What does the world expect from Joe Biden?

Art by Annie Gugliotta

In the weeks leading up to the US presidential election, we spoke to journalists and commentators from around the world about how the result might affect their countries. Then, in the days after Joe Biden's victory became clear, we went back to some of them to see what they now expect from the next American administration. Here's what we heard from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Mexico, and the Philippines.


BRAZIL: Bolsonaro is alone now

Guga Chacra, Globo News

[Brazilian President Jair] Bolsonaro isn't just a leader who wants to have good relations with Trump, like Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. He wants to replicate Trump in Brazil. The American president is his idol, his model, his inspiration. Without Trump, Bolsonaro won't have his narrative that there is a right wing alliance between him and Trump against "the communists and globalists." That is why it will be so hard for him to accept Trump's defeat. Also, he sees Biden as a leftist. It will not be easy for him to develop good relations with him. Bolsonaro is ideological, not pragmatic.

CHINA: Conflict and cooperation, at once

Wang Xiangwei, South China Morning Post

There is a growing cautious optimism in China that a Biden presidency is more likely to put a floor under the current near free-fall in relations. Having said that, Chinese officials believe that Biden will continue a hardened China policy even though his approach will be different from Trump's erratic and unpredictable style.

I believe that US-China relations could head for a new normal, characterized by intensifying confrontation and competition on issues like technology, human rights and international norms but increased cooperation on global issues including climate change and future pandemics.

ETHIOPIA: Now we have a partner again

Samuel Getachew, The Reporter

The United States remains an important nation. Despite its shortcomings, its voice is still valued and needed in the world. From democracy to human rights and trade, most people in the world see its importance. It was disheartening when it started becoming more protectionist, less of a partner in the world in the last four years. I see the vote for a Biden presidency as an endorsement of that traditional role and a rejection of what Trump was and represented. Ethiopians do feel there is now a partner and a mediator to the many challenges of not just Ethiopia but of a troubled region.

INDIA: Hoping for "American friends first"

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, The Hindustan Times

India expects Washington's tone to soften on trade and immigration, but the trajectory of US policies not to change. The hope is the US will be less "America First" and more "American and friends first" as it continues to retreat from the idea of a world without economic barriers.

India believes Biden will soft-pedal the military element of the response to China, preferring to focus on trade and technology. New Delhi believes this is an error but believes China's own actions will force Biden to change track eventually.

The most important policy difference with Biden will be climate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees climate change as an existential threat to India. The Biden team has already been reaching out to fast-track cooperation in this area.

IRAN: Time is running out ahead of June election

Negar Mortazevi, Washington DC-based journalist covering Iran and the Middle East

Many Iranians are optimistic about the end of the Trump era. They want better political and economic relations with the West and prefer to de-escalate tensions with the US so that crippling sanctions are lifted. Sanctions have had a tremendous impact on the lives of ordinary Iranians, middle and working classes.

Iranian officials are urging Joe Biden to return to the nuclear deal and it is important for him to ensure a clean and mutual return to the JCPOA [the 2015 Iran nuclear deal] before we hit Iran's presidential election in June, and a change of power in Tehran.

Iranian officials have also started talking about a form of guarantee from the US to ensure that if the Biden administration returns to the deal, the next admin will not be able to leave again. This is arguably how many countries view agreements with the US now.

ISRAEL: Did Netanyahu lose his Trump card?

Neri Zilber, Tel Aviv-based journalist/commentator

The Israeli public clearly favored Trump, but the immediate post-election reaction has been more confusion than shock — watching on, like the rest of the world, at the slow, dysfunctional pace of American democracy.

The Israeli government is expecting less support from a Biden administration relative to the unconditional favoritism of Trump the past four years. However, bilateral ties, including military, will remain strong — which would be in line with Biden's own decades-long support for Israel and traditionalist foreign policy.

The more prosaic analysis is that Biden will be too consumed by domestic troubles to care much about Israel and the Middle East. The more severe analysis is that, with Trump gone, Netanyahu has lost his closest foreign ally and most important domestic political card.

JAPAN: A welcome return of predictability

Junko Tanaka, former Washington DC bureau chief for NHK

Japan would welcome the predictability, and the respect for liberal international order and alliance mechanism under President-elect Biden. And with regards to China, we have yet to see if Japan would gain from Biden's more nuanced policy or not. Japan expects the US to check China's rise without destabilizing the region. However, we don't want the US to become too soft on China. Hopefully, the Biden administration will listen to allies in the region and pursue a balanced policy towards China.

PHILIPPINES: Deja vu for Filipinos!

Camille Elemia, Rappler

[Philippine President Rodrigo] Duterte has less than two years in power, and he's pretty preoccupied with a lot of things. I think he's still trying to weigh things now — especially on how Biden will deal with China and with Xi Jinping, who is an ally of Duterte's. But as long as Biden doesn't publicly attack Duterte and his human rights record, there's a chance they'll be off to a good or civil start.

The way Trump reacted to the election, by the way, is highly typical of a Filipino politician in fact Filipinos online were comparing Trump to Ferdinand Marcos Jr. They have the same strategy. It's like déjà vu for Filipinos. Here in the Philippines, nobody loses, everybody gets cheated.

MEXICO: A gradual process of normalization

Carlos Bravo Regidor, political analyst and professor in Mexico City

For Mexico, a Biden presidency could mean a gradual process of normalization, after the turbulences brought about by the Trump administration to the bilateral relationship. Yet, it will also mean a new set of challenges. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and Biden have very different ideas and policies on issues such as energy, security, environment, labor, or investor rights. Biden might be a more orthodox American president, but AMLO will still be a rather unorthodox counterpart.

[On AMLO's refusal to recognize Biden's win]: The Mexican government's response to what is happening in the US isn't a defense of the vote, it's flirting with a coup attempt. This posture advances no foreign policy principle or notion of the national interest — Mexico has nothing to gain if Trump wrecks the orderly transfer of power. Quite the opposite.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

After Biden's first visit, do his European allies feel that America is back?

I think they do. Wasn't particularly surprising, we've heard that message before. But now it was, sort of more concrete issues. I'm not certain there was, sort of major, major, major progress. But there was the beginning of a dialogue on trade and technology issues with Europe, clearly on security issues with NATO, and quite a number of other issues with G7, and general satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting with Putin. So, altogether good.

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Listen: Former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder weighs in on US President Joe Biden's first trip abroad, which included a very important first stop at the G7 summit in the United Kingdom, and the way forward for the US and its closest friends. Did he convince allies that "America is back" and ready to resume its leadership role in global affairs? And if so, does it even matter if Americans still need to be convinced that US engagement in the world is vital? Daalder speaks with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

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