of being a calm and experienced statesman – declared, “America is back”. But it hasn’t felt like that.

Trump’s term as president was deeply damaging to international relations, with many world leaders finding US policymaking unpredictable at best, and reckless at worst. This was most prominently seen in the random and chaotic way policy decisions were announced via social media, the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scrapping of painstakingly negotiated agreements such as the Iran nuclear deal and the way many previously trusted allies and institutions, such as the EU and NATO, were alienated.

Trump’s policies set the bar very low for his successor to reassert the country’s status as a global superpower. So Biden won early praise for his soothing tones of unity and for returning the US to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Paris Climate Accord, both of which Trump had withdrawn the US from.

However, the Afghanistan debacle has offered a reality check, with Biden’s approach bearing a striking resemblance to his predecessor’s. While US presidents have been looking for a way out of Afghanistan for years, the way Biden handled the withdrawal has belied his reputation for steady competency and inclusive coordination with close partners.

This may be because Biden, like Trump, has heaps of self-confidence – or, as his detractors would more likely have it, an arrogant streak that stops him listening to........

© Al Jazeera


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