Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Why Biden is good news for Germany | Instant News


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Vice President Joe Biden in 2015.

CHRISTIAN STACHE | AFP | Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden’s signal about a shift in America’s foreign policy goals was welcome news in Berlin, where German officials have been worried about tariffs for the past four years.

Biden said he would turn away from President Donald Trump’s “America First” strategy towards an outward-looking US that seems eager to lead, and embrace his global allies once again.

“America is back – we are at the top of the table again,” Biden told NBC News in his first interview since being inaugurated as the next president.

“I have spoken with more than 20 world leaders and they are delighted and somewhat excited that America will reaffirm its role in the world and become a coalition builder,” he added.

Europe must have breathed a sigh of relief over Biden’s election victory, after having endured four difficult years with the Trump administration, apparently poised to impose tariffs on European auto imports, a move that would deal a blow to the region’s auto industry and particularly hit German auto exporters. .

Warm welcome

German Chancellor Angela Merkel “very warmly” welcomed Biden’s victory, acknowledging that her country needs to take more responsibility for the transatlantic partnership. “America is and will remain our closest ally, but it expects a lot more from us – and rightly so,” Merkel said on November 9, adding that Germany was “working on it.”

Relief at Biden’s election is spreading in the German Parliament, with officials seeing Biden as an opportunity to reset relations.

“We are relieved that the (election) results are as they are,” Peter Beyer, a politician in the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and coordinator of transatlantic cooperation within the government, told CNBC last week.

“We are looking forward to what some call a fresh start, a reset in transatlantic relations. One thing I can say for sure is that we will have better communication, whereas Donald Trump treats his allies almost at times like enemies. . “

Trading

Biden’s win has reignited hopes for a US-EU trade agreement after his previous attempt to reach such an agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), ended in failure in 2016 after three years of negotiations.

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen warned that a new approach to trade was needed, saying that the EU should take the initiative to build bridges with the US “We know that we cannot turn back time. Not in trade, not in TTIP,” von der Leyen said a few weeks ago in a speech at the EU ambassadors’ conference.

“We can’t get back to the exact same agenda we had five years ago. We can’t fall into that trap. We need a new approach. Because the world has changed and so has the United States and so has Europe.”

Beyer agrees that since “trade is a major issue across the Atlantic, we shouldn’t waste time dreaming about transatlantic nostalgia, the timing of TTIP either doesn’t come true or come true.”

“Joe Biden has said he will do a ‘stock taking’ due to the competitiveness of the United States so it will take some time until he will turn to the negotiating table with the Europeans. At that point, we need to rewrite our wording on the proposal from the European side. , and make new proposals that are realistic and ambitious, “he said.

Bones of contention

The Trump administration has been aggressive in addressing trade imbalances between the US and other global economies such as China and Europe, imposing billions of import tariffs on exports from both.

However, the Biden presidency is unlikely to completely remove pressure from Europe on trade, and there may be bones of contention as well as points of common interest, such as fighting China’s growing economic and political power, a country Beyer calls a “geo challenge. -politics and geo-economics of our time. “

“I expect there will still be some tensions over trade and economic policy between Germany and the US,” Andrew Kenningham, chief European economist at Capital Economics, told CNBC. “The EU has plans to regulate and tax more strictly especially US technology companies such as Amazon and Google etc. And annual trade disputes such as between Boeing and Airbus will not go away,” he said.

“However, the end of the Trump administration eliminates some tail risk for at least the next few years. In particular, it is possible that Trump will follow through on his threat to impose tariffs on EU auto exports,” he said.

However, under Biden, the expected return “to a more traditional US international economic policy would be very welcome in Germany,” Kenningham said. “In terms of policy, Germany is very committed to multilateral organization and cooperation … and is also very much against protectionist policies.”

“Even so, the direct economic impact of the Biden presidency on the German economy will be small. Trump’s trade war is targeted primarily at Mexico (initially) and China. The only significant tariffs in the EU are on steel and aluminum, the impact of those in Germany is minor.”

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Global stocks hit record highs on hopes for a COVID | vaccine United States News | Instant News


World stocks rallied to record highs on Wednesday, following a surge on Wall Street that sent the Dow Jones index topping the 30,000 point mark for the first time as investors welcomed the dramatically improved global outlook.

