Reports began to surface this week of potential cabinet appointments and priority government projects for Democrat Party presidential challenger Joe Biden should he take office in January.
Many of these, both the individuals and the policies, are not new – they are vestiges of the departed Obama administration that Biden was part of as vice president. In foreign policy, particularly, Biden has promised a return to a status quo under his former boss that fueled global instability, wasted American tax dollars, and hurt the American worker.
Below, five policies Biden has promised to resurrect from their political death under President Donald Trump and the setbacks they represent to policies that, for the past four years, have helped make the world a more peaceful place.
Returning to the Iran Nuclear Deal
As a candidate in September, Biden wrote in a CNN column that he would seek to offer Iran, the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism, a “credible path back to diplomacy.”
“If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations,” Biden vowed.
The “nuclear deal” is the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed by the Obama administration, Iran, and four guarantor nations – China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom – with the goal of convincing the rogue state to cease its illegal nuclear weapons development. In exchange for reducing uranium enrichment capacities and very loose inspections that the deal did not allow America to conduct, Iran made billions of dollars. One estimate placed the value of sanctions relief at $150 billion for Iran. President Obama also paid the Islamic regime $1.7 billion in cash, suspiciously timed with the release of U.S. hostages in the country. The administration insisted the money was not a ransom.
Much of that money, as Obama administration officials openly stated, went to funding terrorist activities around the world. The Obama era saw astronomical growth of Iranian influence in both neighboring states like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, and in distant allied nations like Venezuela. The money also did nothing to stop Iran from nuclear development; at some point, the Iranian government began to argue that violating the deal was a valid way to honor the deal.
Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018, fulfilling a campaign promise, and reinstated sanctions. The sanctions have significantly limited the activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s state terrorist organization, and curtailed its influence in neighboring nations, particularly Syria and Iraq.
Returning to the Paris Climate Agreement
The Washington Post reported shortly after November’s election that Biden is planning the use of executive orders to rapidly reverse critical Trump policies. On that list was America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, an Obama-era non-treaty (a treaty wouldn’t get past the Senate) aimed at limiting the world’s carbon emissions. The agreement allows rogue states like China to increase carbon emissions while punishing the United States with strict limits.
Biden has made climate alarmism a core part of his campaign.
“Vice President Biden knows there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world. Today, he is outlining a bold plan – a Clean Energy Revolution – to address this grave threat and lead the world in addressing the climate emergency,” his campaign website promised.
Reports this week indicated that Biden would bring failed Democrat Party candidate and secretary of state John Kerry, whose Islamic State policy consisted of hiring James Taylor to perform a soft rock concert, back on board as a “climate czar.”
Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2019, noting that its provisions required America to actively hurt its industrial sectors while not requiring similar carbon limits on nations like China and India. The Chinese Foreign Ministry to this day boasts that the agreement allows them to “peak” in carbon emissions – meaning continue to increase their percentage of global pollution year-over-year – in some distant future.
Under Trump, the United States dropped its carbon emissions 12 percent from 2005 to 2017. The Paris agreement required America to drop its share of global carbon emissions to 2005 levels by 2025.
Refunding the World Health Organization
The same Washington Post article noting the Paris Agreement policy suggested that Biden would also restore America’s position as the most prolific funder of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).
President Trump withdrew America from the W.H.O. in July, in response to its hyper-partisanship in favor of the Communist Party of China and its prodigious failure in handling the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. The W.H.O. had reason believe as early as December 2019, when the nation of Taiwan sent an emergency message to W.H.O. leadership about a respiratory disease from China, that what would later become known as the Chinese coronavirus was contagious. The Taiwanese message stated that doctors were isolating patients on the island, an unnecessary move if the disease was not transmissible from person to person. The W.H.O. does not allow Taiwan to join the organization due to pressure from China, which refuses to accept Taiwan’s sovereignty.
A month later, the W.H.O. published a message on Twitter telling the world that the Chinese coronavirus was not contagious.
The W.H.O. also regularly applauded China’s response to the outbreak, which largely consisted of persecuting doctors, welding families shut in their homes, and misdirecting the world. Confidential documents later revealed W.H.O. experts feared that Chinese officials would imprison or disappear its doctors and scientists if the U.N. agency publically criticized the communist state.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” President Trump said this year, explaining his reasons for departing.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the W.H.O., became the organization’s leader despite being accused of covering up three separate cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia, his native country, where he is a member of the radical separatist Tigray People’s Liberation Front. His predecessor as director-general, Margaret Chan – now the dean of Tsinghua University’s school of public health – was responsible for the W.H.O.’s response to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which experts called an “egregious failure.”
Reverse Trump’s Policy of Withdrawal from Afghanistan
In 2012, during Vice President Biden’s campaign for a second term, he promised of America’s oldest war, “we will leave in 2014.” America remained in Afghanistan, where an estimated 4,500 American soldiers are serving today.
President Trump, like Obama before him, campaigned on getting out of Afghanistan. Unlike Obama, however, Trump has not indicated that he seeks any conventional military victory against the enemy President George W. Bush initially attacked, the Taliban. Instead, Trump’s policy has focused on peace talks with the Taliban leaders that America vowed to remove. The goal, diplomats insist, is to get the Taliban to agree not to attack Americans or harbor terrorist groups, like al-Qaeda, that attack Americans. In exchange, America will leave.
Reports indicate that Trump will reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by January, with a goal of withdrawing entirely.
Biden, once a proponent of ending the war, told Stars & Stripes in September that he does not see any possible way America could leave Afghanistan.
“I think we need special ops capacity to coordinate with our allies,” Biden said, suggesting a maximum of “1,500 to 2,000” ground troops, but not offering a timeline for them to come home. Those troops are needed, he contended, to “take out terrorist groups who are going to continue to emerge.”
Rejoining the U.N. Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council is nominally the United Nations’ agency for confronting threats to the dignity of individual human beings around the world. In practice, it is a rogue’s gallery of some of the world’s most bloodthirsty states, using their leverage to accuse Israel and the United States of crimes similar to those they actually commit. Currently on the council or ready to take their seats in 2021 are nations such as China, the world’s premier operator of concentration camps; Cuba, which the U.N. itself has certified as a systematic human rights violator; its colony, Venezuela; Eritrea; Somalia; Afghanistan; and Sudan. Trump withdrew the United States from the Council in 2018, citing an insurmountable failure to fulfill its core mission.
“We will rejoin the UN Human Rights Council and work to ensure that body truly lives up to its values,” Joe Biden wrote in a Medium post a year ago.
Restoring Friendly Trade Ties with China
President Trump’s policy of enacting tariffs on Chinese goods, increasing law enforcement activities against intellectual property theft and espionage by Chinese government agents, and fighting to shrink the trade deficit with the communist state may well be remembered as his administration’s hallmark policy. Biden – who won the presidency despite multiple reports linking him and his family to suspect business dealings with the rogue state – has repeatedly stated that he opposes Trump’s approach and prefers to allow China greater influence in America’s economy.
“We make up 25 percent of the world’s economy, but we poked our finger in the eyes of all of our allies out there,” Biden has said of Trump’s trade policy. “The way China will respond is when we gather the rest of the world … That’s when things begin to change. That’s when China’s behavior is going to change.”
Biden has not quite clarified which “allies” are supposed to help America achieve this goal. Most of them in the Pacific region – Australia, Japan, and South Korea, to name a few – joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a China-led trade bloc specifically designed to grow China’s influence on other state economies at America’s expense.
Biden has also reportedly chosen in career diplomat Antony Blinken a secretary of state that has vocally called economic independence from China a “mistake.”