The storming of the Capitol and Senate Chambers by Trump supporter in Washington D.C. revealed a fundamental shift in sentiment within the American political sphere. This manifested via a transformation of political rivalry into a struggle for power, as well as a transition of political discourse from one that attempts to shapes public opinion to one that radicalized the support base of each respective party. Moreover, the rise of populism and vindictiveness within the halls of constitutional institutions, especially during the impeachment trial of Trump, dissolved national consensus that previously existed over the majority of domestic and foreign policy issues. Perhaps the most dangerous shift is the loss of confidence of a large segment of the US population in the integrity of the state institutions, due to the results of the latest elections which they deemed fraudulent. Consequently, they believe that their votes were stolen.
This meant that Biden’s victory emerged from the context of severe internal tensions and unprecedented divisions that were not limited to policies alone, but past that to involve some aspects that strike at the very definition of the American identity itself! It was a victory that stands on shaky grounds domestically, making Biden week and incapable of adopting a unified leadership strategy by virtue of the fact that the Republicans are poised to oppose and question his decisions at every level within the senate. They have already begun launching impeachment campaigns against key democratic leaders such as the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, in a fashion similar to that against Trump.
All the above was reflects in Biden’s presidential foreign strategy which was not formulated in a way that builds on its previous trajectory. Rather, it was developed on the basis of breaking completely from the Trump administration strategy, and even removing all traces of it through reversing paths, nullifying agreements, and adopting new contradictory approaches.
It is a policy that will surely cause confusion and turmoil in the performance of the America’s state institutions on the military, intelligence, and diplomatic level. This comes as a result of the failure to rely on a clear and unified strategy in managing international matters and the adoption of contradictory and inconsistent positions within two successive presidential terms.
On the other hand, confidence of US allies in their strong partner is dwindling because of these volatile positions while opponents are exploiting their lack of resolve. The United States has been reluctant to resolve outstanding foreign issues, as they continue to experience difficult internal conflict to a point that there is no longer a consensus on what will “Make America Great Again”!
The United States has, through underestimating the impact of this conflict, allowed its enemies to undermine their positions, ignore their threats, and raise their negotiating terms high. They have gained enough confidence that the political turmoil in the US will continue; thus the next round of confrontations would skew in their favor.
Biden’s speech that reviewed America’s foreign policy was mired with general headlines that do not go beyond declaring intentions of positions. It was filled with contradictions that reflect the state of indecisiveness in handling foreign affairs and managing foreign conflict. He is seen sympathizing with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against the Houthi aggression while simultaneously lifting the label of terrorism off of them. He wants to curb the Iranian expansion, as he provides facilities and seems too eager to reinstate the nuclear deal despite Iran’s breach of almost all aspects of the agreement. He condemns the terrorism of the Syrian regime while at the same time giving it political legitimacy and maintaining it as a key condition for the resolution of the crisis. Biden condemns the military arms of Iran in the Arab region while at the same time does nothing but clear the stage for their aggression. He wishes to spread democracy and support its values while befriending its violators and maintaining the best relationships with them. He supports the establishment of a Palestinian state without the presence of a realistic vision to achieve it, only to avoid pressure of Israel yet satisfy the American voter.
This is called “Remote Control Policy”. It is imposition of will without commitment or risk. It is the policy of distancing one’s self from issues that were core concerns in the past administrations. It is a populist policy that hedges only on the polling numbers and ballot boxes. It’s the same policy of the Cold War run by its same generation who are still running on that old worn out glory.
Between a fractured interior body of politics, and a fragile foreign façade, Americans have forgotten the meaning of being powerful.