Biden’s foreign policy challenges

There are a growing number of global conflicts, and the geopolitical situation appears to become increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. As a sign of a world gone mad, Iran, with its horror regime and an active sponsor of terrorism, has just assumed the chairmanship of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council.  

Biden arrived at the presidential foreign policy stage in 2021 with his predecessors reluctant to engage in international affairs. Obama being an inactive, hands-off globalist, avoiding conflicts, followed by Trump, fiercely nationalistic, a protectionist, but willing to deter and threaten to keep peace. Biden has struggled with his foreign policy direction from the start. Trying to continue Obama’s appeasement policy towards Iran has resulted in billions in support but created a more aggressive and assertive Iran. Biden’s sudden and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan open the door for the Taliban to return to power, leaving millions in despair, in particular women.

However, the Biden presidency is overshadowed by the conflicts in Ukraine and in Gaza. According to Biden, Ukraine and Israel, both democracies under attack, deserve the full measure of U.S. support. In his world view, only the U.S. can rally the world to the cause of democracy in the crusade against authoritarianism. Ultimately, though, a president must align foreign policy actions with his domestic democratic voter base. This works well with Ukraine and Biden is seen as a savior, helping the helpless Ukrainians. The main issue for Biden is the republicans, who are increasingly hesitant to keep sending billions to Ukraine without any transparency and accountability. Ukraine is notoriously corrupt, and it is unclear how all the billions are channeled through in the Ukrainian system.

The endless spending in Ukraine is also problematic given growing domestic problems in the U.S. linked to poverty, crimes, immigration, and homelessness. Many Americans question why tax money is being sent abroad when the need at home is desperate. Also, few understands Biden’s NATO eastward expansion obsession. This idea will undoubtedly trigger Russia and create tension and conflicts. Biden will keep trying to get billions to Ukraine so the conflict can continue, but it will clearly be more complicated in 2024. The republicans are trying to link Ukraine funding to the southern border and the Biden administration’s open border policy. The republicans seem to indicate that if there is a new democratic immigration policy and a new border policy, then they would be willing to send more money to Ukraine.

The argument for more funding to Ukraine will be further scrutinized in 2024 given that U.S elections are coming up. The focus will increasingly turn to domestic problems and Biden will have difficulties to continue justifying his spending. At some point, the U.S. must try to focus more on a diplomatic solution, de-escalation, and peace.

In the Middle East, the situation is even more complex for Biden. Since the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7th, the U.S. has wholeheartedly supported Israel’s bombings of the Gaza strip. The Palestinian death toll is exciding 17,000, mostly civilians, many women and children, and the questions is when Israel will stop the bombings. Biden has proclaimed that there must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory. Biden has suggested that the Gaza strip should be unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.

The war in Gaza is deeply unpopular with progressives, young people and other segments of the democratic coalition. According to many in the democratic party, the Palestinians are the eternal victims while Israel is the colonizing oppressor, headed by the apartheid regime of Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden will have a difficult time to deal with the increasingly strong voices within his party and he will most likely start demanding a ceasefire and if possible, a peace agreement. Biden cannot afford to lose major voting blocs of the democratic party and will likely start voicing opposition to Israel’s continued bombardments. Terrorists must be defeated, but killing civilians is not acceptable. The war is also raising the question of a potential two-state solution. Israel and Palestine. Is that even realistic?

Biden will have his hands full in 2024. He is at a critical juncture and needs to show that he is more of a moderate and a peacemaker. Despite his questionable first-term record, poor approval ratings and old age, he still has a chance to win a second term. In 2924, Biden might try to find a solution in Ukraine instead of continuing a costly U.S. proxy war. In the Israel-Hamas war, Biden will likely try to distance himself from Netanyahu and instead working for a peaceful solution. Even if Hamas has to be defeated, civilian Palestinians have to be spared. Biden will most likely try to appease his own democratic party by showing a less Israeli-friendly stance. It will undoubtedly be a challenging foreign policy year for Biden.

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