A Tale of Two Biden Doctrines

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Chris, Melanie, and Zack debate whether there is a “Biden doctrine” and if so, what exactly it is. They identify two separate threads in Biden’s thinking and that of his team — one idealist vision for global democracy, and a second more pragmatic and restrained approach. These diverging views do not, at the moment, appear to have yet been resolved. Chris also questions George W. Bush on the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, Melanie weighs in on the Met Gala, and Zack supports expanding Selective Service registration.





Brian O’Toole, “Biden’s Empty Posts are a National Security Problem,” Atlantic Council, Aug. 10, 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/bidens-empty-posts-are-a-national-security-problem/.

Danielle L. Lupton, “Biden Has a Narrow Window to Restore U.S. Credibility,” Foreign Affairs, Feb. 8, 2021, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2021-02-08/biden-has-narrow-window-restore-us-credibility.

Dominic Tierney, “In Search of the Biden Doctrine,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, Nov. 9, 2021, https://www.fpri.org/article/2020/11/in-search-of-the-biden-doctrine/.

Evan Montgomery, “Credibility Controversies: The Implications of Afghanistan for the Indo-Pacific,” War on the Rocks, Sept. 7, 2021, https://warontherocks.com/2021/09/credibility-controversies-the-implications-of-afghanistan-for-the-indo-pacific/.

Hal Brands, “The Emerging Biden Doctrine,” Foreign Affairs, June 29, 2021, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2021-06-29/emerging-biden-doctrine.

Helene Cooper, Lara Jakes, Michael D. Shear, and Michael Crowley, “In Afghan Withdrawal, a Biden Doctrine Surfaces,” New York Times, Sept. 4, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/04/us/politics/biden-doctrine-afghanistan-foreign-policy.html.

Jay Hancock, “Military expected to be used sparingly,” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 17, 2000, https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2000-12-17-0012170148-story.html.

Jada Yuan, “The Met Gala is Full of Rich People. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wore a Dress with a Message: ‘Tax the Rich,’” Washington Post, Sept. 14, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/09/14/aoc-met-gala-tax-rich-dress/.

Joe Biden, “Remarks by President Biden on the End of the War in Afghanistan,” The White House, Aug. 31, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/08/31/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-end-of-the-war-in-afghanistan/.

Joe Biden, “Why America Must Lead Again,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2020, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-01-23/why-america-must-lead-again.

Joshua D. Kertzer, “American Credibility After Afghanistan,” Foreign Affairs, Sept. 2, 2021, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2021-09-02/american-credibility-after-afghanistan.

Joshua Shifrinson and Stephen Wertheim, “Biden the Realist,” Foreign Affairs, Sept. 9, 2021, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2021-09-09/biden-realist.

New American Engagement Initiative, Annual Student Competition, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/programs/scowcroft-center-for-strategy-and-security/new-american-engagement-initiative/naei-annual-student-competition/.

Peter Dombrowski and John Glaser, “A Distracted Grand Strategy,” Power Problems, Sept. 7, 2021, https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/distracted-grand-strategy.

Scott Lincicome, “US Regulators Are Failing the (Rapid) Test,” CATO, Sept. 1, 2021, https://www.cato.org/commentary/us-regulators-are-failing-rapid-test.

Task Force on U.S.-China Policy, “China’s New Direction: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy,” Asia Society and U.C. San Diego, September 2021, https://china.ucsd.edu/_files/2021-china-new-direction-report.pdf.

Thomas Wright, “Joe Biden Worries That China Might Win,” The Atlantic, June 9, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2021/06/joe-biden-foreign-policy/619130/.


Image: White House (Photo by Cameron Smith)