Will Biden’s Foreign Policy Sap His Domestic Policy?

Will Biden’s Foreign Policy Sap His Domestic Policy?

Will Biden’s Foreign Policy Sap His Domestic Policy?

The US can’t afford to be the “indispensable nation” abroad while rebuilding at home.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

In his first 100 days, President Biden has rolled out elements of his “build back better” domestic reform agenda, including the American Rescue Plan, his $2 trillion infrastructure bill and a family plan soon to come. Simultaneously, he has turbocharged his “America is back” foreign policy, exchanging insults with Russia and China, striking at Iranian militia camps in Syria, rejoining the Paris climate agreement and more. Both at home and abroad, his initiatives must overcome strong opposition. The larger question is whether the foreign policy will sap the energy, attention and resources needed to rebuild the United States at home.

The scope of Biden’s domestic ambitions has been a pleasant surprise. The president has called for new industrial policy to address the climate calamity, long overdue investments in infrastructure and housing, fair trade and “buy American” policies, tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations, bolstering economic rights, and beginning to redress racial inequities.

At the same time, Biden has long held that the United States remains the “indispensable nation” across the world. Although his national security aides acknowledge the priority of rebuilding the United States’ strength at home, they also say that the nation must lead. Climate, pandemics and global economic structuring are new priorities. These are in addition to an emerging great power face-off with China and Russia, an effort to rally democracies against authoritarianism, a continuing war on terrorism, and a renewed commitment to enforce the “rules-based international order,” which translates into the United States continuing to police the world.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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