Three Easy Foreign Policy Wins for Biden in His First 100 Days

Three Easy Foreign Policy Wins for Biden in His First 100 Days
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Nov. 10, 2020 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

To say President-elect Joe Biden has his work cut out for him when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and national security would be a gross understatement. China, Russia, Iran and North Korea all loom large, right alongside climate change and the still-worsening coronavirus pandemic. Yet with a persistently polarized American electorate and a possibly divided Congress, it will be hard for his administration to make significant progress on the biggest security challenges facing the United States. Whatever happens with the messy transition period leading up to Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the Republican Party’s obstructionism and Donald Trump’s decapitation of Pentagon leadership this week certainly will not help. There are, however, some easy wins that Biden’s administration could still conceivably secure within its first 100 days, without having to charge straight into major political headwinds.

Despite the many obstacles Biden’s national security team will confront, there are nevertheless viable options to deliver quickly on Biden’s promise to “restore American leadership abroad” and repair international alliances. A Biden White House could better the odds for more stable U.S. relations with the world by taking three simple steps in the first quarter of 2021 to demonstrate America’s recommitment to the defense of human rights and promotion of international legal norms. Not one will require a hard sell to Congress, and all three would likely receive broad bipartisan support across the foreign policy community in Washington.

Step One: Rescind Trump’s visa ban and sanctions that were levied against staff at the International Criminal Court, and appoint a respected jurist with management experience to head the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice.

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