Much will certainly change in the world of U.S. foreign policy when Joe Biden enters the White House. There will be a more measured tone, and less reliance upon Twitter to announce U.S. policy. Trump is brusque, as illustrated by the way he shoved aside Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic at the 2017 NATO meeting; Biden might not push and shove his way to the front of the group, but his silvery smile will camouflage as ruthless a set of aims. On foreign policy, Biden will appear to be different from Trump, but the broad outlines of their policy will be identical.
by Vijay Prashad
Part 3 - Primacy Remains the U.S. Goal
The U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff wrote in the early years of the Cold War, “To seek less than preponderant power would be to opt for defeat. Preponderant power must be the object of U.S. policy.”
This desire for primacy remains the explicit U.S. policy. Trump, in his four years as president, did not depart from this policy. Nor has Biden in his five decades in public office. They might differ in their tone or in their strategy, but not in the pursuit of this goal. Biden’s adviser Charles Kupchan has written a new book called Isolationism, which offers a clichéd view of U.S. foreign policy, and then concludes, “[T]he United States must reclaim its exceptionalist mantle”; this means that the United States must continue to seek primacy.
This goal of primacy has made it difficult for the U.S. elites to come to terms with the fact of the slow attrition of U.S. power since the illegal war on Iraq (2003) and the credit crisis (2007).
Failure to acknowledge that the world will no longer tolerate one single superpower has led the United States to impose a warlike situation against China. This begins with Obama’s “pivot” to Asia in 2015, and intensifies with Trump’s “trade war.”