America is back. That was Joe Biden's message to the world when he was declared the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Pledging to repair the United States' ties with its allies and restore the spirit of global peace and cooperation in the world, amid the ongoing pandemic, President Biden recommitted to the essence of Washington's foreign policy, which has been to protect American interests, security and virtues such as democracy around the world.
But this might be easier said than done as the U.S. might not enjoy the unrivaled power it once had, as Biden faces a drastically different world compared to the heydays of globalization and liberal democracy.
We discuss the challenges ahead for the Biden government with Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute who was a special assistant to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
We also welcome James Kim, director and senior research fellow at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies.
Doug: Joe Biden has a lot on his plate. The past decade has seen the rise of ultranationalism and division in the world, and as America under Trump retreated from its leadership role, autocratic leaders and regimes have been expanding their spheres of influence. While Trump may have dealt with foreign threats in a rather unorthodox manner, Obama was criticized for being rather passive when it came to dealing with autocratic leaders and regimes, including North Korea. It was also under Obama administration officials like Anthony Blinken and Jake Sullivan that America became involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, among other wars. What do you think Biden should learn from his predecessors and what do you think his signature foreign policy style should be?
James: Joe Biden promised to put America back at the head of the table in the face of global challenges. Do you think U.S. leadership will be as powerful as it was before, or will it need help, particularly from middle power countries like those in Europe and South Korea?
Doug: Trump's admiration of Russian President Vladmir Putin raised a lot of eyebrows over the past four years. Trump did not condemn Moscow for its nerve agent attack in London, nor did he stand by what his own intelligence officers told him. Many believe the Kremlin were behind the massive cyber-attack last month on U.S. government agencies. Do you think the cyber-attack was conducted by Russia, and if so, what message are they sending with this? How tough do you think Biden will be, and how tough should he be on the Kremlin?
4. James: Many expect China to be Biden's greatest foreign policy challenge. Tensions between the U.S. and China have put many countries in a sticky situation, as they try to balance their security alliance with Washington while maintaining their trade relations with China. What do you hope to see from the Biden administration, as countries including South Korea muddle through this geopolitical instability?
5. Doug: There are also a lot of questions on how Biden will deal with the Middle East. From ripping up the nuclear deal with Iran to empowering the Saudi royals, many have blamed Trump for worsening instability in the region and increasing the power of non-Arab states like: Iran, Israel, and Turkey, and empowering Iran. What are the biggest changes you anticipate Biden's administration will bring to the Middle East?
6. James: While it's been quite clear that North Korea won't be at the top of Biden's agenda, his key security and foreign policy officials are those who are experienced in dealing with the North. How do you think they would approach the denuclearization issue?
7. Doug: Under Biden appointed officials like Anthony Blinken, Kurt Campbell and Jake Sullivan, are you optimistic about progress on dealing with North Korea? Will they be receptive to President Moon's efforts to restart denuclearization talks?
8. James: Trump and Moon Jae-in clearly lacked chemistry. How do you think Biden will get on with the South Korean president and do you see the U.S. leader trying to improve Seoul's ties with Tokyo?
That was Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute who was special assistant to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and James Kim, director and senior research fellow at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies. Thank you for your time.