Here Comes Biden

Four years ago when Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president of the United States and entered the Republican primary race, his campaign revolved around a few slogans:

1. “America First;”

2. Unilateralism under American leadership rather than multilateralism;

3. Dismantle the European Union and the United Nations;

4. Stop massive payments to NATO and announce that Europe must pay the cost of its security;

5. Increase tariffs on Chinese goods entering the American market;

6. Withdraw Immediately from the harmful Iran nuclear agreement and increase sanctions on Iran;

7. Prevent immigration of foreign citizens, particularly those from America’s southern neighbors Mexico down to Brazil, and sever political and business relations with Cuba again. Sanction Nicaragua, Venezuela, etc.’

8. Persian Gulf Arab countries should pay for the security U.S. provides them. Trump insisted these rulers were not good for anything but hoarding oil dollars to support their own lifestyles, and that they should return this money to the U.S.;

9. America must leave the Paris climate agreement causing widespread unemployment in the American mining industry; and

10. There must be strategic change in the Middle East with respect to Israeli leadership: (This involved closing the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and cutting off aid completely to Palestine;) Formally accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; support the Israeli government’s Jewish settlements; and formally acknowledge the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

These were the main points of Trump’s campaign platform over the last four years, and he has enacted them one by one. But rather than increase international security, they have caused added economic and military tension. After four years of “America First,” not only has this slogan not been realized, but most of the countries with a history of cooperation and alignment with the U.S. have distanced themselves from the White House. According to most U.S. politicians from both sides of the aisle, Trump’s policies have met with defeat, and instead of making “America First,” have destructively isolated the U.S.

Now the Democrats have won the presidential election and Biden is on the scene. Biden’s advisers, deputies and Cabinet nominees are leading with the slogan “America is Back,” among others. This is an expression of an America that has been lost to Trump’s foreign and domestic policies for the last four years, policies which Biden intends to repair and change. At the head of all this is the fundamental shift from unilateralism to multilateralism, and a return to the agreements that the U.S. joined before Trump’s presidency, specifically during the eight years of Barack Obama’s administration.

The Biden administration’s official work will begin under the banner of “America is Back.” Given Trump’s leadership over the last four years, enacting this policy will prove difficult in practice and require overcoming a number of obstacles. The point of this article is not to examine each of these barriers individually. However, on the subject of the Iran nuclear agreement or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it must be said that over the last four years, and in particular with the U.S. leaving the agreement, the deal has come under siege and boycott by the U.S. We must also take into account the three important European countries that signed the deal on behalf of the EU and are still parties to the agreement. The U.K., France and Germany have promised over the last four years to carry out their commitments under the JCPOA, but in practice they have done nothing but wait to see what the future holds. They have been intimidated by Trump on the international stage, especially since these countries expected Trump would be reelected for a second term. The damage done against Iran by Europe’s behavior intensified at a time when Trump was leaving the agreement and announcing his plan for a campaign of “comprehensive sanctions” and “maximum pressure.”

Over the last four years, Iran has been under attack not just from Trump, the sanctions he has imposed and his administration’s maximum pressure campaign, but also, little by little, the U.K., France and Germany have fallen in line with Trump’s strategy.

Now Biden is saying that he will return to the JCPOA and will restart talks with Iran. This is a promising sign for a change in policy under the new administration, but enacting this policy will not be easy. One of the barriers to change will be Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which during Obama’s negotiations with Iran, was not on board and refused to cooperate with Iran. From Putin’s point of view, if Iran distances itself from Washington, it becomes closer to Moscow; his assessment is not far from the truth and lines up well with Moscow’s plans.

Israel and several Arab nations in the Persian Gulf, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are also worried about the future of Middle East policy under Biden, in particular regarding a return to the JCPOA. With the proposed change in diplomatic policy and a return to the Iran nuclear deal, Biden hopes to repair and reopen the bridge of dialogue between Tehran and Washington. The far right in the U.S. and many European countries will block this plan, only adding to combined pressure from the Zionists in Israel and several other Arab nations in the region. Then there is Trump himself, who has still not accepted his election defeat and continues to claim that he won. He wants to force the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, even though most agree that these attempts will be unsuccessful. Yet, by continuing to claim election fraud, Trump has so far been able to raise more than $150 million from his hard right supporters across the U.S. Additionally, out of the more than 150 million people who voted in this election, slightly more than 70 million supported Trump. He is planning to form widespread opposition to Biden and Biden’s policies with these 70 million voters, so he can remain on the political stage until the next presidential election in four years. To strengthen this political calculus, Trump has repeatedly called Biden senile, saying Biden suffers from dementia and is unable to conduct his daily affairs. Twice during these speeches, Trump has said that if Biden were elected, he wouldn’t last long as president and might be assassinated.

In most Western countries, and particularly in the U.S., elections are a time of political conflict which usually give way to a period of calm and national cohesion after the results are announced. But this time, the election has only clarified the wide societal gaps and ongoing discord within the U.S. Trump’s continued militancy has pushed the country into even greater conflict, even to the point of civil war. This danger in U.S. society has coincided with the desire of the powerful Zionist lobby in New York and Washington and even that of the Israeli government to protect Israel’s national interests and oppose talks between the U.S. and Iran. It was under such circumstances that former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mark Fitzpatrick, following the assassination of the martyr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, tweeted, “Iran’s nuclear program is long past the point when it is dependent on single individuals,” adding, “The assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was not meant to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The real target was Joe Biden’s foreign policy and his aspiration to restore the Iran nuclear deal.”

Biden will take the oath of office on Jan. 20. But Trump will open an opposition office in New York and begin planning Biden’s downfall. A coalition of hard right figures in several countries will join Trump in this mission. As Biden himself has admitted several times, he has a tough road ahead of him.

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