“America is back,” President Joe Biden said a few weeks after his inauguration. After four years of “America First,” Biden announced to the world in his first address before a global audience that the “transatlantic alliance is back,” which was to give America’s allies a breath of new hope after the previous administration.
However, it seems that instead of America coming back, it never really left, and Biden has followed in his predecessors’ footsteps that is continuing to hurt America’s overseas reputation and causing doubts among the American public about the United States’ own competence and strength.
Biden is certainly not a trailblazer by any means. Nothing about the man screams creative or thoughtful. American presidents have a proud and long history of messing with international relations or the affairs of other sovereign nations. From the Monroe Doctrine, to the War on Terror, the executive branch has long meddled in the realm of foreign affairs.
Now it would not be fair to the current administration to blame every blunder solely on the Commander-in-Chief, but Biden has made important decisions that go against his own notion that America is returning to a foreign policy agenda before Donald Trump. Biden, if anything, has continued Trump’s America first policy and has thrown U.S international relations and legitimacy in danger.
After the botch and bumbling evacuation of American civilians, personnel and allies in Afghanistan earlier this month, a common criticism circling around was what the Biden Administration was planning to do regarding China and its aggressiveness in the South China Sea. Last week, in a historical deal with both the governments of the United Kingdom and Australia, both the US and UK agreed to assist the Australian government and combat the ever-growing Chinese presence by building nuclear powered submarines for the Australian navy.
There's just one problem with that. Australia already had a contractor to build them submarines, and it was an important US ally. As a result of the new trilateral partnership, the Australian government has cancelled their $90 billion defense contract with France.
Let's just say the French weren’t exactly thrilled when they got the news, which gives the impression that neither the State Department nor the British informed the French they might be losing a lucrative contract. The French government responded by recalling its ambassadors from both the US and Australia. This is an unprecedented move by France in its modern-day relations with both countries.
That's where things stand as of now. The relationship between the US and one of its major supporters on the world stage is not surprising. Biden is just continuing the America trend.
America hasn’t exactly been faithful to its allies or partners in the last 20 years. Even governments America establishes are not above being pushed under the bus as we saw with Afghanistan. Now we continue running the risk of pushing away our closest allies.
Now that is not saying France will switch sides or turn against the United States. However, it does show the world that America might not be a country worth negotiating with. In the last five years alone, the United States has backed out of both the Iran and Paris Climate deals, lost a foothold in Afghanistan and failed to properly respond to acts of aggression by Russia, China and Iran.
Whether or not AUKUS is the Pacific version of NATO has yet to be seen and the current administration and its leadership do not inspire confidence. Alienating close allies doesn’t seem like a wise strategy if your foreign policy is based on uniting the West in the face of Chinese authoritarianism.
So no, President Biden, America isn’t back. In fact, America is continuing its self-destructive behavior of international isolation. Time will only tell how successful these decisions will be in the near future.