April 30 marks 100 days since US President Joe Biden's inauguration. This essential symbolic milestone prompts White House owners to traditionally review their first achievements in ruling the country. In this article, we will try to briefly analyze both the progress and failures of the 46th American President.
To begin with, Joe Biden is not really popular among the Americans. We can suggest this by scrutinizing his approval ratings: according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, the current White House leader's policy is supported by 52% of US citizens. Only two presidents have fared worse since the end of World War II: Gerald Ford in 1974 (48%) and Donald Trump in 2017 (42%).
At the same time, 65% of Americans surveyed approve of Biden's "coronavirus relief package", with 64% having a generally positive attitude to the anti-coronavirus policy pursued by the current head of state. And this stands to reason: his reign yielded over 236 million anti-COVID vaccinations in the United States. More than half of Americans (58%) also support the idea of raising taxes on the rich and huge ($2 trillion) infrastructure investments. At the same time, only 37% of respondents speak favorably of his endeavors to cope with the US-Mexican border crisis involving tens of thousands illegal migrants.
Another noteworthy thing is the interparty split that has emerged since the beginning of the XXI century. Biden's performance is approved by 90% of Democrats and only 13% of Republicans. Another aggravation between them may be caused by the pending bill on establishing a commission to deal with issues of slavery and discrimination, as well as reparations to slave descendants. The commission will study discrimination against the United States' black population since 1619, decide how the state will apologize to slave descendants and assess their compensations. These initiatives are baked by the Democrats alone. Republicans deem it unfair to take $20 million from people having nothing to do with slavery and give it to those who have never experienced such a thing. But there is a place in the US where reparations are already being paid, namely the city of Evanston, Illinois, where citizens will get $25 thousand for mortgage or home renovation. This money will be only available to Afro-Americans who directly descend from residents of this city.
Another major domestic policy challenge for Biden was the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of murdering African-American man George Floyd. Having occurred in May 2020, this incident stirred up the American society, propelling the issue of police brutality into the top discussion points, and bringing black rights activists to the streets in quest of countering the police. Chauvin's guilty verdict delivered by a jury on April 21 prevented an escalation of protests, but failed to strike out questions regarding police actions against colored community members. The country has yet to implement a police service reform, the need for which is matter in hand both in the United States and abroad.
However, we were pointedly more interested in Joe Biden's international moves, primarily the issue of US-Russian relations. A positive point here is that just a week after his inauguration – on January 27 – Biden signed a decree to prolong Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START-3), which expired on February 4, 2021. Please note that this treaty between Russia and the United States is the only deterrent to a global nuclear arms race.
This move by Joseph Biden is certainly a good thing but it remains the only bright spot in the extremely uneasy Russian-American relations. According to many experts, those are in the doldrums. Suffice it to recall that the two countries' ambassadors Anatoly Antonov and John Sullivan are now in Moscow and Washington respectively, where they have arrived "for consultations". Biden himself, in an interview with ABC News on March 17, promised that the Russian president would "pay" for his possible interference in the American elections and echoed the correspondent to call Vladimir Putin a murdered. After that, the countries exchanged mutual expulsions of diplomats. In short, Russian-American relations saw no good in the first 100 days of Biden's presidency. And we can hardly hope for any future improvement, despite Washington's initiative to hold a Putin-Biden summit in some neutral territory this summer.
It should be acknowledged that China remains Biden administration's key foreign policy challenge, as Washington has had a major argument with it back in the Trump era. As previously predicted, the strategic perception of China as an enemy, as a challenge for the United States, will be alive and well, but Biden's administration may start looking for softer leverage in relations with Beijing. As the two countries' March negotiations in Anchorage have showed, there are no dominant features of any thaw in US-Chinese relations so far.
It should be noted that as regards other global areas, the Biden administration has not really succeeded over the past hundred days. The situation with the Iranian nuclear deal is vague. The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan has been postponed until September 11, which can be hardly considered a final term given the White House's vagaries. Moreover, the Pentagon is by and large committed to maintaining a military presence on Afghan soil, arguing that an untimely American departure may cause the Kabul government to collapse under militant pressure. On February 5, Biden nevertheless managed to appease his European allies, saying Washington was only going to cement the transatlantic partnership.
Environmental issues are the only sphere for Biden to excel during his 100 days in office. He brought the United States back to the Paris Climate Agreement, and also arranged the April 22-23 climate summit involving 40 world leaders, Vladimir Putin among them (despite all the disputes). However, the pandemic recalibrated the summit, making it virtual. And Joe Biden not only urged the leaders of other countries to join efforts in combating the shared problem of global warming, but also declared an overreaching goal. The United States, according to him, intends to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by 50% by 2030 against the level of 2005. Another crucial aspect of the summit was Joe Biden's statement that he looks forward to working with Russia following President Putin's call for jointly combating climate by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Well, maybe this message will pave the way for an improvement in Russian-American relations. You never know...