Why the 'Biden doctrine' could become America’s 'default' foreign policy 'for generations': conservative

Why the 'Biden doctrine' could become America’s 'default' foreign policy 'for generations': conservative
Image via Creative Commons.

Politics make strange bedfellows, and many Never Trump conservatives — including some hawkish neocons such as Bill Kristol — believe that from a foreign policy standpoint, centrist Democratic President Joe Biden has been a vast improvement over his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump. Those Never Trumpers have been critical of Biden at times; The Bulwark’s Tim Miller, the Washington Post’s Max Boot and others on the right who are pro-Biden more often than not have slammed him vehemently for the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan (Miller has described Afghanistan as Biden’s “biggest f***-up”). But they like the fact that Biden has been willing to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and consider Putin a Trump appeaser.

Biden has rejected Trump’s “America First” view of foreign policy, and one his priorities has been trying to rebuild the United States’ European NATO alliances — which Trump spent four years undermining. But Biden also rejects the ultra-hawkishness of neoconservative ideology. And he has been adamant in saying that while the U.S. will continue to impose economic sanctions against Russia, there will be no American “boots on the ground” in Ukraine.

The Bulwark’s Shay Khatiri analyzes Biden from a foreign policy standpoint in an article published by that conservative anti-Trump website on August 31, arguing that what he calls “the Biden Doctrine” may become the United States’ “default” foreign policy “for generations.”

READ MORE: Reagan White House alumni praises Biden’s ‘skillful’ handling of Ukraine crisis

“Twenty months into Joe Biden’s presidency, there is an emerging trend in the administration’s foreign policy,” explains Khatiri, a native of Iran who now lives in the U.S. “The Biden team has been cobbling together groups of U.S. allies and partners, each comprising countries with shared interests within a geographic region. At the center of each group, setting the agenda, is the United States. This senatorial approach to foreign policy may be the Biden Doctrine: Form ‘gangs’ of partners on issues of importance, and work to reach a desired outcome by exerting as much influence in as many groups as possible — especially when it’s impractical to go through the formal ‘committee’ of a multilateral organization.”

According to Khatiri, the “major foreign policy accomplishment of the Biden Administration’s first year was the creation of” the Australia/United Kingdom/United States Partnership (AUKUS).

“AUKUS came on top of the (Biden) Administration’s increased investment in the Quad, a security partnership among the United States, Australia, Japan, and India,” Khatiri observes. “It was followed by the rollout of I2U2 — a partnership among Israel, India, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States — and a botched attempt to reenergize the Organization of American States (OAS).… The Quad and OAS, existed before Biden became president, but his administration has boosted its investment in them. The Biden team has rhetorically elevated the Quad’s importance, increased the frequency of its meetings, and incrementally — though too slowly — added issues to the group’s portfolio.”

Khatiri applauds Biden’s pro-NATO policies.

READ MORE: MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan asks official why Biden can call Putin a war criminal — but not MBS

“Europe’s regional institutions are older, more established, and all told, doing quite well,” Khatiri notes. “NATO and the European Union have institutionalized European cooperation — with American involvement — and made Europe prosperous by keeping it whole and free, for the most part. Their habits of holding working-level, ministerial, and summit-level meetings are well established. The Biden Administration has done as good a job as possible in rallying the members against Russia. Rather, the problem might be that these organizations are too large to be responsive and effective, especially as they require unanimity for security matters.”

Khatiri isn’t certain that future presidential administrations will embrace the “Biden Doctrine,” but he sees it as a strong possibility.

“Will the Biden Doctrine work?” Khatiri writes. “It is a precedented approach to a problem that has vexed American grand strategists and policymakers since the Korean War: How to maintain overall global peace and international hegemony without spending ourselves into oblivion…. If the Biden Doctrine helps the United States attract more allies by being flexible and tailored, then it might become the default policy for generations. Or, the smiles and handshakes and nice words of summits — conducted mostly over Zoom rather than in person — might prove to signify nothing. Perhaps it’s worth a shot.”

READ MORE: How Trump’s 'isolationist' anti-NATO policy is 'living on through' Josh Hawley: report

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