Biden reverses several Trump policies in foreign policy speech

US President Joe Biden has reversed several policies under the Donald Trump administration.
US President Joe Biden has reversed several policies under the Donald Trump administration.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES, REUTERS) - United State President Joe Biden on Thursday (Feb 4) delivered his first major foreign policy speech since taking office, reversing several policies under the Donald Trump administration.

Here's a look at the key points of his address that was intended to send a clear message to the world that America is back.

Yemen

The US will stop all support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including arms sales.

The more than six-year-old Saudi Arabia-led military campaign is widely seen as a proxy conflict between the kingdom and Iran.

Mr Biden makes clear that he is not leaving the Saudis alone to deal with a hostile Iran. The US will continue sales of defensive weapons to Saudi Arabia designed to protect against missiles, drones and cyber attacks from Teheran.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia forced the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Houthis.

Under the Trump administration, policy on Yemen was secondary to a so-called "maximum pressure" sanctions campaign against Iran in a bid to force Teheran back into talks over its nuclear and missile programmes.

Mr Trump also regularly rejected calls to rein in the Saudis for the indiscriminate bombing they carried out in Yemen.

Germany

Mr Biden will freeze Mr Trump's plan to withdraw 12,000 US troops stationed in Germany. The President has also ordered Pentagon to conduct a review of how American forces are deployed around the world.

The presence of US troops in Europe, especially in Germany, is a cornerstone of the post-World War II order.

The withdrawal announcement last year blindsided German officials and even some US military officials, who have long looked at the US troop presence in Germany as the bedrock of its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

National security experts had said that the withdrawal was rooted in Mr Trump's dislike of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his determination to force Nato nations to pay more for their own defences.

Russia

Mr Biden says he will engage diplomatically with Russia but will be tougher on Moscow than Mr Trump, saying that the US will no longer be "rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions".

The President also hardens his vow to respond to Russian efforts to disrupt US democracy and the SolarWinds hacking, a vast intrusion into US government and private networks.

Mr Trump had repeatedly dismissed evidence of interference by Russian President Vladimir Putin in US elections as well as Russia's role in the highly sophisticated hacking.

Mr Biden is the first president since the fall of the Soviet Union who has decided against trying a "reset" with Russia, instead announcing what amounts to a new strategy of deterrence, if not containment.

Refugees

The President plans to raise annual refugee admissions to 125,000 in the coming fiscal year, a more than eight-fold increase after Mr Trump slashed levels to historic lows.

Mr Biden also pledges to restore the US' historic role as a country that welcomes refugees from around the world.

During his presidency, Mr Trump portrayed refugees as a security threat and a drain on US communities. His policies had led to the closure of resettlement offices and the reassignment of programme staff.