Joe Biden has had missteps, both literally and figuratively. The first was on the stairs of Air Force One. It was a simple accident, but the omnipresent media made note of it, which inspired all types of speculation. Other missteps in his foreign policy, like those with Russia and China, were a surprise. They attracted attention because there had been hope that the U.S. would reunite with the world — as Biden had asserted — with a more compliant and less aggressive administration.
In line with his relentless quest to differentiate himself from Donald Trump — whom he so often criticizes — Biden has been erasing Trump’s decisions and orders, reversing his main foreign policy agenda and rejoining the accords that his predecessor formerly denounced. This includes immigration, where everything is still jumbled and inconclusive.
Perhaps Biden has been conditioned to make Trump omnipresent — always named, referenced and contrasted against his own decisions at the risk of keeping Trump visible and present. The former president revels in any opportunity before his supporters: reaffirming electoral fraud, supporting the Republicans in the next congressional midterm election, or insinuating that he will run again in the next presidential election. Unintentionally, Biden has been contradicting his own actions.
Biden has been bold with Russia. To call Putin — of all people — a “killer” or “soulless,” one must be courageous or reckless. Biden isn’t a novice in foreign affairs, and he knows very well that Russia will respond coldly at the appropriate time; there are consequences for challenging an autocrat whose power is increasing daily. His ambassador has already resigned. It hasn’t gone better with China either. In the first direct, face to face conversations, China was not reprimanded, nor was it confronted with impunity — something that is becoming more important with each passing day. China must be made aware, even if by force.
Everything has happened within the 100-day grace period each administration is entitled to. Results are uncertain, and the likelihood that Russia and China will adjust their policies is continuing to diminish. So far, Biden hasn’t found strong support from other powers either. China and Russia’s diverse network of interests requires them to act with great prudence. Right now, they seem to be stumbling more than succeeding. Only time will tell.