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US foreign policy outlook in 2024

The year 2023 began relatively strong for the U.S. in terms of its claim to global leadership in foreign policy. However, due to a strategic blind spot in the context of the Gaza conflict, it ended on a disappointing note. In the upcoming year, it is not difficult to predict that the Biden administration will attempt to diminish this loss of reputation. However, President Biden's unwavering support for Israel poses a significant obstacle. While Washington acknowledges the unsustainability of this stance, overcoming it to influence Israel's "war cabinet" will require more than leaking discontent to the press. In 2024, Biden must shift his focus from providing ideological support to Israel and concentrate on repairing America's political interests and reputation. Failing to do so will hinder his ability to unite his party or establish superiority in the power struggle with Russia and China.


Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's pursuit of expanding the war towards Lebanon and Syria to safeguard his political career clashes with Biden's reluctance to involve the U.S. directly in a regional conflict during an election year. The scenario of the war spreading to Lebanon is unequivocally something Washington must avoid, as it is known that Iran would act to protect Hezbollah. If Israel attacks Hezbollah, and Netanyahu's threat to turn Beirut into another Gaza materializes, it could draw America into the conflict. As seen with the Houthi rebels in Yemen, pro-Iranian groups in the region can significantly harm Israel and America's interests. While the Biden administration may not seek war with Iran, continued unconditional support for Israel could pull them into the conflict.


PRESIDENTIAL RACE

For Biden to secure re-election in November, he must downplay the Palestinian issue, as dissatisfaction within his party could lead to key states' losses. There is ample time until the November elections, and the fear of Trump may prevail among centrist voters. However, motivating various components of the Biden coalition, particularly young Democrats and Muslims, is crucial. Biden's age, the immigration crisis, rising living costs, and events in Gaza shape public perception and negatively impact the President's image. Considering that the upcoming year's most critical agenda item is the presidential elections, Biden must shift focus and reunite his seemingly fragmented coalition. Believing that the argument "we must prevent Trump from returning, as democracy will be at stake if he does" will suffice would be naive.


GLOBAL POWER STRUGGLE

As the Biden administration continues to face challenges in the Middle East towards the November elections, its ability to provide ongoing assistance to Ukraine has significantly weakened. While Biden successfully led Western efforts to isolate Russia and send a message to China regarding Ukraine, the inability of Ukraine to achieve a clear victory and many countries' reluctance to sever ties with Russia and China have undermined Washington's strategy. The Biden administration, in its pursuit of countering Russia and China, made the mistake of bringing these two powers closer together, but it is now attempting to rectify this through renewed engagement with China. It can be predicted that Biden, in 2024, will avoid inviting a Taiwan crisis by continuing cooperation with China, as he would not want to face such a challenge in an election year. However, softening the rhetoric towards China will also have domestic political costs, as Republican candidates are likely to advocate more hawkish policies on China.


Biden will likely seek to continue leveraging the bipartisan antipathy towards Russia in Congress. Still, he may have to make significant concessions on providing aid to Ukraine. As the urgency of immediate assistance to Ukraine is known not to work, Biden included aid to Israel in the same package. To ensure the package passes as he wishes, Biden will have to take firm steps on the immigration crisis, but this may incur the wrath of minority groups within the party. If Biden fails to push the aid through Congress, he may have to incentivize Ukraine to negotiate with Russia. While such a scenario may not allow Russia to achieve its goal of fully taking over Ukraine, it could still claim victory by bringing the West to its knees.


The high cost of the Biden administration's focus on Russia and China to the neglect of the Middle East has been evident. In 2024, it may attempt to rectify this mistake, but a change in the unconditional support policy towards Israel is necessary. If the administration cannot prevent the war from spreading in the region, it may find itself entangled in military intervention in the Middle East again. Such a scenario would distract America from its global power struggle with China and Russia. China, calculating that Biden is vulnerable in the run-up to the election, might take advantage and act in Taiwan. In 2024, the agendas of the Middle East, Ukraine, China, and the presidential election will shape American foreign policy's most important dynamics. The Biden administration's ability (or inability) to manage these interrelated critical files will determine whether America's claim to global leadership in foreign policy continues.

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#US
#Foreign policy
#outlook
#2024
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