What allies does the USA have right now?
Opinion: How Much Donald Trump is in Joe Biden?
The world rubs its eyes. And above all the old allies applaud the new US president. In his first 100 days in office, the 78-year-old displayed an energy that many younger people can only dream of. Someone has taken over the government who has a clear agenda, who rushes forward courageously and does not wait, but just does it.
The President of the United States has instruments that are not available to the German Chancellor, for example. In so-called executive orders, presidential orders, he can decide many things completely independently at the congress. For example, to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Which he did on the first day in office.
Decisions without sustainability
Biden has already signed at least 40 such edicts. And of course that looks good on the checklist. The problem with this style of government, however, is that any successor can nullify these decrees with the stroke of a pen. Because they are not ordinary laws, for which even a president needs political majorities in order to implement them - or to abolish them again.
Ines Pohl heads the DW studio in Washington
And here we come to the core problem of this presidency: Joe Biden only has a wafer-thin majority in both houses of Congress. For more fundamental legislative projects he needs support from the opposing camp, whereby he must not make too big compromises in order not to offend the left wing of his own party.
You have to keep all of this in mind when applauding the Biden's full-bodied plans. Yes, its infrastructure plan would give the United States a huge boost in modernization and innovation that could not least leave Europe in the dust. But can he even manage to organize the majorities required for this? Especially for his financing concept, which relies on significant tax increases for the super-rich?
Between want and ability
And yes, his clear commitment to fighting the climate catastrophe could not only have very real effects in the US, but also be an important global impetus. But what can it really do? Here, too, a precise distinction must be made between global political will and actual domestic policy options.
In just under a year and a half, the midterm elections are due in the United States. On November 8, 2022, it will be decided whether Biden might lose his governing majority in the Senate again. Biden does better in the polls today than his predecessor after his first 100 days in office. But nothing has changed in the deep division of the country.
After the election campaign is before the election campaign
Therefore, the international community should not make a mistake: Joe Biden is actually already campaigning again. As much as he presents himself as a reliable, international partner again, his main focus is on domestic politics. He has to score here to have the slightest chance that his Democrats will win the next election.
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