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Joe Biden: The change we need for US diplomacy
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16:11, February 11, 2009

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At the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy running from February 6 to 8, US Vice President Joe Biden, representing Obama administration, explained the fundamental diplomatic policies of the United States for the first time. Three aspects in his address caught audiences’ attention at the conference, which were : US new diplomatic policy would break away from Bush unilateral doctrine and US was determined to enhance ties with EU, and establish new relations with other countries worldwide; US is ready to “reboot” relations with Russia; US is willing to talk to Iran.

Biden’s speech showed the new US diplomatic policy was very flexible. The US can’t continue with Bush administration’s adoption of unilateralism and militarism, and the change is eminent. The new government needs to clear up the mess and avoid unnecessary geopolitical disasters which could inflict heavy loss on US interest.

New US government will also attach great importance to the dialogue and coordination mechanism with international community and governments around the word. Bush’s legacy upon international policy has been proved “overwhelmingly negative”. With regard to the global downturn, US feels it far exceeds its ability to handle all the issues. US needs to realize great things can be done by mass efforts and there is strength in numbers. It is time to make changes.

Biden also named some issues that US would remain unchanged, say, the deployment of anti-ballistic missile system in East Europe and the warning to Iran over its nuclear programme and terrorist activities. Those remarks will definitely bring more difficulties to negotiations with Russia and Iran. However, the door for dialogue will remain open for all parties. The US will not make any concession on the issue of nuclear proliferation. There is still room for negotiations for Iran insisted it has not developed nuclear weapons.

Additionally, the US will definitely need Iran’s help to handle Iraq and Afghan issues. Biden lays much emphasis on the US-Iran ties and Iran is talking about the “golden period” in the US. Both sides understand the subtlety and sensitivity in Middle East.

It is said that the anti-ballistic missile system in East Europe is not a matter of live and death, but it is a trump card. The US will not give it up without negotiation. Biden will be a perfect negotiator with Russia judged with regard to his personal experiences that he used to oppose the global anti-ballistic missile system and attached great importance to the political impact and technical feasibility of the weapon system.

The new administration in the US will safeguard the fundamental national interests, and so will the governments all over the world. However the distribution of interests is the result of battle of wits and compromise. It is an art of politics to safeguard the national interests, which requires long-term perspective.

The power shift in the US will bring about great changes not only to its political system but also to the development of racial equality and culture. The theory of the clash of civilization proposed by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington embodies the sense of lost of the main-streaming Anglo-Saxon culture. It seems that the change is about to come. The cultural change will have influence upon the diplomatic comprehension of the Americans, and help bring change in diplomatic outlook. The diplomacy is continuation of domestic politics and the cultural change within a country will have fundamental impact on its diplomacy.

By People's Daily Online



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