The election of Joe Biden as the next US president will
Troubled by the four chaotic years of the departing Trump administration, Biden‘s team from its first days will likely proceed by
Clearly, this doesn’t bode well for the autocratic regimes and their agents worldwide that have been able to bolster their authority over the past few years – especially since Biden, a career politician, represents a more traditional American school of international relations. And even if there is widespread anticipation of returning to the Obama years’ foreign policy, it’s equally true that many impulses of the US approach to global affairs will be rather different under a president Biden.
While policy towards China is likely to to remain similar in practice– if not necessarily in rhetoric – the US attitude towards one country in particular is set for a wholesale change: Russia. The Kremlin and its well documented kleptocracy have been handled with velvet gloves under Trump, as was made clear once again in the context of the recent cyber-attack against US institutions. Trump contradicted his Secretary of State and other top officials when he suggested – without evidence – that China, not Russia, may be behind one of the largest cyber-attacks in US history.
Biden’s tone was markedly different, even if he did not mention Russia by name. “A good defence isn’t enough,” Biden said in a statement about the cyber hack and vowed to impose “substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks, including in coordination with our allies and partners.”
However, it’s evident that the incoming administration will not only punish Russia for the cyberattack and other issuesignored by the Trump administration, including the poisoning of Alexey Navalny – it will also proceed with more significantdiplomatic and legal pressure. This impact may be felt most profoundly by government agencies and their staff, but it is likely it will notably impact private citizens as well. Consequently, sanctions are set to remain a significant part of the US toolkit for dealing with Russia, although their utilization will likely occur alongside other
One of the potential areas that the Biden administration could take a more concerted effort would be to disrupt money-laundering
Whereas the exact amount of Russian money with unproven origin in the U.S. remains unknown, the problem’s scale could be bigger than originally thought.
In the altered environment which is likely to result from Biden‘s election, and the greater willingness to pay attention to those guilty of financial crime, it is possible that the presence of such individuals in the United States will come under increased scrutiny. This is especially true given Trump’s own alleged ties to Vladimir Putin and his cronies, which requires a far-reaching re-evaluation of what Russia’s illicit money flows into the US really man for the country.
Indeed, the issue goes way beyond mere diplomatic relations. In the end, this is a matter of national security for the United States and poses the question over whether individuals should be allowed to use the United States as a safe haven from legitimate scrutiny of their illegitimate business practices and also somehow manage to exert influence over the U.S. politicians. In a post-Tump America, that question should be answered with a resounding ‘No’.