The official start of United States President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House and increasing confidence that a COVID-19 vaccine will soon be ready to usher in renewed interest for global stocks.

After weeks of waiting, President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday paved the way for Biden to prepare for the start of his administration, giving him access to direction and funding.

“The main thing now is that it is official that the Biden government will start. And we have ample liquidity from the world’s central banks, ”said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“I hope the honeymoon between financial markets and the Biden administration and the upward trend in stocks can continue until around his inauguration in January,” he said, adding a reality check could follow once he was inaugurated.

Reports that Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary – a move that could turn US economic policy into one to tackle growing inequality while maintaining stimulus measures – also energized markets.

‘Crackers month’

That pushed the MSCI world-wide index of stocks up 0.2 percent to a record level. An index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.45 percent while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index advanced 1.7 percent to a 29-year high.

Quarterly cash flows for Asian stocks off the Chinese charts [Bloomberg] (Bloomberg)

On Wall Street on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.54 percent to an all-time high of 30,046.24 while the S&P 500 gained 1.62 percent to 3,635.41, also a record high. The Nasdaq Composite added 1.31 percent.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 were up another 0.5 percent in Wednesday’s Asian trade.

“Sentiment is running hot as we approach the end of the cracker month for risk assets, so it makes you wonder if the market is starting to show signs of euphoria, and there will be a bit of a retraction in the short-term,” said IG Australian market analyst Kyle Rodda. .

“But for all the risks that a pandemic poses over the next few months … market participants seem delighted to see everything, and position for a post-pandemic world.”

Reduce pain

Investors are betting that an upcoming shot of the viral vaccine could ease suffering in industries hardest hit by the pandemic, from tourism to energy, despite severe viral outbreaks underway in many parts of the world.

US energy stocks have risen nearly 38 percent so far this month.

In currency markets, risk-sensitive currencies have the upper hand against safe-haven currencies, including the US dollar.

The euro is holding at $ 1.1901, nearing the top of its recent trading range. The British pound stood at $ 1.3359, near Monday’s two-month high, supported also by hopes of a trade deal between the UK and the European Union.

Bitcoin is also holding up at $ 18,999, approaching its record peak of $ 19,666 touched nearly three years ago.

On the other hand, the yen, which is seen as the safe harbor currency, was little changed at 104.56 per dollar.

Gold has also lost some shine, having hit a four-month low of $ 1,800.80 on Tuesday and recovering some ground to stand at $ 1,806.10 an ounce in Asian trade.

US Treasury bonds were also pressured by expectations that Yellen’s candidacy as Treasury Secretary could ease the passage of a potential fiscal stimulus package, meaning more debt.

The US 10-year yield rose to 0.885 percent, compared with Thursday’s low of 0.818 percent.

Oil prices also held near their highest levels since March due to the improving global economic outlook.

Brent crude futures rose 1.2 percent to $ 48.45 a barrel, the highest last seen in early March.

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What does the candidate for Biden’s cabinet mean for US policy in the Middle East? | United States of America | Instant News


United States President-elect Joe Biden has formally introduced the first member of his cabinet, a line of foreign policy and national security candidates he says will seek to restore international agreements and improve relations with allies after four years of President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy split.

In particular, Biden – and particularly his running mate for Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan – have outlined a dramatic shift in Middle East policy that will emphasize diplomacy and human rights. Biden also nominated career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield for US Ambassador to the United Nations.

Experts say the new policy approach will include more pressure on Saudi Arabia and Egypt over human rights, a mission to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and relaunch efforts – with fewer concessions to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – to bring Palestine and Israeli officers returned to the negotiating table.

The new administration is likely to first realign “the US with Europe, including the European Union [European Union] and NATO and each of the EU countries before making big strides, ”said William Lawrence, an American University lecturer and former State Department official under President Barack Obama’s administration.

The Biden administration “will then try to act in a way that stabilizes conflict areas” in the Middle East and “moves toward a ceasefire and peace agreement while spending more and more US efforts on dealing with the victims of this conflict,” Lawrence told Al Jazeera.

