Can Biden return America to the role of 'big brother' in the world? 3

Can Biden return America to the role of 'big brother' in the world? 3

Despite the mounting crises at home, Biden is expected to work actively to return the US to a leadership role on the international stage.

A decade ago, US Vice President Joe Biden walked into a reception room in Athens to meet the president of Greece, a country at that time mired in debt and locked in tense negotiations with the European Union.

`This person represents the Treasury Department,` Biden told the Greek president, introducing a member of his delegation.

The whole room burst into laughter.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill (right) at Andrews Air Force Base on January 19.

When Biden was sworn in as US President on January 20 and pledged to `restore our alliances and engage the world again`, many people abroad wondered if they could see each other again soon.

In capitals from Europe to Asia, diplomats and foreign policy experts wonder whether the United States can assume the global leadership role it once had, when Washington is so divided, weak and vulnerable.

However, there is reason to believe that President Biden will appear more and be more active than expected, even as he has to deal with the pandemic, make efforts to restore the economy and resolve the deep division after the pandemic.

`This is a man who has spent 40 years getting to know foreign leaders around the globe,` said Peter Westmacott, who lived next door to Biden when he was British ambassador to Washington under President Barack Obama.

Wolfgang Ischinger, former German ambassador to the US, said he expected Biden to use his personal relationships to mend relationships with European allies that were fractured under Trump.

`Joe Biden is a master of connection and he will easily restore that broken trust,` said Ischinger, who runs the Munich Security Forum.

Ischinger’s immediate goal is to convince the new US President to participate in this important annual conference.

In his inaugural address, Biden said that `the world is watching` America.

Biden will likely have an official debut at the G7 leadership group meeting in the UK next June.

Come fall, Biden plans to participate in the G20 meeting in Rome and the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where he can present his decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement.

In addition to the above schedules, many experts believe that Biden’s recent appointment decisions have painted a picture of a `non-introspective` White House under his watch.

The selection of Kurt M. Campbell for senior coordinator of Asia policy could herald a tough line on China, along with efforts to reassure allies Japan and South Korea.

`Biden chose someone who is knowledgeable and committed to strategic competition,` said Thomas Wright, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution.

Some experts argue that the Capitol Hill riots have undermined America’s traditional role as a champion of democracy, and that mounting domestic crises will leave Biden with little time to reflect.

`Ambitious foreign policy goals are completely inconsistent with the reality of America’s domestic economic and political turmoil,` Emma Ashford, a senior member of the Atlantic Council research organization, wrote in the above post.

But Wrigth countered that it is threats to democracy at home that will strengthen the Biden administration’s resolve to fight actions that the US considers `human rights violations` abroad.

Experts point out that America’s major domestic priorities, such as the pandemic, are also global challenges.

Can Biden return America to the role of 'big brother' in the world?

Biden, when he was US vice president, shook hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center) at the White House in 2011. Photo: NYTimes.

It is too early to accurately predict the foreign policy of the Biden administration, but experts believe that his long experience working in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee makes it difficult for Biden to miss the opportunity to lead the field.

As vice president, Biden actively built relationships with world leaders.

`I don’t want to hear things like I’m exaggerating the importance of my relationship with him,` Biden once said.

Biden is famous for always being willing to talk frankly with foreign leaders about his views, sometimes with harsh criticism, while still maintaining good relationships.

Experts say that conversations with foreign leaders as president will certainly be completely different when Biden is still vice president.

`You know, when I was a senator, I could be myself,` Biden told reporters at the time. `I could talk about my views. But now, anything I say is fine.`

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