Democratic tenets to be ‘grounding wire’ of US international coverage

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, February 5

In his first major foreign policy speech, US President Joe Biden made several announcements that marked a sharp departure from the Trump Administration. But the plan to push back at China’s aggression along with allies and partners remained in place but without the unbridled hostility that marked the Trump-Mike Pompeo Administration.

Building on a major review of the Afghan policy and the defence posture of US armed forces, Biden ordered an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia for war against Yemen and indicated a hard line against Russia.

Biden saw value in strong alliances to deter Moscow as also China’s “growing ambitions to rival the US.”

“America’s alliances are our greatest asset, and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and key partners once again,’’ he observed.

Biden spent less time on China than Russia. Though Washington will confront China on economic abuses and counter its aggressive, coercive actions, Biden said, “we are ready to work with Beijing when it’s in America’s interest to do so.’’

This may be because America’s China policy will also undergo a review. But a constant in the Biden-Harris administration — “ the grounding wire of our global policy’’—will be defending freedom, upholding universal rights and treating every person with dignity. “That’s our inexhaustible source of strength.  That’s America’s abiding advantage,’’ underlined Biden.

Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, the US President said he had spoken about them with America’s “closest friends’’ which he identified as Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, NATO, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Biden is yet to telephonically speak with PM Narendra Modi.

Spending a great deal of time on democracy and its related values, Biden said, “all this matters to foreign policy, because when we host the Summit of Democracy to rally the world to push back the authoritarianism’s advance, we’ll be a much more credible partner because of these efforts to shore up our own foundations.’’

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