WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joe Biden is the former vice president in the Obama Administration and the Democratic nominee in the U.S. 2020 presidential election. In addition to environmental justice reforms, Biden’s foreign policy plans to restore foreign relations through elevated diplomacy. Most importantly, these efforts would focus on mitigating corruption, violence and endemic poverty. Here are some foreign policies Biden will support if he wins the November election.
Long-Term Development in Africa
Biden’s aspiration for bipartisan cooperation and fortifying collective capabilities with Asia is reflected in his prospective foreign policy plans with Africa, which emphasize good governance, public health and youth development. The 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit invited “50 African presidents and senior officials to Washington” to discuss trade, investment and the security of the continent. Similarly, Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, stated that Biden plans to undertake similar initiatives to Obama’s frequent engagement with African leaders via summits. He will also attend regular travel to Africa along with senior administration officials. In addition, there will be a larger push to get “appropriately skilled ambassadors” in embassies across Africa.
The Council on Foreign Relations additionally asked Biden how the U.S. would adjust its policies in response to Africa’s projected population growth. Biden discussed four ways:
- Strengthen trade relationships and boost Foreign Commercial Service posts to create more jobs and economic growth.
- Empower African women as they are essential in development.
- Start an urbanization initiative to develop African cities through improved access to energy, climate change adaptation, transportation and water management.
- Demonstrate the American model of democracy.
Biden’s inclusive oriented proposals regarding Africa would be a significant step towards eradicating poverty. According to the U.N., poverty in sub-Saharan Africa entails more than a lack of income but also stems from “discrimination and exclusion as well as a lack of participation in decision-making.”
Countering Terrorism and Violence in Central Asia
Biden aims to alleviate political instability, governance challenges, issues with poor security and economic losses in Afghanistan by adopting these methods:
- Protecting the rights of Afghan women and girls.
- Engaging with Afghanistan’s neighbors (Pakistan, Iran, China, India and Russia) to promote a lasting peace settlement.
- Designating U.S. military presence in Afghanistan that focuses on counterterrorism operations, which would be vital in dismantling Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entities (SDGT) like the Taliban and Haqqani network.
Biden’s emphasis on counterterrorism, especially through the involvement of powerful allies, would be crucial in improving the low quality of life amongst Afghan people that has been largely caused by instability in terrorists-controlled areas. For example, between 2016-17, Afghanistan’s poverty rate rose to 55%, a statistic that could be combated by Biden’s plans.
Aid to Palestine and Preserving the Two-State Solution
Biden’s foreign policy plans for the Middle East would restore assistance to the Palestinian National Authority. In the same vein, Biden intends to:
- Collaborate with the agencies that support Palestinian refugees to provide humanitarian aid and healthcare to the Palestinian people.
- Enforce Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation.
- Re-establish U.S. membership in U.N agencies, including the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Likewise, given that Palestine’s poverty rate rose from 38% to 53% from 2011 to 2017, Biden’s plan to increase aid to Palestinians could compensate for their Ministry of Finance’s reduction in social funds and Israel’s long-standing blockade.
Clean Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean
The Inter-American Development Bank estimates that climate change-related damages will cost the Americas “approximately $100 billion per year by 2050.” Therefore, to diminish these financial burdens, Biden’s foreign policy plans to involve countries in the Americas employs the following innovative strategies:
- A framework that limits greenhouse gas emissions related to land use, forests and agriculture.
- New standards for greening manufacturing, mining and tourism.
- Major investments in clean-energy technologies.
- A more integrated clean energy grid from Mexico through Central America and Colombia.
- A focus on the Caribbean and the Northern Triangle of Central America to promote transitions to clean energy and climate change adaptation.
Biden’s sustainable approach is key to helping end extreme poverty for the 62 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), extreme poverty is “characterized by a lack of access to basic human necessities like food and shelter.” Increased heat and drought often lead to food insecurity and damaged infrastructure. These efforts would aid in the refueling of the supply of food and shelter in the region.
Biden’s current foreign policy plans resonate with his three-decade-long experience in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Moreover, they build on the active role he played in the Obama administration’s policies on national security (i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine). Should Biden win, his administration is likely to fortify relations with traditional allies through direct assistance.
– Joy Arkeh