Joe Biden’s becoming president of the United States is very disturbing news for international politics. Donald Trump was already well known and understood by everyone. The most peaceful president in US history after the Cold War – during his time in the White House, he, the first in 40 years, has not unleashed a single war. For all the eccentricity, it turned out to be quite predictable and suitable for transactions. What can be expected from such a tragic figure as Biden is not yet fully understood. And it is especially not clear what the forces behind his back can do in foreign policy. Now, as can be judged, they are personified and represented by Vice President Kamala Harris. Moreover, if the new head of state is incapacitated, she will fulfill his duties until the next elections in 2024.
It would be strange to expect that the Democratic administration will be focused on the internal problems of the United States and therefore have no time for foreign policy activism. Rather, on the contrary, the insolubility of the systemic problems of society and the political order may prompt democrats to embark on foreign policy adventures. After all, the reason for the decline of the global dominance of the United States is not only the growing power of China or Russia’s love for freedom. Fundamental problems within and solutions for them do not exist without the need to destroy the entire socio-economic order.
Demolishing confederate monuments and encouraging racial minority riots in 2020 was a way to portray the movement without addressing the most difficult issues. The virtual lack of equality for blacks, social stratification, the increase in the rich and the death of the middle class – in a country as large as the United States, these challenges cannot be met with cosmetic reforms. This does not work even in relatively small France, where the president is already approaching such problems, but ends up with a foreign policy show.
But in the event that the state cannot solve its internal problems without the risk of collapsing into the abyss of a civil war, it needs to compensate for their consequences through an even more parasitic existence among its own kind. This means that the phenomenon of “American leadership” (synonymous with this very parasitism) will get a new life. It will inevitably be corrected by the greater degree of selfishness that Trump has already proclaimed. The United States could afford to play the role of “virtuous hegemon” in the rich post-Cold War times, when everything literally fell into its own hands. Now the problem with virtue is that there is no money for it without limiting the income of the richest. But if you follow this path – why do people need such a phenomenal country like America?
But we are not very interested in the domestic political events in the United States as such, we are interested in their consequences for the international order. The new edition of the struggle for global leadership will be more aggressive. Instead of distributing global benefits and getting its share from it, the United States will try to appropriate these benefits. Europe and China are generally satisfied with this. Russia and medium-sized countries are much less satisfied.
Of course, one should not overestimate the scale of how abstract the new US president is from the reality that surrounds him. For the first one and a half to two years, he will be able to restrain the forces that brought him to the White House. Joe Biden himself is a unique representative of a generation that initially had no chance of taking the highest positions. He was born in 1942 – his political career first took place in the world of World War II veterans, and then found himself in the shadow of a large post-war generation. But over his long life, he apparently has accumulated enough wisdom, and it will deter and irritate radicals. Russia will benefit from this in the form of an extension of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms.
But this, unfortunately, will not last long. It would be too naive to expect that a miracle will happen and Patriarch Biden will be able to stabilize the political system, pacify the radicals and achieve a certain harmony, on the basis of which the next head of state will build a more stable and adequate building for the world. In two or three years, other international players will face a situation where the owner of the White House does not fully control the situation.