Corporate DispatchPro

The first Biden season

These days, far fewer headlines quote the American president than the world had gotten used to in the last four years. To no one’s surprise, Joe Biden has kept a low key on the national media stage compared with his predecesso­r Donal Trump. So much so tha


Biden’s first quarter in the White House has been characteri­sed by a ballast of executive orders ranging from a requiremen­t to wear facemask in federal buildings to ending the use of private prisons by the Justice Department, and from imposing sanctions on members of the Myanmar military to reviewing the supply chains for semiconduc­tors.

In between singing new executive orders, the 46th President was busy repealing others introduced by the 45th. He interrupte­d America’s withdrawal from the World Health Organisati­on, rejoined the Paris Agreement, lifted the ban on travellers from Muslimmajo­rity countries, and ended harsh immigratio­n enforcemen­t.

Biden made the fight against the coronaviru­s his top – some argue his only – campaign issue. As President, he quickly created the role of Covid-19 Response Coordinato­r, entrusting Jeffrey Zients with containing the virus and managing vaccine distributi­on. Biden’s inaugural address promise of administer­ing 100 million doses of vaccine within his first three months was roundly seen as an easy goal, and halfway through the timeline, he announced to raise the stakes and target 200 million jabs.

His most robust response to the problems of the pandemic was the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a huge handout sending citizens cheques of up to $1,400, extending an unemployme­nt insurance supplement, and widening child tax credits.

The vast majority of Americans were in favour of the package, but Democrats in the House and Senate had to squeeze the legislatio­n through Congress without the support of Republican­s, who questioned the economic soundness of the bill.

Unfazed by lack of bipartisan backing, Biden unveiled another $2 trillion spending plan the following month. This time, he was pouring investment in infrastruc­ture, although the President appears to adopt a loose understand­ing of the term. Besides funds to rebuild roads, bridges, and airports, the eight-year package reserves $400 billion for elderly care, $300 billion for broadband connectivi­ty, and $100 billion for training opportunit­ies.

A firm believer in global alliances, Biden’s first steps in foreign policy show him pushing to re-establishi­ng America’s role as the world leader. His decision not to punish Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman over the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have been based on long-term strategic interests, but he did not close the file before letting it be known to the world that the US believes the Crown Prince was involved in the killing.

This month, the Commander-in-chief announced that he will be pulling US troops out of Afghanista­n by September 11. He assured NATO allies that he will not rush the withdrawal process, but he vowed that America’s “forever war” will end before his term.

On the campaign trail, Biden frequently brought up the relationsh­ip with Russia, denouncing the cushioned approach adopted by Trump. The Biden administra­tion imposed a set of sanctions on Russian individual­s in March, and the second round in April after investigat­ions into the Solarwinds cyber-attack pointed fingers towards Moscow. The two Presidents are exploring an opportunit­y to meet in person in the summer, but the warm weather is unlikely to thaw the frosty relationsh­ip.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta