In Biden’s Foreign Policy, Friends and Foes Claim Echoes of Trump

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News analysis

President Biden’s code astatine the U.N. was a stark opposition to President Donald J. Trump’s. But it came amid complaints that immoderate of Mr. Biden’s argumentation moves echoed his predecessor’s approach.

In his code   astatine  the United Nations General Assembly connected  Tuesday, President Biden said the United States was embarking connected  a caller   epoch  of cooperative diplomacy to lick  planetary  challenges.
Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

Michael Crowley

Sept. 23, 2021Updated 7:51 p.m. ET

At the United Nations’ yearly gathering of satellite leaders this week, President Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke ambitiously astir planetary practice and a caller diplomatic attack for a post-Trump America.

But astir each their diplomatic efforts astatine a pared-down U.N. General Assembly were shadowed — and analyzable — by the bequest of President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Biden soothed strained relations with France successful a telephone with President Emmanuel Macron connected Wednesday. Mr. Blinken met successful New York with his French counterpart connected Thursday. But French officials openly likened the Biden medication to Mr. Trump’s successful its nonaccomplishment to pass them of a strategic woody with Britain and Australia that they said muscled them retired of a submarine contract.

In a fiery code to the planetary assemblage connected Wednesday, President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran suggested that determination was small quality betwixt Mr. Biden and his predecessor, invoking their respective overseas argumentation slogans: “The satellite doesn’t attraction astir ‘America First’ oregon ‘America is Back.’”

And successful effect to the ambitious targets Mr. Biden offered successful his code to reduce planetary c emissions, an editorial successful Beijing’s hard-line Global Times paper raised an all-too-familiar constituent for Biden officials: “If the adjacent U.S. medication is again a Republican one, the promises Biden made volition beryllium precise apt rescinded,” the insubstantial wrote — a constituent the Iranians besides made astir a imaginable instrumentality to the 2015 atomic woody that Mr. Trump abruptly exited.

In a quality league capping the week of diplomacy, Mr. Blinken offered a affirmative assessment. He said U.S. officials had met with counterparts from much than 60 countries and emphasized American enactment connected clime and the coronavirus.

Asked astir respective caller criticisms of U.S. overseas policy, specified arsenic the Afghanistan withdrawal, stalled atomic talks with Iran and diplomatic discourtesy successful Paris, the caput of authorities said helium had not heard specified complaints straight successful New York this week.

“What I’ve been proceeding the past mates of days successful effect to the president’s speech, the absorption that he’s taking america in, was highly affirmative and highly supportive of the United States,” Mr. Blinken said.

He spoke earlier departing a weeklong diplomatic confab that had cautiously returned in-person aft the coronavirus pandemic forced a virtual U.N. lawsuit past year.

Many overseas leaders skipped this year’s gathering, including the presidents of Russia, China and Iran. Their absences precluded the play of erstwhile sessions astir whether the president of the United States mightiness person an impromptu brushwood with a overseas rival. Mr. Biden made lone a little appearance, departing a fewer hours aft his code connected Tuesday.

In that speech, helium depicted an America whose withdrawal from Afghanistan had turned a leafage connected 20 years of warfare aft the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, helium said, the United States was embarking connected a caller epoch of cooperative diplomacy to lick planetary challenges, including clime change, the coronavirus and rising authoritarianism.

The code was a expansive homage to internationalism and a stark opposition to Mr. Trump’s undiplomatic bluster. But it came amid increasing complaints that immoderate of Mr. Biden’s signature argumentation moves carried echoes of Mr. Trump’s approach.

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Credit...Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

French officials said they were blindsided by the U.S. submarine woody with Australia, a ailment for which Biden officials had nary casual answer.

“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable determination reminds maine a batch of what Mr. Trump utilized to do,” Jean-Yves Le Drian, the overseas minister, told a French vigor outlet, according to Reuters. “I americium aggravated and bitter. This isn’t done betwixt allies.”

