Half-a-year in, what about Joe-plomacy?



“What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds”
– Will Rogers

Joe Biden hasn’t been US president very long but six months are up, as of July 20. In that half-year, he’s run an MOT and a tune-up of America’s foreign policy apparatus.

He’s re-opened the usual diplomatic channels.

He’s reassured allies that America will be predictable.

Adversaries know too that Mr Biden’s America will be predictable.

After four years of Donald Trump’s tweetstorms and social media sulks, we’re back in the usual world of an American presidency that doesn’t have the commander-in-chief undercutting his secretary of state, even as he empowers his diplomats and allows meetings to run as they should.

Axios recently quoted Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, on all that’s happened from the afternoon of January 20, when Mr Biden was inaugurated: “They’ve made the necessary calls, traveled to the right places, attended the appropriate meetings.”

Quite. Dull and worthy is good.

That said, it’s just not enough to keep repeating as Mr Biden does, that “America is back. He has to convince the world that we are staying,” Mr Daalder added.

How will Mr Biden do that? Mr Daalder suggested that during summits and international meet-ups,” he needs to pivot — from saying we’re back to proposing an agenda to allies to meet the challenges we face”.

True. That, more than anything else, will be Joe-plomacy. But it’s not clear if everyone will buy it or want to go along.