Biden’s inner circle

In Biden’s foreign policy nomination, the US “returns to the idea of ​​governance,” Paul Salem, president of the Washington, DC-based Middle East Institute, told Al Jazeera.

That means an arm of US foreign policy that “implements a coordinated and consistent policy” and signals to foreign leaders that they are “dealing with a coherent organism”, he said.

“Under Trump, there is no administration. “There are people on temporary duty for several months each in position, nobody really gets the support of the president or often knows what the president really wants,” he said. “That means a very incoherent government when it comes to foreign policy and extreme confusion among foreign governments.”

Antony Blinken has been nominated to be Secretary of State for US President-elect Joe Biden [Jose Luis Magana/The Associated Press]

Biden’s leading foreign policy leader is Blinken, who has been an advisor to the elected president for nearly two decades and served as deputy foreign minister and deputy national security advisor during the Obama administration.

Blinken has criticized foreign policy in Yemen, Libya and Syria during the Obama administration, and has expressed regret at the decision not to interfere in Syria’s civil war.

“The last administration must admit that we failed, not because we wanted to try, but we failed. We failed to prevent a terrible death. We failed to prevent massive displacement of people internally in Syria and, of course, externally as refugees, “he said in a May interview with CBS. “And that is something I will carry with me for the rest of my days.”

Blinken also called Trump’s 2019 withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria, effectively leaving behind Kurdish allies in the region, a “grave mistake and something we will pay for”. He said he supported keeping US boots on the ground there.

Human rights

In a phone call with leaders of the Arab American community in July, Blinken said Biden would prioritize “human rights and democratic principles” in the Middle East, while rebuking Trump’s comfortable relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah. el-Sisi.

With regard to Saudi Arabia, Blinken said Trump had essentially left a blank check to pursue a series of devastating policies, including the war in Yemen, but also the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. He also scoffed at Trump for reportedly calling Sisi his “favorite dictator” during candid moments at the 2019 Group of Seven (G7) summit.

In 2018, Blinken and other Obama administration officials released an open letter to the Trump administration calling for withdrawal of support for Riyad’s military campaign against Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen, which has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, large numbers of civilian casualties, and allegations of war crimes committed by the two. both parties.

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the “most dramatic policy change” for the coming government would be towards Saudi Arabia, which could include cutting arms sales to the kingdom, as well as a troop withdrawal. about 5,000 soldiers are stationed there.

Iran nuclear deal

Meanwhile, in Sullivan’s 43-year-old national security adviser, Riedel said, Biden “shows he intends to do what he says, namely try to revive the nuclear deal and reopen communications with the Iranian government”.

Sullivan, who served as Vice President Biden’s national security adviser and head of policy planning at the State Department under Hillary Clinton, was instrumental in the initial back-channel negotiations that eventually led to the Iran nuclear deal, in which Tehran agreed to scale back the nuclear program in exchange for waivers. penalty. The Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 and imposed a campaign of “maximum pressure” sanctions.

In a 2019 New York Times op-ed written with William J Burns, Sullivan wrote that Trump’s withdrawal from the deal and the imposition of “maximum pressure” sanctions have largely backfired, leading to Tehran’s “increasingly provocative action in the Gulf” and program advancement. nuclear.

“Rather than joining the United States on a united front to isolate Iran, America’s allies and partners try to act as a mediator between what they see as two rogue actors: Washington and Tehran,” he wrote.

Former State Department official Lawrence noted that bringing Iran, which defies Trump’s efforts to negotiate a new pact and has urged Biden to return to the 2015 deal, back to capability is one area that could see strife in its new early days. administration.

“I think there is significant disagreement within this group about how confrontational to be with Iran over non-nuclear issues,” he said, “and how to reassess the maximum pressure strategy.”

Approach to Israel

The Biden administration is expected to take tougher action with Netanyahu than Trump, especially in seeking to save the Iran nuclear deal, while remaining a staunch defender of Israeli interests.

“The Trump administration is giving the Netanyahu administration one gift after another, from moving the embassy to Jerusalem to closing ties with the Palestinian Authority,” said Riedel of the Brookings Institution. “I don’t think you’ll see the Biden government handing out so much free stuff.”

