The International Effects of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration

The recent Inauguration involving Joe Biden and Kamala Harris not only brings changes to the United States, but it will inevitably impact our relations with the rest of the world.

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Jake Dietlin, Emma Di Coio, and Will Hite

    With the inauguration of Joe Biden, we enter a new political era that will bring change to our country and the rest of the world. Biden had campaigned on mending alliances with other nations that had formerly been broken ― and so far, he has worked to keep that promise. Under executive orders, the United States has reentered both the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, along with signing many other executive orders into law that will stop or reverse some of the actions that former President Donald Trump has taken. 

    Federica Ciabatti, a former exchange student from Italy, shares her optimism regarding the United States’ future under Biden’s lead. 

    “I think that with Biden as the president, America’s political climate will change for the better since he plans to make important measures, unlike Trump,” said Ciabatti. In line with Ciabatti’s predictions, Biden has already begun to take the initiative in making those “important” decisions.

    Within his first few hours as president, Joe Biden officially signed papers to begin the one-month entrance process into the Paris Agreement. This international agreement was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly and limit global warming temperature to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius (2.7-3.6 F) compared to the pre-industrial era. Since the Paris Agreement was created in December of 2015, the United States has been the only country to withdraw. Three years after President Donald Trump initially stated that he would remove the United States from the global institution, he officially detached the U.S. in his executive orders. European countries understood the importance of the United States remaining in the agreement and lobbied for the U.S. to stay; however, Trump had other plans in focus and removed his country from the organization. Resulting from the U.S. leaving, the overall budget of the accord suffered because the combination of the other countries could not pick up the slack of the United States’ absence. Other countries worried about keeping up with the loss of funding for making innovative technology for renewable energy. After rejoining, Biden will contribute a lot of money to the organization and expand its budget. It is expected that developed countries contribute more financial assistance to the program; that being said, it is very beneficial to the organization that the U.S. rejoined. It can help distribute some of the load that was put on other countries during America’s absence.

    Even as Biden stresses accountability for long-term issues like climate change, his new administration doubles down on the previous efforts to combat COVID-19. On a global scale, the first step in doing this was the executive order signed to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO). While the WHO currently stands at 194 participating nations, or member states, the United States has drawn immense internal criticism for being the lead funder in nearly every WHO expedition. Former President Trump stated that he withdrew from the organization for that reason: he felt the United States paid too much and received too little. However, the prompt rejoining of the organization elicited reassuring support and commendation from the WHO itself, which typically refrains from commenting on political matters:

    “This is a good day for WHO, and a good day for global health,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    The WHO’s comment comes as new surges of the virus emerge worldwide, only further highlighting the need to provide countries with enough capital to improve their medical technology and enforce health care. The United States’ financial resources will play a key role in combating the rampant coronavirus with a unified multinational strategy, perhaps tipping the scales towards a successful global vaccination rollout.

    Biden’s inauguration has sparked various reactions among the national leaders and the general population worldwide. Some countries view the transition as a beneficial event and happily welcome Biden, while others have praised Trump and are not as pleased with the reversal of regulations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who politically benefitted from Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, praised Trump on the January day. While some leaders have expressed their fondness for the previous Trump era, it is clear that Biden is starting with an overall good world standing. Decades in politics as a senator and vice president have allowed him extensive opportunities to forge bonds with foreign leaders and understand each nation’s inner workings on a much deeper level. 

    Numerous countries around the globe, such as South Korea, the United Kingdom, and France, have happily accepted Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the new leaders of the United States. Moon Jae-in, the Prime Minister of South Korea, views the inauguration as a strong step towards democracy. 

    “America’s new beginning will make democracy even greater. Together with the Korean people, I stand by your journey toward ‘America United,'” tweeted Jae-in.

   In another amiable tweet, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Biden, along with the U.S., back to the Paris Agreement.

    “We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!” said Macron.

  In addition to South Korea and France’s positive responses, Italy will also benefit from the transition of power to Biden and Harris. Former exchange student Ciabatti of Italy takes note of the inauguration from an international perspective; she believes that the U.S.-Italy alliance will prosper under a new leader.

    “I think that Biden being president will benefit the alliance and the relationships between America and Italy. Biden seems more willing to cooperate with Italy, and also Europe, and even more cautious. I don’t think that episodes like the almost outbreak of World War III and Italy being pointed out as the COVID crux will happen again with Biden being president,” said Ciabatti. In generating a mostly favorable reception by other countries in his inauguration, Biden seeks to strengthen these alliances in his time as president.

    These significant changes occurring so quickly after Biden’s inauguration reinforces the hope for renewed relationships with other countries as well as an emphasis on the importance of the future. As many leaders have been congratulatory and looking forward to working with the new administration, Biden still has a lot of work to do to mend alliances. Biden’s executive orders hold the force of law behind them and are permanent for his presidency. Still, once another president is nominated, many of these orders signed could be quickly repealed. To cement and enforce these critical regulations, Biden plans to push for legislation on these issues. Ciabatti comments on Biden’s aims for unifying and connecting America to the rest of the world.

    “I think that America’s relationships with the rest of the world will be better maintained by Biden since he seems more likely to have a dialogue and to settle for a compromise,” said Ciabatti.