The US Presidential Elections have the whole world watching with bated breath. The Elections outcome hangs on a razor’s edge as Biden nears the finish line. In a time like this one can’t help but wonder what does a Biden Victory mean for Pakistan?
First, let’s take a look at Trump’s first term. Trump’s foreign policy is, as we know so called “America First”. This has led to nullifying many International agreements and restructuring trade deals with individual countries to try to make them look more advantageous to the U.S. Under the administration of President Trump, the United States got rid of the Iran nuclear deal, abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, walked out of the Paris agreement, pulled out of the Human Rights Council and the UN Education and Scientific and Cultural Organization. Not only this, he scrapped the funding for the World Trade Organisation, threatened to pull out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and started the process to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
President Trump’s rigid attitude annoyed even the closest of their allies. It became harder for Pakistan to put up with the United States’ rigid stance. However, the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. during Trump’s first term was satisfactory. Despite some positive rhetoric from Trump regarding Pakistan there has been little forward progress toward substantively improving the ties between the two nations. It is most likely this would carry on If Trump were to get re-elected.
On the other side as Obama’s Vice-President, Biden played a lead role in helping develop the Obama’s administration policy on Afghanistan, Iraq, and other conflict areas. Both positions allowed Biden to gain considerable knowledge of and exposure to Pakistan. He had input into shaping the landmark Kerry-Lugar Bill signed into law in 2009 which provided $7.5 billion of non-military aid to Pakistan between 2010 to 2014. Biden was given the Hilal-e-Pakistan, in 2008, for the role he played in contributing to democracy and social-economic development in Pakistan.
The bottom line is that not much will change with regards to the United States’ foreign policy towards Pakistan. Although Analysts believe that Biden intends to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, but it’ll be a steady withdrawal as opposed to an abrupt withdrawal, the latter of which destabilizes the region and spells trouble for Pakistan. Analysts expect a Biden win to signify a return to a more ‘normal’ foreign policy paradigm for Pakistan.
The one country in the region where we can expect to see a difference between Trump’s foreign policy Vs Biden’s is, Iran. That’s good news for Pakistan. Biden is likely to re-engage the Iran nuclear deal that Trump walked away from. This is expected to re-calibrate the power balance in the region.
Although this next point is a long shot, but it is worth considering. There hasn’t been a specific policy for Pakistan in terms of the United States’ foreign policy, everything has been done through a secondary lens. With Biden in office, if Pakistan plays its cards right and engages in proactive diplomacy, we could at least have a receptive ear.
Many Experts have an opinion that Pakistan desperately needs the IMF loan program — which was suspended in February — to be resumed. It needs clearance by the FATF, and access to cheap Iranian oil and gas to prop the economy back up. In the case of Trump getting re-elected, It is hard to imagine that their attitude towards Pakistan would shift. All things considered, It looks like Biden is a better bet for Pakistan.
Some believe that Biden means to be an Obama 2.0 if he gets elected. However, people have a different opinion on whether that is good or not.
What do you think? Out of Biden and Trump, who might prove to be better for us?