Europeans can’t figure Joe Biden out, says Luc de Barochez in Le Point. Afghanistan was an avoidable disaster. He isn’t the heir to Obama we were expecting. Far from being the “anti-Trump”, he refuses to open the borders, cosy up with China or talk up free trade. On the other hand, Biden is doing many things right. To prevent Donald Trump – or another like-minded populist – from being elected in 2024, he must bring America together. This is why he thinks it’s more urgent “to vaccinate Americans and rebuild bridges in Pennsylvania” than to defend women’s rights in Kabul. It’s America, not the Middle East, where he “must first make democracy work”.
The funny thing is that Biden’s doctrine is “very European”. His belief that public spending can boost a flagging economy and his scepticism of “forever wars” is shared by many on the Old Continent. Titanic trillion-dollar spending bills are laying the foundation for a “European welfare state” designed to heal a fractured America. Biden’s belief in prioritising domestic interests is not very far from Trump’s “America First”. But it’s not isolationist. The point is to erase the impression that America is in decline, to whip it into shape for the great fight with China. Rather than sulking, Europeans should take a good look in the mirror.