Outgoing US POTUS Donald Trump might have lost United States Presidential Elections but he has ensured the President-elect Joe Biden will have to follow his foreign policy. And it will be hard for Biden to undo the policy decisions of Trump administration ranging from the Middle East, China, India, Taiwan, Tibet & beyond.
A year before American missiles had eliminated Iranian major general of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qassem Soleimani & in november Iranian Nuclear Scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by remote controlled weapon. Iran retaliated by firing 22 ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had termed this as “Fierce Revenge”. And this has sparked fears of retaliation by Trump administration before Biden takes office. And this spoil’s Biden intention for any rapprochement with Iran on 2015 nuclear deal. In Middle East Biden will continue to push Abraham Accords after normalization of ties between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. He will ensure further pacts are signed between Saudi Arabia & Israel further.
In Afghanistan & Iraq the incumbent Trump administration has decided to withdraw 2,500 troops & entered into interim arrangement with Taliban to end its war against the government in Kabul. The depleted US force in troubled regions faces risk of increased attack going forward. And the hawkish military advisors of Biden who would have hoped for greater commitments from Taliban would be inclined to stick to the U.S.-Taliban deal
In November Tibetan govt-in-exile President Lobsong Sangay visited White House for the first time and met US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Robert Destro. The development acknowledges legitimacy of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) & its political head based in Dharamsala. And month later the incumbent President signed the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 into law, thereby reaffirming US support to His Holiness Dalai Lama. The newly enacted bill has asked Chinese government to stop meddling with the spiritual traditions and practises of Tibetian Buddhism and also stated China not to interfere with His Holiness Dalai Lama’s reincarnation and install its own candidate as Panchen Lama. Also the bill outlined to protect the environment and water resoruces of Tibetian plateau & also mandates for the establishment of United States Consulate in Lhasa. And in the event of non compliance by dragon the bill states not to authorize any new Chinese consulate in the United States.
On 28th December 2020 the Trump administration incorporated Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020, which supports the deepening of U.S.-Taiwan ties on the basis of the Taiwan Relations Act (1979). According to act Taiwan is entitled for US$2.3 trillion government spending package that incorporates provisions supporting Taiwan’s defense capacity to enhance its asymmetric capabilities, including undersea warfare and air defense capabilities for the free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and its participation in the United Nations, the World Health Assembly, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Criminal Police Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and other international organizations.
Both the bills on Tibet & Taiwan received bipartisan support of the Congress and Biden would be forced to carry on the foreign policy of Trump of questioning the one policy of China which states Taiwan and Tibet as its integral part.
In June Trump has ordered withdrawl of 12,000 troops from Germany and this measure caused strain in the NATO alliance. With Biden deciding to review this decision and revive strained US-European alliance. With the COVID impacting world economies it would take time for NATO to return to normalcy under Biden administration as allies may find it impossible to meet American demands for defense spending.
To counter the growing dominance of Huawei in 5G arena, the incumbent President has barred vendors worldwide from using U.S. technology to produce components for Huawei.The dominant Chinese provider of 5G technology will get no respite in the Biden administration as the latter will work with European Union to create a “Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council” to set joint standards with the U.S. on new technologies.The global alliance will counter China’s tech offensive. And Biden has stated in his foreign policy for US to get tough on intellectual property theft and state subsidies that give China an “unfair advantage.
With respect to Russia, Biden has promised to take stern actions against Russia by slapping financial sanctions for the cyberattacks. An in retaliation he has promised to knock out Russian phone and internet networks. And once he assumes office he will need support of European Union who are unlikely to support the move as they are dependant on Russian energy supplies.
Biden administration is also likely to continue the Trump foreign policy with respect to South Korea, affirming to continue defense relations and resolve North Korea issue through multilateral diplomatic approach.
The formation of Asian NATO popularly called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad, which brings together India, Australia, Japan and the US, is an outcome of today’s multi-polar world. The four countries have come together to address issues of mutual interest such as maritime security, tackling counter terrorism, building alternative supply chains etc. To counter Chinese belligerence expansionist behaviour & for working towards free & open Indo Pacific, India had organized the Malabar exercise in which the navies of four countries participated. Biden has assured Japaneese Premier Yoshihide Suga that America will defend islands in the East China sea and will continue the “Trump Era Indo-Pacific policy”.
The Biden administration understands the critical role of India in building comprehensive strategic partnership in formalizing QUAD in future. And India will lead the QUAD in countering the threat from China. The bipartisan consensus that existed during Trump administration got India closer to United States as strategic partner, which led to signing of defense cooperation pacts like Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA),Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), Industrial Security Annex (ISA), high tech arms sales agreements and joint military exercises. And in the Indo-China clashes at Galwan, Americans provided intelligence to track Chinese positions and publicly condemned Chinese actions. The above stated factors state that Biden administration will not reverse any actions of Trump administration.
Biden administration will have to be cautious in dealing with Pakistan and they will need to ensure that rogue nation status quo under Financial Action Task Force (FATF) remains for supporting terror financing and money laundering. Today Bill introduced in U.S. House to terminate designation of Pakistan as Major non-NATO ally.
And we need to see how India can continue maintain it’s strategic relations vis-a-vis Iran & Russia in the new regime under Biden. In the nutshell Donald Trump has already set the foreign policy of Biden administration and its very little the new regime can do to undo the initiative as the American strategic interest as national interests are what determine foreign policies of nations, not personal bonds and relations between leaders.