President Biden: "America is Rising Anew"

The U.S. President Joe Biden has addressed a joint session in Congress for the first time since taking office. President Biden declared that "America is rising anew" in his speech, in which he highlighted his economic plans.

The U.S. President has started his speech by saying, "It has been 100 days since I inherited a nation in crisis. I can tell you this after 100 days: America is advancing again by turning peril into possibility, crisis into opportunity, setbacks into strengths."

Highlighting the process made regarding the fight with the pandemic since his taking office, Joe Biden said, "Less than 1% of the seniors were fully vaccinated when I was sworn in. Approximately 70% of the seniors are vaccinated after 100 days." He also called for those who have not been vaccinated so far to get the vaccine.

-He explained the details of the family support plan.
-"Middle class" emphasis: "It is time for the wealthiest 1% of the American population to begin to pay their fair share."
-"We must prove America's adversaries wrong." said President Biden. He also stated that they have to prove the U.S. democracy works, solves the public's problems, and gives results.
-George Floyd and the police reform message
"We must work together to eliminate systemic racism in the criminal justice system and to restore the trust between the police and the people they serve," he said.

A message for China

Relations with China were also on the agenda of U.S. President Biden. He said that he clearly stated in his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping that they do not want conflict with China and they will defend America's interests across the board.

"We can end cancer."
President Biden underlined that America should lead the world in the field of health and science. "I can think of no more worthy investment," said Biden. "Let's end cancer. It is within our power," he stated.

"Gun violence is an epidemic in America."


"I know how hard it is to make progress on this issue. I will do everything in my power to protect the American people from this epidemic of gun violence. But it's time for Congress to act as well." he said.

A first in American history

Behind the President of the U.S. for the first time sat two senior female government officials, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

About 200 people watched President's speech due to the pandemic.
 
Polls after the President Speech:
 
CBS News-YouGov: 85% of viewers said they approved of Biden’s speech
 
A CNN-SSRS : 78% of respondents had a very or somewhat positive reaction to Biden’s speech
 
President Biden's first Congressional speech  drew 26.9 million viewers, according to figures from ratings company Nielsen. 45th President Trump's first speech at Congress had 47.7 million viewers in 2017.
 

Major Pressure on Russia During the Biden Era

The impacts of U.S. President Joe Biden's sanctions against Russia continue to be spoken in the world public opinion. The U.S. administration has stated that it has decided to impose sanctions against Russia for three reasons. Russia's interference in the presidential elections, the cyberattacks on the U.S. energy sector, and the reports that Russia paid bounties on the U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan were indicated. In this framework, Biden Administration has announced that;

- The expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats
- As of June 14, the U.S. financial institutions will be banned from taking part in the primary market for bonds issued by the Central Bank of Russia, the National Wealth Fund of Russia, and the Russian Ministry of Finance
- 6 technology companies that support Russia's cyber activities are also on the sanction list
- There will also be sanctions imposed against 16 individuals and 16 media outlets that tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections.

Biden: "Now is time to de-escalate tensions."


By saying that "We could have gone further, but I chose not to do so," in his special 7-minute talk at the White House, President Biden underlined their unwillingness to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. Biden said, 
 
" I propose to Putin that we meet in person this summer in Europe. I expressed concern about Russia's military buildup on Ukraine's border and occupied and unoccupied Crimea. I affirmed U.S. support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of #Ukraine, and I strongly urge him to refrain from any military action."

Russian Aggression in Ukraine is Still a Major Problem

It is well known that the U.S. Administration is anxious about Russia's ever-increasing troop buildup around the east of Ukraine and provocations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and allied member countries in Brussels and made a joint statement on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Biden Administration is exercising intense international diplomacy to support Ukraine thoroughly and so that Russia does not take action similar to the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Unclarity on U.S. Navy Ships in Black Sea  


The U.S. Department of Defense explained  that demand for warships going to the Black Sea wasn't made recently.In addition, Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that the U.S. has given up sending military ships. It is known that the U.S. The Navy routinely conducts operations within the NATO exercise framework in the Black Sea. It is expected that the U.S. will continue pressuring Russia by collaborating with the allies.

