What Does A Biden Presidency Mean To US Foreign Relations?


Might Joe Biden's presidency mean for US foreign policy with us, now three of NPR's international correspondents in some of the regions that are most consequential to the United States? NPR's Emily Fang is in Beijing. Lucien Kim is in Moscow and Jane Arraf is in Erbil, Iraq. Hello to you all. Good morning. Morning. So, Emily, let's start with you. The relationship between the U. S and China right now is quite tense. How was news of of President Elect Biden's win received in Beijing. Well, there wasn't much news because two days after the election results were called noticeably Absent is any official reaction from China's leader, She Jingping, He's not put up a message. By contrast in 2016. She congratulated Trump hours after the race was called this year. Foreign Ministry has dodged every question we've had for comment on their views about the election, and the silence is not because China prefers bite in over Trump, Trump of replied, And it's more out of an over abundance of caution because Trump has not officially conceded. Seven China's view It does not want to take a side if you will, and until someone is definitively inaugurated, and Trump still has more than two months left in office so he could put significant pressure on China. Still, if he's provoked Okay, So China's taking a wait and see approach Lucy and there was all of this concern about Russian potential Russian interference in this election. We didn't see much of that. How is Moscow, reacting to the prospect of a Biden presidency? Well, it's interesting. It's very similar to the situation in Beijing here. The absence of any congratulations from President Vladimir Putin has been noticeable today. His spokesman told reporters that Putin will wait for official results because Trump has not conceded and wants to dispute the the count in the courts. One prominent Russian who did congratulate Biden, his opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. He's recovering from a poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. The day after the U. S election. Navalny went on social media to say that the suspense about who Would eventually when the race was evidence that America's elections are real, but officially on state TV. The main message is that this election was marred by irregularities and fraud. So in a sense, not that different from Russian elections and the messier the transition of power is in the US, the better it is for the Kremlin because the US stops looking like a model democracy. Well, that's interesting. Jane, China and Russia both taking a wait and see approach did Iraqi leadership say anything this weekend? They did. They generally welcomed Biden's election. And, you know, there's not expected to be really a dramatic or immediate change in policy. One of the big issues here is withdrawal of US troops and Biden like Trump is in favor of those, But I gotta be honest Officials here are breathing a sigh of relief. You know, one of them put it. Will no longer be one tweet away from learning of major foreign policy decisions. And then there's the fact that Biden you Noah's head of a CZ, a member of the leading member, ranking member of the Of Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then the point man on Iraq. For then President Obama knows the leaders here and he knows them well, and that will make a difference. I spoke to one senior Iraqi official who said he's dealt with them in years for years. Sorry, and and the thing that stands out is Biden's essential decency, he says. Decency. OK, Lucien Joe Biden known for his decency, Yes, but unlike President Trump, he does not seem primed to like Vladimir Putin or to soft pedal things with Russia. How might his election change the U. S Russia relationship? All right. There is no expectation here at all that Biden will be easier on Russia. I spoke to one of Russia's leading foreign policy experts fielder Lukianoff about what he expects from a Biden presidency. They don't think that many people at Moscow believed that the U. S will be able to be back to the old good days of liberal order as it was in 90 Sorento Seldon's, But the rhetoric will be ah, muchmore like Obama or even Clinton spirit. So in other words, the expectation in Moscow is that Biden will bring up human rights and democracy and also take a greater interest in what happens in the former Soviet Union. There is no love for Biden in Moscow. He met with Putin when he was vice president and has been very critical of the Kremlin. But those negative feelings aside, there is also a certain trump fatigue in Moscow. There were really high hopes for years ago and today U. S. Russian relations are at their lowest point since the Cold War. So there is some hope in Moscow that Biden will be more predictable and be able to start a sober professional dialogue on pressing bilateral issues of the first one that comes to mind his arms control. More predictable. Emily might also be interesting or helpful to China, right because it's been four sort of madcap years of trade wars and overnight tweets. And yet Beijing's position in the world is different now than it was when President Trump took office, isn't it? Yes, it's gone from what was then A developing regional power, too, in the U. S has eyes and this is accurate. A global competitors and that growing more negative view has led the US over the last four years to sanction Chinese officials, major Chinese companies and to limit the number of Of Chinese people who study and work in the US, But within China, you have the inverse of this negativity. China's had this surgeon self confidence since 2016. It's controlled a corona virus pandemic. It's produced some truly global companies, and that gives Beijing a sense that this is China's time to shine. And right now we're at this hugely uncertain moment in the relationship trumps refusal to conceive means that there's even warn certainty because Beijing cannot decide what its next move is going to be right now. Okay. If China is under the impression that it is, it's time to shine economically makes a lot of sense. Does a president Biden change that in any way? He could. Biden is expected to continue to push China and human rights issues such as Hong Kong civil rights Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of people have been detained. Remember he called cheating Ping a thug during one of the last presidential debates. But many in trying to hope us under Biden will temper the relationship and cooperate on things like trade and climate change. But Biden could also have a much more multilateral approach and that could actually put pressure on China. And Jane. Lastly, I want to reach back into history. Joe Biden once suggested that Iraq would be better off his three separate autonomous regions Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite. How was that idea held up? Yeah, so he was suggesting autonomous regions, but still with the central government and here in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, they very much welcome that support for increase power to the regions, but in other places it was seen as fuelling Iraq's sectarian divide. And there's still a bit of concern about that idea. But a lot of it has moved on to concern about Iran. And on that one he's seen as not being quite a cz obsessed with isolating Iran. So even some militia leaders here have welcomed his election. Okay. NPR's Jane Arraf in Erbil, Iraq, Emily faIIing in Beijing and Lucien Kim in Moscow. Thanks, everyone.

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