Biden’s implementation of strategy may pose problems with allied nations

The U.S. strategy to dominate in its struggle for hegemony with China and maintain the international order, with strengthening cooperation with allies at the core, is right on the mark.

To achieve the most it can, however, it is essential for the United States to give consideration to the interests of its allies and friendly nations, and to repeatedly hold in-depth discussions with them.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. President Joe Biden explained the basic U.S. foreign policies.

He stressed the need for the international community to work together to deal with the threat of infectious diseases and climate change, and called for respect for universal values such as human rights. His speech has clearly revealed again a shift from former President Donald Trump’s “America first” policy to international cooperation.

Biden also emphasized the need to rebuild alliances shaken under the previous Trump administration. There is no doubt that the establishment of AUKUS, a new framework for security cooperation involving the United States, Britain and Australia, and the advancement of the Quad comprising Japan, the United States, Australia and India, will contribute to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

But there are also questions about Biden’s approach to policy implementation.

The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has been marked by a lack of coordination with allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that had been engaged in activities together in that country. It must be said that much of the confusion in Afghanistan after U.S. troops left has been caused by the hasty withdrawal operation.

The main facet of AUKUS is that Canberra will receive support from Washington and London to introduce nuclear submarines to its fleet. However, France reacted furiously after Australia scrapped a deal with France to jointly build submarines. Claiming that Australia had not briefed France in advance on the scrapping of the submarine contract, France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia.

The rift between Washington and Paris is reaching a level that is not normally seen among allies. NATO could be adversely affected. The Biden administration needs to make efforts to restore relations as soon as possible.

Biden avoided criticizing China by name in his U.N. speech, saying that the United States is “not seeking a new Cold War.”

Needless to say, it is undesirable for military tension between the United States and China to increase. Cooperation among the major powers is also essential in creating rules for cyberspace and outer space.

On the other hand, it should be noted that many previous U.S. administrations sought to bring about positive change in China through an engagement policy, but they failed to produce the expected results.

It is important for the United States and its allies to enhance deterrence so that China, which is expanding its military build-up, does not mistakenly perceive that it is possible to coercively change the status quo.

Regarding North Korean issues, Biden said that the United States seeks sustained diplomacy to pursue “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The goal should be North Korea’s denuclearization. Biden needs to be careful that he has not given Pyongyang any room for misunderstandings by having said “the Korean Peninsula” rather than “North Korea.”

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sept. 23, 2021.