NEW YORK – Joe Biden has just expressed his foreign policy stance towards the American people: If you choose me, I'll try to reverse all the damage Trump has done.
The 2020 Democratic Leader unveiled its foreign policy platform in an almost hours-long speech at City University of New York on Thursday. In it, the former vice president promised to restore the US democratic leadership in the world and work with our allies to tackle global challenges, from climate change to terrorism to nuclear proliferation.
He also spent a lot of time beating the current president.
" The world sees [President Donald] Trump as what he is: insincere, ill-informed and impulsive. Sometimes corrupt. Dangerously incompetent and, in my view, unable to take the leadership of the world and leadership at home, "Biden told the audience.
Biden's plan was, in almost every respect, the exact opposite of President Donald Trump's "America First" approach. But although he promised to pursue a "proactive foreign policy" that addresses today's world, Biden's speech seemed to focus much more on restoring the world as it did when he and President Barack Obama ruled things.
In other words, Biden offers voters less a bold vision for the future than a plan to restore the past.
The question is whether this idealized past can be restored ̵
Biden's plan is to lift Trump's decisions and build on Obama's years.
Biden's platform includes the re-signing of the international agreements he and Obama have worked to sign during their eight-year term: the Iranian nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreements, from which Trump has withdrawn the US.
Biden also pledged to end Trump's travel ban and lift the global gag rule prohibiting federal funding to rehabilitate NGOs around the world, perform abortion services, rehabilitate the NATO alliance, and restore daily White House press conferences in the state Department and Ministry of Defense, which have become scarce under Trump.
And he promised to continue sending large-scale foreign aid to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to fight corruption, violence and poverty, forcing thousands to flee to the US border.
These are almost all achievements and programs that have been achieved under Obama and that Trump has more or less reversed. Biden promised to put her back and strengthen and adapt from there.
For those who are worried about how much the world has changed under Trump, Biden offers the comfort and assurance that he will put everything back where it was. But it is not just the foreign policy world that has changed in the years since Biden and Obama – the Democratic Party has also changed.
Biden's speech was a traditional foreign policy. Will it play in today's Democratic Party?
As Zack Beauchamp of Vox explained in detail, democratic electoral base has steadily shifted to the more progressive end of the spectrum in the last 20 years.
Political Ideas and Political Ideologies Once As "radical" they are now equally represented by leading Democratic 2020 aspirants and newcomers to Congress. Several prominent politicians involuntarily identify themselves as "democratic socialists". Progressive strategies – such as Medicare-for-all, debt-free college, ultra-rich taxation to more evenly distribute wealth and zero all US carbon emissions – are now common positions.
In foreign policy as well, progressive positions, once again on the verge of rethinking or even cutting US aid to Israel and cutting the US defense budget, have become more and more mainstream.
Which means that the mere "renewal of American values" and the assurance that "democracy is once again the buzzword of foreign policy," as Biden wants, may not be enough to strengthen the democratic base.
Biden argued that investing in American democracy – expanding access to health care, reforming criminal law and raising minimum wages – would help America lead by example among democracies.
Eventually, the vice president offered comforting and familiar topics. It is a steady approach after years of turmoil under Trump. But America's foreign policy will not be reformulated or redesigned.
The latest political idea Biden presented was the promise to hold a "Global Summit on Democracy" involving democratic countries, civil society groups and the private sector. Considerations to combat increasing authoritarianism, restore confidence in the world Institutions and "on concrete commitments to fight corruption and promote human rights".
This interesting idea contains some elements, such as the emphasis on corruption and human rights. a more progressive agenda. But it's also one of the few new ideas that Biden had to offer.
Biden's vision of a world restored in the old way does not really address whether this is possible – or whether this will be enough for people today's Democratic Party. Biden wants to reintroduce the US Democratic leadership back to what it was before Trump. But is that enough for the voters?