It is not clear whether the U.S. sanctions will bring any changes in Russia's actions especially considering that the previous precautions taken by the U.S. failed to terminate the Russian cyber attacks. Some Russian diplomats were also expelled in 2016 during former President Barack Obama's presidency due to Russia's interference. On the other hand, although Donald Trump does not criticize Putin, he had put in place the option of deporting some Russian diplomats upon the allegations of Russia's poisoning a former intelligence service agent in England in 2018.

Foreign Policy Priorities for the BIDEN Administration and Repair of Global Alliances

Putting democracy, diplomacy, multilateralism, and restoration of alliances at the center of the foreign policy plan with President Biden, the U.S. is trying to correct the erosion of America's image on international platforms in order to resolve the concerns caused by Trump's "America First" doctrine among its allies and to strengthen the alliances. Emphasizing the phrase "America is back," especially in events closely followed by the international community, such as America's reintegration into the Paris Agreement, which was one of his first actions, President Biden has shown that America will lead global issues that require international responsibility and return to the global leadership race.

During his speech at a university in New York in 2019, Biden said, "To me, foreign policy is domestic policy, and domestic policy is foreign policy. They are deeply connected." He added that U.S. security depends directly on "having the strongest network of partners and alliances working alongside one another." Especially since almost all of the National Security and Foreign Policy team was formed during President Obama's term, President Biden knows very well the mistakes made in the past. Likewise, he is also aware that with the COVID-19 outbreak, different dynamics are now emerging in many regions, including the Middle East. In this regard, while talking about American foreign policy's priorities, Secretary of State Antony Blinken's most recent statement, "We are against military coups, we will promote democracy globally," is a very remarkable one. This is particularly important because, in many countries, including Turkey, the perception that the U.S. would overthrow the government using different methods has taken root. Secretary Blinken also underlined that building lasting peace, even in Afghanistan and the Middle East, is now more important than military power.

For the first time since he took office, Biden had the opportunity to express his expectations of Europe and his views on the agenda he wants to create to strengthen transatlantic relations at the Munich Security Conference with the virtual participation of leaders such as the German Chancellor Merkel, French President Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the NATO Secretary-General, the President of the European Commission, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the President of the Council of Europe. Expressing America's determination to act together with NATO and its allies against global threats, Biden expressed his satisfaction with the investments made in Europe for developing military capacity and sharing the burden in the field of defense.

One of the important headlines at the summit, which was also included in Biden's agenda, was on China. Many actors in the global system have recently considered the relationship between NATO and Europe. Addressing the long-term strategic competition with China, Biden pointed out the struggle between democracies and autocracies in China and Russia, based on the approach that democracy is an important component of foreign policy. The Chinese issue is increasingly coming to the fore as a matter prioritized by the Biden administration in terms of national security. The fact that the largest team in the White House Security Council is the Indo-Pacific team shows that China is considered a threat, and the region is growing in importance for the United States. In this context, it seems that China is the priority for U.S. foreign policy.

Because Blinken had described China's relations with the U.S. as "The biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century" as well, the fact that the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Secretary of State Antony Blinken's first international trip will be to Japan and South Korea shows how much importance they attach to Asia-Pacific. This first trip, which is expected to be a threat, can also be perceived as the message "We won't let them run riot."

Returning to the Munich Security Conference, the general picture that emerged was that the main actors in the international system expressed their expectations from each other now that America was back and tried to determine to what degree their expectations fell in line with each other. We see that Biden has been trying to show that he wants to build on democracy and unification of foreign policy, as he did to domestic policy. Particularly, Biden's call for the Western alliance to act jointly against existing threats and to unite on the basis of common values and democracy can be considered a cross-reference to the disagreements with the Western ally.

