Last Monday, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby told reporters that nothing about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible trip changed US policy toward Taiwan. He said, “We have been clear from the very beginning that she will make her own decisions and that Congress is an independent branch of government. Our Constitution embeds a separation of powers. This is well known to the PRC, given our more than four decades of diplomatic relations. The Speaker has the right to visit Taiwan, and a Speaker of the House has visited Taiwan before without incident, as have many members of Congress, including this year.” He was referring to House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s visit to Taiwan in 1997.
On March 26, in Poland, President Biden referring to President Putin said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Administration officials immediately scrambled to clarify that what he meant was not regime change. “That’s not for Biden to decide,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. “The president of Russia is elected by Russians.” Two days later, Mr. Biden said that his comment was an expression of his outrage and not a change in American policy.
No one hoped for a breakthrough at the US-China talks in Anchorage. And only a few might have expected the talks to start with such an exchange of sharp rebukes. After all this was the first high-level meeting between the Biden administration and Chinese officials.
Before meeting their Chinese counterparts, Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held talks with their counterparts in Tokyo and Seoul. This was the first cabinet-level overseas travel of the Biden administration. Japanese Prime Minister Suga will be the first foreign leader to visit Washington in April for a summit meeting.
Following the Second World War, the standoff between the US and Russia, NATO and the Warsaw Pact was called the Cold War. Nonetheless, in 1969, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed. The same year, Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were launched. These talks led to Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 1972. Thus, East-West relations moved beyond Khrushchev’s “peaceful co-existence” to a period of “détente”.
In September 1990, Congress of People’s Deputies voted for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This marked the end of a bipolar world and the beginning of a unipolar one, of US supremacy.
With inauguration safely behind, President Biden would now start addressing America’s polarization, Covid-19, and a wrecked foreign policy. He has a far heavier agenda than many of his predecessors.
Among his major tasks in the international arena would be restoring confidence in the Washington’s foreign policy steadiness and charting a reasonable course in relations with China and Russia. Washington’s traditional Western allies, disillusioned with the Trump presidency, would give Mr. Biden more than a warm welcome while anxiously watching domestic developments in the US. Because according to a CNN poll, 47% of Republicans still say the party should continue to treat Trump as the leader of the party. And remains to be seen whether going ahead with a second impeachment, though more than justified, was a politically wise decision.