Blinken, in a recent interview with the Times of Israel, said that Biden “will never leave Israeli security, even at a time when he may disagree with some of his policies”. He also said he opposed any “attempts to delegitimize or unfairly choose Israel”, including by the United Nations Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and act.

While lauding the recent normalization agreement between the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Israel, Blinken is also wary of further approval from the State Department for the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. He told the Times of Israel that the deal had a “quid pro quo” mark and that the Biden administration would “be closely watching” the sale.

Director of Intelligence

Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, also faces opposition from some progressive and human rights activists over his Middle East record.

Critics say Haines, Obama’s deputy national security adviser and the first woman to serve as CIA deputy director, helped mitigate the impact, through the editorial, of a 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report that revealed the extent to which the CIA’s torture program was called the “war on terror” in Middle East during President George W Bush’s administration, according to the Daily Beast.

She has also been criticized for supporting Trump’s candidacy for CIA Director Gina Haspel, which is directly linked to the agency’s torture program.

Meanwhile, Obama-era officials have defended Haines, saying he is a leading voice in a government calling for curbing the expanding drone campaign in the Middle East and South Asia. That leads to more transparency and a higher standard of who can be targeted.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the Daily Beast “The fact is that more innocent civilians will die and a much broader set of targets will be pursued without the changes she gets.”

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Brexit talks: Joe Biden says Britain and Ireland must not have tough borders | Political | Instant News


US President-elect, Joe Biden, has repeated calls for the border between Ireland and Great Britain to remain open as controversial issues threaten to complicate the final stages of the Brexit process.

Biden has stressed the importance of protecting Northern Ireland’s peace deal on Brexi proceedings in a call with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, after Democrats won the US election against Donald Trump. He also said he had discussed the matter with other European leaders.

Johnson’s government is seeking a trade deal with the European Union but has said he was willing to leave without anyone. That could complicate the situation on Northern Ireland’s sensitive border with Ireland – Britain’s only land border with the EU.

Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, Tuesday that the border must be opened.

“We don’t want guarded borders,” he said, answering a question from a reporter about what he would say to Brexit negotiators.

The 1998 Good Friday peace deal helped end 30 years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and created an institution for cross-border cooperation on the island. Ireland.

Johnson filed law in September that would violate Northern Irish protocol of the Brexit divorce agreement that seeks to circumvent the physical customs border between the UK and Irish provinces that are members of the EU.

Biden, who has spoken of the importance of his Irish heritage, warned several months ago as a Democratic presidential candidate that Britain must honor the 1998 agreement because of either withdrawing from the bloc or there is no separate US trade deal.

Johnson has never met Biden and commentators have suggested the prime minister must work hard to foster a “special relationship” between the historic allies.

The Irish prime minister said on Monday that he hopes the outline of a Brexit free trade deal will emerge by the end of this week, despite what EU negotiators call “fundamental divergences” in talks.

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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern offers knowledge about the corona virus to Joe Biden | Instant News


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Updated:

In this photo provided by the Prime Minister’s Office of New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to US President-elect Joe Biden by telephone at his office in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, 23 November 2020. (New Zealand Prime Minister’s Office via AP)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday became the latest world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory, saying she offered to share her country’s expertise in dealing with the coronavirus.

Ardern said the tone of the 20-minute phone call was warm and that Biden spoke very well of how New Zealand is handling the pandemic.

“What’s at the heart of our response are some basics around testing, contact tracing, isolation,” Ardern said. “It is over and above what we have done at our borders.”

New Zealand has largely managed to get rid of the virus after imposing a tight lockdown in March and closing its borders. Only 25 people in a country of 5 million have died from COVID-19.

Ardern said Biden wanted to continue discussions on New Zealand’s response further. But he cautioned that the nation model may not be replicated everywhere.

“Although New Zealand has a number of natural advantages that have helped us in dealing with the virus, I firmly believe that international cooperation continues to be the key to controlling the virus,” Ardern said. “We are happy to work with any country to share our knowledge and data if that helps.”

Ardern said he and Biden also discussed trade and climate change issues, and spoke about the Irish president-elect’s legacy and fond memories of visiting New Zealand several years ago. He said he invited her to come visit again.

In a statement, Biden praised Ardern’s “extraordinary leadership” after the 2019 mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques, and as a role model and working mother.

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