It is expected that Biden will make the same statements on every platform where he finds an opportunity to resolve the disagreements with Macron and Merkel and to persuade European leaders to find joint solutions regarding how to compete with China, restructuring and strengthening NATO. Europe's attitude at this point will also be decisive for the future of transatlantic relations. Likewise, an agenda with broader topics such as "strategic autonomy," an independent Europe, a Europe that does not want to be caught in the U.S.–China trade wars awaits us.

Within the scope of the NATO 2030 plan, America's willingness to work in harmony with Europe on the subjects of restructuring and strengthening the alliance, social health policies in the fight against the pandemic, destructive technological developments, China's rise, Russia's threat, climate change, global terrorism, supporting democracies, reshaping global supply chains and especially the approaches of Germany and France, who are among the important actors of the European Union, on these issues, will also be decisive in terms of how these affairs will develop.

We are in a multipolar international system where the balance of power and alliances change in the face of shifting common interests and threats, technology production plays a critical role in shaping states' national security policies, and where we experience a different dimension of globalization. As emphasized at the Munich Security Conference, with COVID-19 in this new era, in which security will be defined in a much broader sense and will shift from a narrow military-focused approach to a much broader approach; social health, food security, and the climate crisis have become issues related to national security, and the importance of global alliances, transatlantic relations, and international solidarity has been increasing. It is becoming increasingly important that all actors agree on the vision that global issues such as the pandemic, the climate crisis, nuclear disarmament, and the refugee crisis are to be solved not through the singular protectionist and nationalistic policies of the states but through the policies they produce thanks to international cooperation, burden-sharing, and solidarity.

In view of all these internationally changing dynamics, in the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance recently announced by the White House administration, we notice statements that point to the fact that the most powerful U.S. military presence will be in the Pacific region and Europe. This document points that many issues, from China and Russia becoming threats to the U.S. to climate change, rising racism, and technological developments, pose a big problem for the United States. In the document, which points out that the U.S. should shape the future of the international system, the importance of alliances is emphasized notably. President Biden's inclination toward re-entering the Paris Agreement, becoming a member of the World Health Organization again, and sending out the message that "America is back" gives us clues that, after all, he will pursue a foreign policy in cooperation with allies. As expected, in the document, it is emphasized that the U.S. attaches great importance to Israel's security in the Middle East, Iran will be dissuaded from threatening other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the fight against terrorism will continue. It is also stated that the deficit in the defense budget will be met, and the government will work in coordination with Congress for the army to use technology at the ultimate level.

This era, in which American foreign policy will be shaped together with the allies and transatlantic relations will come to the forefront, also presents opportunities where new partnerships can be forged against new foes in areas where there are existing difficulties and traditional cooperation. These areas include the fight against ISIS in the Middle East, the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan within the NATO framework (Blinken's letter to Afghan leaders, where Turkey was asked to be a host is important in terms of our relations), the security of the Black Sea against the Russian threat, and the facilitation of negotiations with Iran. In order to benefit from all these opportunities, mutual trust, understanding, and sincerity have to be re-established on a higher level and between the institutions.

However, President Biden has not yet had a phone call to President Erdogan since he took office. Relevant meetings took place only between Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Although President Biden started the second round of phone calls with various presidents across the world, the fact that he has not yet called Turkey led to a series of speculations. First, President Biden has concentrated most heavily on domestic policy and the struggle against the pandemic. Turkey, like many countries, is not among Biden's priorities. However, President Biden is a leader who knows Turkey well, with him having visited Turkey four times during his vice presidency. We also know him as a name who has met President Erdogan many times. Currently, the most important problem of Turkish-American relations is the trust issue. The two NATO allies still don't trust each other. Reservations about YPG-PKK, S400/F35, Syria, and human rights in Turkey could be the first agenda items that come to mind. President Biden's remarks against Turkey during his campaign period are the reasons for tension, as well as Turkey's and Russia's intimacy. However, the multi-dimensional nature of Turkish-American relations should not be forgotten. Even though security is the backbone of the relationship of two countries, joint opportunities for innovative collaborations in the field of trade, education, culture, energy, and technology are also on both their agenda.

