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Biden’s Rough Start With the World
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about his racial equity agenda in the State Dining Room of the White House on January 26, 2021 in Washington, DC
Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Biden’s Rough Start With the World

Walter Russell Mead

It hasn’t been the most promising start. Less than a month into Joe Biden’s presidency, and his administration is already engaged in spats with China, Russia and Iran. It is also discovering that U.S. allies are not quite as happy with Mr. Biden’s Feb. 4 announcement that “America is back” as many Democrats might have hoped.

In Asia the administration’s Myanmar policy—imposing sanctions that signal displeasure without materially affecting the army’s ability to rule—has attracted little enthusiasm. On Feb 15, India’s foreign minister hailed Indo-Japanese cooperation on regional infrastructure projects that link Myanmar with its neighbors, a not-so-subtle signal that India intends to go on cooperating with Myanmar no matter what Washington wants. Simultaneously, the large portion of the Indian press that supports the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is aflame with resentment that Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece, Meena Harris, seems to be siding with protesters against BJP policies.

European leaders are also dismissive of American moralism. French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the importation of U.S.-academic and cultural wokeness as a threat to the French way of life, while pragmatists on the Continent are pushing to strengthen economic relations with Russia and China—virtually ignoring the Biden administration’s efforts to raise the pressure on human-rights abusers in Moscow and Beijing. With the U.S. trade representative’s recent announcement that Trump-era retaliatory tariffs on European wine, cheese and food imports aren’t going away soon, this has been one of the shortest and coldest diplomatic honeymoons on record.

Read in the Wall Street Journal

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