Biden pushes past the Trump era

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President-elect Joe Biden is wasting no time choosing his cabinet. Reportedly, his Secretary of State is going to be Antony Blinken which could drastically change America’s foreign policy and put climate change back on the agenda. 

During the Trump administration, the US supported and praised Britain’s exit from the European Union; with the rhetoric of  ‘Make America Great Again’, complimenting  the ‘Take Back Control’ slogan. Moving forward, Blinken’s views offer a stark contrast. He denoted Brexit as a ‘total mess’ in a podcast in March of last year. As well as criticising the ‘generational aspect’ of it, stating, ‘You have so many young Brits who feel like they have had the rug pulled out from under them. And they feel their elders have done something to them that they will regret.’ 

Similar to his disapproval of Brexit, Blinken was one of the most vocal critics of Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy. He argued that ‘big problems’ do not have ‘unilateral solutions’. Over the past four years, we have witnessed America disengage with multiple organisations and agreements. But Blinken has already vowed to re-engage the US in multilateral agreements, including the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal, and the World Health Organization. With this change, we may see a more multilateral and more cooperative US cabinet. 

A further departure from the Trump administration is the overdue acknowledgment of climate change and global warming. Biden and his cabinet do believe in man-made climate change and will ensure that the US re-join the Paris climate agreement. It has been predicted that Biden will sign an executive order within hours of his inauguration to rejoin the accord. Under Trump, the US left in 2017 with the departing- President announcing that Paris was an ‘agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries’, and that was ‘costing the United States a vast fortune.’ With a change of presidency, this neglection for the most pressing and concerning issue of our generation will finally be re-addressed and tackled. 

There will however be some continuation of Trumpian foreign policy. A foreign policy that will endure is the US’s handling of the expansion of China and the human right atrocities that were brought to light earlier this year regarding Uighur Muslims. Mr Blinken has indicated much of his work would focus on corralling allies to stop China’s spreading influence but also working with China on global issues including climate change.

Alongside Blinken, Biden’s national security adviser will be Jake Sullivan. Both Blinken and Sullivan served Biden during the Obama administration and have been described as his ‘brain trust’ on foreign policy. Seemingly, the President-Elect’s intention is to fill his cabinet with officials who served alongside him as Vice President. Biden’s faith in the new potential cabinet is echoed by former President Obama, who stated, ‘You’re seeing a team develop that I have great confidence in.’ He also referred to Blinken as an ‘outstanding, smart, gracious, skilled diplomat, whose well regarded around the world.’

America needs this new change of governance to overturn the disasters of the incumbent. Democrats cannot resign to an acceptance of their current policies. They need to adopt a more radical agenda, reverse the dangerous elements of the Trump administration and promote the change they want to see.  

Sophie Denham

Image source: Wikimedia commons