Biden would oversee different foreign policy: US experts

Just two months ahead of the November 3 US presidential election, experts have said that if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected, his foreign policy stance on issues relating to multi-lateralism, North Korea and Iran will be different compared to that of the current administration of President Donald Trump.

“The biggest difference should be in Biden’s preference for a return to multi-lateralism, versus Trump’s emphasis on unilateralism,” Douglas Paal, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

Paal said, however, that predicting how Biden will address the greatly changed circumstances of today’s world requires a close look at the individual situations that the former Vice President might be required to address, rather than predicting straight line continuity.

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon told Xinhua that if elected, Biden “would seek to reinvigorate multilateral collaboration on climate, among other things”.

Trump is the only sitting US President ever to have stepped foot inside North Korea.

The president believed early in his administration that a close, personal relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would form the basis of a change in policy.

Paal said Biden would likely be less personally involved in dealing with Pyongyang than was Trump, who aimed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula by creating a personal relationship with Kim.

Many of Biden’s advisers have argued for more concrete progress on the Korean Peninsula, and that would probably entail significant tactical difference, Paal said.

Troy Stangarone, senior director at the Washington-based non-profit Korea Economic Institute, had similar thoughts.

“The Trump administration’s efforts have been personality-driven, but the summits in Hanoi and Singapore have demonstrated that personality cannot substitute for policy in negotiating with Pyongyang,” Stangarone said, noting the 2018 and 2019 summits that ultimately ended in stalled negotiations.

Stangarone said a Biden administration would likely work to restore the foundations of US policy and leverage in talks with North Korea.

Meanwhile, Biden was part of the administration that inked the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration later scrapped.

David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Xinhua it was very likely that Biden would return to the deal, although the agreement would include some additions.

However, a Biden administration would not simply snap the deal back into place and drop all the sanctions, Pollock said, as Washington believes the nuclear deal fell short of addressing issues including terrorism, missiles and militias.

Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the RAND Corporation, told Xinhua that a Biden administration would likely be staffed with key personnel who negotiated the Iran deal.

A Biden policy on Iran would likely entail a more serious and sustained commitment to renew diplomacy with Iran and revitalize the Iran nuclear agreement, Kaye said.