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Monday, April 15, 2024

What does a President Joe Biden mean for the world?

President Joe Biden vision for the world: More friendships, more cooperation, more alliances, and more democracy!

Recently, Joe Biden wrote a piece for the Foreign Affairs in which he laid out his vision for the United States under his administration. We put together a short summary to understand what President Joe Biden would mean for the world – on areas concerning US foreign policy and tried to highlight areas of potential interest with Pakistan:

Biden’s Big Vision

  • America will lead the World Agenda
  • United States back at the head of the table
  • More friendships, more cooperation, more alliances, and more democracy!

Global Summit for Democracy

  • Put strengthening democracy back on the global agenda by inviting democratic leaders around the world to work towards it.
  • Organize and host a global Summit for Democracy to renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the free world. [Important implications for nascent democracies such as Pakistan]
  • Prioritize results by galvanizing significant new country commitments in three areas: fighting corruption, defending against authoritarianism, and advancing human rights in their own nations and abroad.[Overlapping issues of interest and concern for Pakistan]
  • Make combating corruption the core national security interest and democratic responsibility of the administration. [Shares this vision with PM Imran Khan]
  • Lead efforts internationally to bring transparency to the global financial system, go after illicit tax havens, seize stolen assets, and make it more difficult for leaders who steal from their people to hide behind anonymous front companies. [Shares this vision with PM Imran Khan]
  • Summit members will issue a call to action for the private sector, including technology companies and social media giants, which must recognize their responsibilities and overwhelming interest in preserving democratic societies and protecting free speech. [Potential here for PM Imran Khan to sell his idea that social media companies need to be understanding of Muslim sensitivities]
  • Social media companies must act to ensure that their platforms are not empowering the surveillance state, gutting privacy, facilitating repression in China and elsewhere, spreading hate and misinformation, spurring people to violence, or remaining susceptible to other misuse. [Potential clash with countries such as Pakistan]

Read more: Nearly 70% American-Muslims have voted for Joe Biden

Economic Security is National Security

  • Equip Americans to succeed in the global economy—with a foreign policy for the middle class.
  • Sharpen the United States’ innovative edge and unite the economic might of democracies around the world to counter abusive economic practices and reduce inequality.
  • Economic security is national security. Trade policy has to start at home, by strengthening American middle class—and making sure that everyone can share in the success of the country. [Interesting to see how this may impact H1b’s and US-India trade policy]
  • Make investment in research and development a cornerstone.
  • Lead the charge in innovation; not fall behind China or anyone else when it comes to clean energy, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, 5G, high-speed rail, or the race to end cancer.
  • Take down trade barriers that penalize Americans and resisting a dangerous global slide towards protectionism.
  • Include labor and environmental leaders during negotiating deals at the table in a meaningful way and include strong enforcement provisions to hold our partners to the deals they sign.
  • Build a united front of U.S. allies and partners to confront China’s abusive behaviors and human rights violations, even when there is cooperation with Beijing on issues where American interests converge, such as climate change, nonproliferation, and global health security. [Pakistan will continue facing US tensions over its close relationship with China – given the continued US hard line on China]

Read more: Pakistan Foreign Office hits hard on Indian support to terrorism

US Military Power

  • Bring the vast majority of American troops home from the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East and narrowly define our mission as defeating al Qaeda [Pakistanis watching to see update on US withdrawal from Afghanistan ]
  • End support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
  • Ensure US military stays strongest in the world and make the investments necessary to equip US troops for the challenges of this century.
  • Make use of force the last resort, not the first. Only use it to defend U.S. vital interests, when the objective is clear and achievable, and with the informed consent of the American people.
  • Maintain focus on counterterrorism, around the world and in the US.
  • Be strong and smart at the same time by using a few hundred Special Forces soldiers and intelligence assets to support local partners against a common enemy instead of large-scale, open-ended deployments of tens of thousands of American combat troops. [What does this mean for Afghanistan – Joe Biden has expressed support for keeping a small counterforce in the country]
  • Resort to smaller-scale missions as they are sustainable militarily, economically, and politically, and they advance the national interest.

