After weeks of comprehension of what he had been left by Donald Trump, American President Biden has lastly put his foreign policy into overdrive. At once striking in several capitals, his plans are in play and cannot be taken back.
Moreover, early results are mixed, expected perhaps, but however, a reality check on the President’s diplomacy now it is out on the open road.
Since his inauguration, Mr. Biden has been shifting up the foreign policy gears, pausing, analyzing before implementing campaign pledges.
In this week, there were sanctions on Russians, the withdrawal of the forces in Afghanistan, and a significant engagement with China on climate control.
Today, President Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan — bringing an end to America’s longest war. pic.twitter.com/qg7oj2uWtW
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 14, 2021
Adversaries in Moscow, allies in Kabul, and putative climate partners in China all got to kick the tires on Joe Biden’s plans. Iran and Saudi Arabia have already road-tested his policies, and the outcomes are rocky.
This week, Russia’s Putin took barely twenty-four hours to repay President Biden’s expulsion of ten Russian diplomats from Washington with ten of US’s from Moscow. Tit for tat, and further may come. Joe Biden’s built-in plan, an off-ramp, is a proposal to the Russian President of an in-person summit this summer. It is too early to know, though, if that will reduce this week’s deterioration.
Putins Reacts on Biden’s calling him a Killer
American President Joe Biden’s problem was that, while he was deciding how Vladimir Putin should pay for interfering in the United States 2020 presidential elections, Russian President Putin was already plotting and implementing his counteractions, a headline-grabbing military build-up on the border with Ukraine.
Indeed, Joe Biden knew tangling with the Russian President would be challenging; the two have history. In 2011 American President said he looked into Putin’s eyes and saw he had no soul. Moreover, last month, Mr. Biden called him a killer. Mr. Putin wished Joe Biden good health, which interprets roughly as a doddering old fool in Russian media-speak.
But even where U.S. President chased low-hanging diplomatic fruit, making one of his first major foreign policy moves resetting the United States relationship with KSA in mid-February, it is already getting some blowback.
As former American President Trump’s leadership wound down, leaving reams of uncoiled foreign policy in its wake, everyone knew Mr. Biden was bringing change; he’d said so. But it is only now, as his policies have broken free of Washington’s beltway, that they are getting their first real-world reality check.
From the chill passages of the Kremlin to the burning desert battlegrounds of Yemen, Joe Biden has made himself topic number one. The desert KSA and its ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was Joe Biden’s first foreign policy target.
In early February 2021, Mr. Biden stated America would end all support for KSA’s offensive operations in Yemen. According to the Saudi and the Yemeni governments, within days, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who seized power from the Yemeni administration in 2014 upped attacks on the government and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Joe Biden was trying to leverage favor in Iran
Sheltering in the shade of a thorn tree a few kilometers from the fragile front line separating his forces from the Houthis, last week, Sagheer bin Aziz, Yemen’s army Chief of Staff General, told CNN Joe Biden’s decision saddened him. He added that they all thought Joe Biden supported security and stability, and peace.
In Riyadh and Yemeni administration strongholds, officials think the US President has got his policy wrong, far from helping an ally; he is allowing Iran, America’s enemy.
Moreover, by revoking the Houthi designation as a foreign terrorist group in his first raft of foreign policy reforms, Mr. Biden has left his allies wondering about his real intent to help Yemenis or make his talks with Iran easier.
According to Moammar al-Eryani, Yemen’s information and culture minister, in Yemen, the real-world effect of dialing back pressure on the Houthis that Joe Biden hoped would ease humanitarian suffering and quicken an end to the war is doing the opposite and helping the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Last week, Moammar al-Eryani told CNN that this was a gift for the Iranian Houthi militia and a wrong message.
Moreover, it is unlikely Mr. Biden was trying to leverage favor in Iran, and if he was, it does not seem to have done him any good.
Biden wants back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
President Joe Biden wants back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, that Donald Trump walked away from in 2018 and Tehran to come back into compliance with its terms. At the same time, Tehran wants American sanctions lifted first.
President Biden initially appeared hopeful. He offered Tehran a tried and tested diplomatic olive branch, modest concessions, lifting travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats to the United Nations (UN) that restricted them to their missions and the UN grounds in New York.
Ultimately Mr. Biden was forced to accept a European Union (EU) offer of mediation leading to proximity talks in Vienna earlier in April. Still, even that momentum may be stalling following a suspected covert Israeli attack on one of Iran’s uranium enrichment locations, the Natanz nuclear facility.
Iran reacted by increasing uranium enrichment to 60 percent, almost twenty times purer than permitted, its top-level since the 2015 nuclear agreement was signed, leaving Joe Biden’s team stressing. Jen Psaki, his spokeswoman, questioned Iran’s seriousness in regards to the nuclear discussions.