From the point of view of the U.S., while Congress members have sent three different letters against Turkey to the White House administration, 86 Congress members, who are Turkish friendship group members, also signed those letters. With each passing day, negative Turkish perception increases in Washington D.C., and anti-Turkish groups' common action plays a role in this matter. The action to be taken here is to overcome the problem of trust and to initiate a clear dialog. The closer relations Turkey will establish with Russia and Iran conflict with the interests of the U.S. and other Western countries. Solving problems within the NATO alliance, and Turkey working closely with the U.S. as it did in the past, will be appropriate.  In this context, establishing close relations with the European Union and developing multi-dimensional relations with the Asia-Pacific region, Turkey will continue to be an important ally of the U.S.

Ali Cinar, Senior Foreign Policy Expert and a 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipient.Cinar is also Senior Diplomatic Correspondent at Turk of America.

Selma Bardakci, Senior Foreign Policy Expert and Atlas Corp. Alumni (State Department is one of the sponsors of Atlas Corp.)

*** This article has published on The Media Line (Reference) 

On 18 Mar 2021 Thu at 01:30 ALI CINAR

Durakoglu becomes the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at State Department

The Biden Administration appointed Naz Durakoglu as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs.This is the highest ranking position that was given to a Turkish American woman in recent State Department History.

Naz Durakoglu is the third Turkish-American woman who received a senior position in the Biden Administration.

Three Successful Turkish-American Women under Biden Administration:

-Didem Nisanci,Chief of Staff, Department of Treasury

-Ozge Guzelsu,Deputy General Counsel (Legislation) of the U.S. Secretary of Defense

Who is Naz Durakoglu?

Prior to returning to the Department of State, she was Senior National Security Advisor to Senator Jeanne Shaheen from 2017 to 2021. In that capacity, she managed Democratic issues and activities on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and reestablished the bipartisan Senate NATO Observer Group.

Previously, Ms. Durakoğlu was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab where she testified before Congress and researched foreign election interference trends. Ms. Durakoğlu also served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, from 2015 to 2017. She began her career in the U.S. House of Representatives where she held various positions, including as Legislative Director to Congressman Bill Keating and Subcommittee Staff Director on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ms. Durakoğlu is a first-generation American who speaks fluent Turkish and holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a M.A. from the Naval War College.

President- Elect Joe Biden introduces " American Rescue" Package

President Elect Joe Biden announced the economic stimulus package that tackled the $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19. The American Rescue Plan includes measures that the vaccines will be widely distributed, and incentives aimed at keeping families and businesses afloat.
 
What is in the Rescue Plan?
 
  • -Direct payments of $1,400 to Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000, including recent $600 payments
  • -Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extension till  end of September 2021
  • -Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour
  • -Extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September 2021
  • -$350 billion in state and local government aid
  • -$170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education
  • -$50 billion toward Covid-19 testing
  • -$20 billion for national vaccine program
  • -Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and increasing the credit to $3,000 per child 
President Elect Joe Biden said “We have to act, and we have to act now. I know what I just described does not come cheaply, but failure to do so will cost us dearly,” 
 
Is Congress Ready to Approve the Biden's New Package?
 
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer  said that Congress would get right to work on President-elect Biden’s stimulus package."The emergency relief framework announced by the incoming Biden-Harris administration tonight is the right approach,”said by Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Republican Senator Josh Hawley indicated to support the Biden's package however Democrat Joe Manchin has expressed his skepticism on the package after Biden's press conference.

