High expectations for the Biden Presidency

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 8, 2020 18:16

High expectations for the Biden Presidency

The US Presidential elections’ outcome was announced by major news outlets on Saturday, November 7 after several days of vote counting in swing states. Even though the incumbent Trump has not conceded and has vowed to go through legal proceedings up to the Supreme Court, the numbers seem set for the Biden/Harris ticket which pocketed Nevada and Arizona in addition to the decisive result in Pennsylvania. 

The American elections have been followed with particular fever in the world. Sighs of relief have been loudly heard all over major European capitals and in the NATO command offices which have had to put up with Trump's volatile statements and threats about the Alliance.  

The campaign was a matter of high contention in the Western Balkans. Now that the most difficult part is over most agree that a new page has been turned and there is some damage control to be done. Biden has vowed to return the US to its global commitments be them in the field of climate, joint  security and specific foreign policy debacles. 

Analysts at the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) told Tirana Times that now there is a “true chance to make America great again by reverting back to respect for democracy, for the independence of institutions and media, for decency and upholding human rights. Making America great again in the international arena first and foremost means restoring its place as a leader of the Western world both in terms of values but also with a repaired transatlantic relation.” Indeed the USA serves as a model for countries aspiring to consolidate their democracies therefore the impact is very palpable.

Joseph R Biden is a career politician with several decades on his shoulders and a vast engagement in foreign policy. He is very familiar with the history of the region and the complexities of ethnic strife. He has been a vocal even hawkish democrat when it comes to protecting Bosnia and Kosovo. Experts in the region may differ in their prediction making but they acknowledge that Joe Biden knows the region much better. 

The engagement of the Trump administration in the region has been very minimal with the exception of one attempt to revitalize the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. The famous meeting in the White House this September however produced an agreement made up of a medley of individually signed commitments, most of which had nothing to do with the bilateral dynamics but with other very diverse agendas of the Trump administration itself. Later on, Donald Trump mentioned this deal in some of his campaign speeches as something that should have landed him the Nobel Peace prize. However this was not a normalization and recognition deal and now it bites the dust of the many futile agreements in the Kosovo-Serbia chapter. Biden in his campaign has signaled he will revisit the whole approach to the Kosovo-Serbia issue.

When it comes to the wider approach to the region, the Trump administration's modest ambitions have largely been kept in check by the more institutional-memory inclined State Department. Now with a Biden victory the two foreign policy decision makers in Washington DC are bound to be more on the same page. Whereas details might be revealed in the months to come, it is fair to expect a more consistent and gradual approach, and most importantly fully in compliance with the objective of European integration, as it has been the case in the past.

Finally the Biden administration is most certainly going to rebuke the policy of criticizing the EU and sometimes even rooting for its dissolution as it was often the case with President Trump, though to be fair not so much with the rest of his team. The intertwining of the US and EU forces will do much more to shape the region then the opposing and rivaling positions between the two Atlantic partners in the last four years.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 8, 2020 18:16