Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden went to the State Department headquarters to tell the rest of the world that USA after four years of Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
“America is back,” Biden said, in what has become a mantra.
But keeping his promises on the international stage has proven much more difficult than Biden expected. Domestic politics has routinely been a stumbling block when it comes to taking action on climate change, taxes and dealing with the pandemic, undermining hopes that Biden can quickly return the United States to his unquestioned role as world leader.
The result is an administration struggling to maintain its credibility abroad while Biden fights behind the scenes on Capitol Hill. It’s just harder to push other countries to do more to address international challenges when he’s struggling to meet those same problems at home.
“Every new thing takes a little bit of the shine off and adds to the sense of a president in distress,” said Michael O’Hanlon, director of foreign policy research at the Brookings Institution.
Biden has earned respect for organizing an international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the United States has shipped more coronavirus vaccines around the world than any other country.
Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said that Biden “has reset our alliances, including our essential partnership with Europe, built new platforms and institutions in some of the world’s most relevant regions,” including the Indo-Pacific, and Demonstrated leadership on “the issues that matter most.”
But his foreign policy record is much more mixed when he needs to win support in Congress.
Although he has secured nearly $54 billion in military and financial assistance for Ukraine, which Watson described as a historic amount delivered with “unprecedented speed,” Republicans remain uniformly opposed to many of his initiatives, and Biden has been stymied. due to disagreements among Democrats.
The most recent problem has been the breakdown of on-and-off negotiations with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who withdrew his support for a possible deal on a bill to tackle climate change and create a global minimum tax.
On both issues, Biden had already made commitments or reached an international agreement, but the US commitment is now in doubt.