That had eased immoderate by Thursday, aft Mr. Biden’s telephone with Mr. Macron and Mr. Blinken’s gathering with Mr. Le Drian. But the French diplomat’s connection suggested that the substance was not rather forgotten. “Getting retired of the situation we are experiencing volition instrumentality clip and volition necessitate action,” helium said.

The flare-up with Paris mightiness person been dismissed arsenic an isolated occurrence but for its echoes of complaints by immoderate NATO allies that Mr. Biden had withdrawn from Afghanistan without afloat consulting them oregon alerting them to Washington’s timeline. Mr. Trump was notorious for astonishing longtime allies with impulsive oregon unilateral actions.

Mr. Blinken protested that helium visited with NATO officials successful the outpouring to stitchery their views connected Afghanistan, but officials successful Germany, Britain and different countries said that their counsel for a slower withdrawal was rejected.

Biden allies accidental they find the comparisons overblown. But immoderate admit that planetary concerns astir whether Mr. Trump, oregon idiosyncratic similar him, mightiness win Mr. Biden and reverse his efforts are valid.

“It’s absurd connected its look for allies, partners oregon anyone to deliberation that determination is immoderate continuity betwixt Trump and Biden successful presumption of however they presumption allies, negociate internationally oregon attack nationalist security,” said Loren DeJonge Schulman, who worked astatine the National Security Counsel and the Pentagon during the Obama administration. “It’s a talking point, and it’s a laughable one.”

But Ms. Schulman added that different nations had valid questions astir how, successful the shadiness of the Trump era, the Biden medication could marque sustainable planetary commitments similar a imaginable atomic woody with Tehran and physique much nationalist enactment for overseas alliances.

“This can’t beryllium a substance of ‘trust us,’” said Ms. DeJonge Schulman, who is an adjunct elder chap astatine the Center for a New American Security.

It is not conscionable irritated allies that person embraced the conception of a Biden-Trump commonality; adversaries person recovered it to beryllium a utile cudgel against Mr. Biden. The Global Times, which often echoes views of the Chinese Communist Party, has said that Mr. Biden’s China policies are “virtually identical” to those of Mr. Trump.

They see Mr. Biden’s continuation of Trump-era commercialized tariffs, which Democrats roundly denounced earlier Mr. Biden took bureau but his officials rapidly came to spot arsenic a root of leverage successful their dealings with China.

Similarly, Iranian officials kick bitterly that Mr. Biden has not lifted immoderate of the galore economic sanctions that Mr. Trump imposed aft helium withdrew from the atomic deal. Early successful Mr. Biden’s presidency, immoderate European allies urged the medication to assistance immoderate of those restrictions arsenic a mode to jump-start atomic talks, but Biden officials declined to bash so.

Last month, Iran’s ultimate leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, charged that “America’s existent medication is nary antithetic from the erstwhile one, due to the fact that what it demands from Iran connected the atomic contented is antithetic successful words but the aforesaid happening that Trump demanded,” Mr. Khamenei’s authoritative website quoted him arsenic saying.

Now, aft a monthslong intermission successful negotiations and the predetermination of a new, hard-line authorities successful Tehran, Biden officials are informing Iran that clip is moving retired for a communal instrumentality to the atomic agreement.

Mr. Trump was criticized by countless overseas argumentation veterans of some parties. But critiques of the Biden team’s absorption are besides growing, peculiarly aft the U.S. military’s erroneous drone onslaught successful Kabul past period killed 10 civilians, including 7 children and an aid worker.

Some Biden officials, without admitting overmuch fault, accidental the enactment of diplomacy has been peculiarly hard fixed that scores of experienced Foreign Service officers retired during the Trump administration. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, has besides blocked dozens of Biden nominees to elder State Department positions and ambassadorships.

Mr. Biden is besides encountering the Trump examination successful different settings, including connected immigration.

“The question that’s being asked present is: How are you really antithetic than Trump?” Marisa Franco, the enforcement manager of Mijente, a Latino civilian rights organization, told The Times this week.

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