Politico: Biden’s First Diplomatic Fight Will Be at Home



If Joe Biden wins the White House, his hardest foreign policy task might turn out to be handling the demands of progressives who helped get him there, Politico Magazine reported.

The domestic squabble will test his diplomatic skills, foreign policy and national security writer for Politico Nahal Toosi wrote Saturday.

“You think, first and foremost, that Joe Biden’s saying the right thing – this is the signal you want,” Stephen Miles, executive director of the advocacy group Win Without War, told Politico about Biden’s tweet in July taking a swipe at Egypt’s leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — who Trump once reportedly quipped was his “favorite dictator.”

“But it makes you wonder if the actions of a President Biden will match up with the rhetoric of a candidate Biden.”

According to Toosi, Biden relies on advisers with deep Washington, D.C., experience, including several who advised him as Vice President in the Obama administration.

“This unnerves progressives who fear a return to a pre-Trump world mindset—a restoration instead of a reinvention,” Toosi wrote.

“The reality is that progressives have been able to significantly move the debates on a handful of important issues,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told Toosi. “That is just a new reality that will greet the next Democratic president.”

According to Toosi, progressive groups have laid out specific demands: that he commit to significant cuts in defense spending; that he lift broad-based economic sanctions on Iran and Venezuela; that he commit to pushing for a debate in Congress on whether to end ongoing military interventions and to repeal current authorizations for the use of military force.

They also want him to agree to condition military aid to Israel on how it treats the Palestinians – and have weighed in on who he hires, with some demands “so broad — puritanical, even — that they would wipe out a huge swath of candidates,” Toosi wrote.

“I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,” said progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., the Washington Examiner reported. “I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one. There are some areas where we just fundamentally disagree, but that’s OK.”

According to Toosi, progressive leaders say they are prepared to needle Biden as much as necessary to nudge him in their direction.

“There is no question that some of the work he’s going to have to do in the days immediately after getting elected, a lot of the work will be a damage assessment and then repairing that damage,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, told Toosi. “By that I mean it’s going to take some time, I think, to get us to where people would say we’re really moving in a progressive direction.”

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