Biden: "The Incidents are a Result of Trump's Attack on Democracy"

Joe Biden, the US President-Elect, has said that President Trump has provoked the Capitol Building incidents. He described the incident, during which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building, as an "attack on the supremacy of law."
Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, Joe Biden described the incidents of yesterday as "One of the darkest days in U.S. history."

Appearing before the media to announce his Attorney General nomination, the President Elect Biden indicated that the people who stormed the Capitol Building could not be described as protestors. He used the term "domestic terrorist" to describe them.

"If they were black protestors, they would have been treated differently."

After the events that took place yesterday in the congress building, the criticism that the security forces were inadequate during the incident was brought up.
Joe Biden compared the intervention of security forces during George Floyd's protests with the intervention during the events yesterday and said it is clear that there was no equal practice of justice, "If they were black protestors, they would have been treated differently," he added.

Joe Biden said: "For the last four years, we have had a president who demonstrates that he disregards the rule of law, our democracy, the Constitution in everything he does.

President Elect Biden nominates Garland as the Attorney General.

Joe Biden declared that he nominated Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, as the Attorney General. Garland was former Democratic President Barack Obama's Supreme Court candidate, but his nomination was blocked by Republicans.

Following the election results from Georgia, Democrats, who now have the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, have also taken control of the Senate.

Joe Biden said he thinks Garland, whom he nominated as the Attorney General, could rapidly get Senate approval.In the case Garland gets Senate approval, it is said that he will assign a black Judge from Washington District, Ketanji Brown Jackson, as the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals in Garland's place.
 
However, an official statement has not yet been made yet from Biden's transition team regarding this.

President-Elect Biden: A First-Class Economic Team

At Biden-Harris  transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, President-Elect Joe Biden  introduced his new economic team as he called  "a 'First-Class' team who will bring America out of the financial crisis.

In his speech, Biden renewed his call to Congress to immediately pass the coronavirus economic aid package and stated that any potential aid package to be passed before January, when he takes over the Presidency, would only be the beginning. Biden added that his team had started working on the Coronavirus aid package and that the package would be announced immediately after he takes office.

"No one is more qualified than Yellen."

Biden officially announced Janet Yellen, the former President of the Federal Reserve (FED), as his nominee as the Secretary of Treasury. Yellen will be the first woman to take this role if she is approved by the Senate. Biden said, "No one is more qualified to deal with this crisis than Yellen."

Biden announced that he would be appointing Neera Tanden, the President of the Center for American Progress, a center for political and public research, as the head of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Tanden will be the first American woman of South Asian descent to take this role. 

When talking about Tanden, Biden said, "She understands the struggles that Americans are facing."

Biden picks Wally Adeyemo as Deputy Secretary of Treasury. Adeyemo will be the African American who has been given the highest role at the Treasury to date.

Biden has announced Cecilia Rouse, the Dean of the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs, as the Economic Advisor to the White House. Rouse will be the fourth woman, but the first black American, to take this role.

Biden also officially announced that Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey would be among the names on the economic council.

Biden said that he hoped his candidates would be approved swiftly by the Senate.

Yellen calls for swift action.

On the other hand, Yellen, who has been announced as the Secretary of Treasury by Biden, said, "We are experiencing a historic crisis due to the pandemic and the economic consequences it has brought with it." She underlined that the pandemic had affected the poorest in a disproportional manner and essential to take urgent action. She stated that it was of critical importance that economic recovery includes everyone.

Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, has proposed that the new economic aid package be merged with the budget proposal.

McConnell, who announced to the press after having discussions with Republican senators, stated that he had held talks with the White House and shared the summary of a proposal, which would be acceptable to President Donald Trump, with Republican senators.

However, according to a Republican source from the Senate, the said proposal is very close to one that McConnell has been talking about for months and rejected by the Democrats. According to a document obtained by Reuters, the said plan foresees the setting aside of 332.7 billion dollars for small businesses, in the form of loans or grants.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, had met on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

 

  • Published in Economy
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