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2020 Election Policy Implications: Foreign Policy

President-Elect Biden has emphasized the need to renew alliances and return to a more multilateral approach to foreign policy. He will attempt to restore many of the Obama Administration initiatives reversed by President Trump.

  • Summit for Democracy: Biden has committed to hosting a summit of the world’s democracies to develop “new country commitments” to fight corruption, defend against authoritarianism, and advance human rights.

  • Iran Nuclear Deal: The United States will rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement from 2015, and coordinate with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia in an attempt to get Iran to resume compliance. 

  • Paris Climate Accord: The United States will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions. President-Elect Biden has advocated for negotiated additional reductions from signatory countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

  • New Start Treaty: The 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia is set to expire Feb. 5, 2021. It can be extended for up to five years. President Trump sought to renegotiate the treaty and include China, which declined to participate. Russia has offered to extend the treaty for one year, which the United States has rejected. Biden will make an extension of the treaty a top priority. A simple extension would not require Senate ratification, but significant substantive changes would.

  • China: The multilateral approach may be most evident on this issue. Look for a change in tactics and approach compared to the Trump Administration, but not necessarily in strategy.

  • Afghanistan: Biden has pledged to “bring the vast majority of our troops home” and “refocus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS.”

  • Central America: The Biden Administration will reassess migration-related funding and other initiatives affecting El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

  • NATO: Biden has discussed reinvigorating the defense alliance and expanding efforts relating to “weaponized corruption, cyber theft, and new challenges in space.”

  • Immigration: In a pivot from “building the wall,” a Biden Administration will focus on improved screening procedures and “smart investments” in border technology. Biden has stated his administration will ban torture and terminate the travel ban involving Muslim majority countries.

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 320



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