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The Biden Doctrine Is Not the Trump Doctrine. But What Is It, Exactly?

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On Tuesday, Biden delivered his first address to the United Nations; its unstated aim was to reassure increasingly dubious allies and continue to make the argument he made early in his presidency: “America is back.” For the president, his maiden address before the international body was framed by a pair of foreign policy crises—the chaotic, high-stakes pull-out from Afghanistan and the ongoing, very French freakout over a deal to sell nuclear submarines to Australia. But one criticism has been lobbed at Joe Biden again and again: He’s just like Donald Trump.

The comparison is wafer thin. Biden defended the withdrawal from Afghanistan in stark terms, saying “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit.” This led many to suggest that he was echoing Trump’s own “America First” agenda. “President Biden, frankly, sounded like President Trump,” in the speech, CNN’s Chris Cuomo said, while a host of news articles noted that Biden seemed to be pursuing his predecessor’s doctrine, or at least a kinder, gentler version of it. When the U.S. scuttled a $66 billion nuclear submarine deal between France and Australia, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reached for the same analogy, telling a radio station “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do.”

But there is, in both cases, a kernel of truth. The Biden administration was savaged for failing to........

© New Republic

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