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A reshuffled deck awaiting the Biden administration in Asia

In seeking to rebuild ties, the new team in Washington has to factor in how the political landscape has changed in the past four years

ST ILLUSTRATION -MIEL
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As analysts pore over US President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet picks for signs of what to expect by way of Asia policy directions, let us consider the other side of the coin - what awaits the new administration as it gets down to changing course and resetting relations with regional friends and allies after four years of Trumpian upheavals.

The initial signs seem reassuring. Mr Biden has stated in no uncertain terms that he wishes to rebuild ties with the region. His nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is a seasoned diplomat, a multilateralist praised as a safe pair of hands. Meanwhile, Michele Flournoy, a leading candidate for Secretary of Defence, is in possession of one of the sharpest national security minds in Washington. Although Jake Sullivan may be one of the youngest occupants of the seat of National Security Adviser if appointed, he already has deep experience in Middle East and Asia-Pacific affairs by dint of his various roles in the Obama administration.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2020, with the headline A reshuffled deck awaiting the Biden administration in Asia. Subscribe