US Relations with the World

  • Diplomacy should be the first instrument of American power.
  • Elevate diplomacy as the United States’ principal tool of foreign policy.
  • Reinvest in the diplomatic corps and put U.S. diplomacy back in the hands of genuine professionals.
  • Do more than just restore NATO and US’s historic partnership.
  • Lead the effort to reimagine them for the world we face today.
  • Fortify America’s collective capabilities with democratic friends beyond North America and Europe by reinvesting in treaty alliances with Australia, Japan, and South Korea.
  • Deepen partnerships from India to Indonesia to advance shared values in a region that will determine the United States’ future. [As expected strategic relationship with India has bi-partisan support]
  • Sustain America’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.
  • Integrate friends in Latin America and Africa into the broader network of democracies and to seize opportunities for cooperation in those regions.

Read more: Disruptive President: Trump 2016-20 legacy on US Foreign Policy

Climate Change

  • Lead the world to take on the existential threat of climate change.
  • Make massive, urgent investments at home that put the United States on track to have a clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050. [As an important priority for PM Imran Khan as well – there is much that both countries can share in this priority]
  • Leverage Unites States’ economic and moral authority to push the world to determined action against global emissions.
  • Rejoin the Paris climate agreement on day one of a Biden administration.
  • Convene a summit of the world’s major carbon emitters, rallying nations to raise their ambitions and push progress further and faster.
  • Lock in enforceable commitments that will reduce emissions in global shipping and aviation.
  • Pursue strong measures to make sure other nations can’t undercut the United States economically as the US meets their own commitments.
  • Insist that China—the world’s largest emitter of carbon—stop subsidizing coal exports and outsourcing pollution to other countries by financing billions of dollars’ worth of ‘dirty fossil fuel energy projects’ through its Belt and Road Initiative.


  • Counter Russian aggression by keeping the alliance’s military capabilities sharp while also expanding its capacity to take on nontraditional threats, such as weaponized corruption, disinformation, and cybertheft.
  • Impose real costs on Russia for its violations of international norms.
  • Stand with Russian civil society, which has bravely stood up time and again against President Vladimir Putin’s kleptocratic authoritarian system.


  • Use smart way to counter the threat that Iran poses to US interests.
  • Rejoin the agreement if Tehran returns to strict compliance with the deal.
  • Work with allies to strengthen and extend the deal, while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities. [Better US relations with Iran positive for Pakistan in many ways including gas pipeline]

Read more: Iran and the US confrontation: What can Pakistan do?

North Korea & Nuclear Weapons

  • Empower negotiators and jump-start a sustained, coordinated campaign with US allies and others, including China, to advance a shared objective of a denuclearized North Korea.
  • Pursue an extension of the New START treaty, an anchor of strategic stability between the United States and Russia, and use that as a foundation for new arms control arrangements.
  • Take other steps to demonstrate US commitment to reducing the role of nuclear weapons.
  • Renew US commitment to arms control for a new era.
  • Make deterring the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal—and, if necessary, retaliating against—a nuclear attack.


  • Ensure that technologies (such as 5G, AI) are used to promote greater democracy and shared prosperity, not to curb freedom and opportunity in the US and abroad.
  • Join together with the United States’ democratic allies to develop secure, private-sector-led 5G networks that do not leave any community, rural or low income, behind.
  • Ensure that these engines of progress are bound by laws and ethics, as we have done at previous technological turning points in history, and avoid a race to the bottom, where the rules of the digital age are written by China and Russia.

Read more: “US-China: A new hyphenation driving US-Pak Relations?”


  • Immediately reverse the Trump administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border.
  • End Trump’s detrimental asylum policies.
  • Terminate the Muslim travel ban.
  • Order a review of Temporary Protected Status, for vulnerable populations.
  • Set the United States’ annual refugee admissions at 125,000 and seek to raise it over time – commensurate with our responsibility and our values.
  • Enforce U.S. laws without targeting particular communities, violating due process, or tearing apart families, as Trump has done.
  • Secure US borders while ensuring the dignity of migrants and upholding their legal right to seek asylum.