Donald Trump he is the complete opposite of an idealistic dreamer because he defended a crude pragmatism guided by what he considered the “American” interest (or his own) of each moment. Friendship or values have no place in his mind and that is why he said stupid things like the security of Europe was not worth the blood of any American soldier when they had taken our chestnuts out of the fire in two world wars. Human rights also yielded to interests and so when Jamal Khashoggi he was brutally assassinated Trump simply looked away. And if the Kurds, the Sahrawis or the Palestinians had to be sacrificed at the mercy of the moment, they did so without the slightest scruples.
Joe Biden seems to follow a middle way. In the first two months of his mandate, he has already faced a couple of problems that allow us to see where he is going to go in this area. The first took place when the intelligence services concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohamed bin Salman, had to be aware of and even authorize the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. As a consequence, Biden has taken some measures against those directly responsible and has said that MbS would not be well received in the White House, but he has not gone any further so as not to damage his relationship with Saudi Arabia that he needs for oil price stability and to confront Iran. So neither look the other way like Trump, nor stick a finger in the eye of an ally who is foreseeably going to be in the wither for the next fifty years. They call that “realpolitik.” And when the International Criminal Court decided to investigate possible crimes by the United States troops in Afghanistan and by those of Israel in Palestine, which has caused a furor in Tel Aviv, Trump was very angry and imposed sanctions usually reserved for the terrorists (!). Now Biden has eliminated those sanctions but continues to deny the Court powers, based on the legalism that neither the United States nor Israel are members or recognize their jurisdiction. Halfway again, not too cold, not too hot.
A third case has just been presented with the proposal of the Republican senator Mitt Romney to make an economic and diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing “to show our rejection of China’s abuses” in human rights. Romney does not extend the boycott to the sports field (as Carter did with the Moscow Olympics in 1980) so as not to harm the athletes and prevent China from taking advantage of the North American absence to inflate its medal table, as the Russians did in their day. Washington has not yet decided what to do, but the secretary of state Tony blinking, which has described what happens in Xinjiang as “genocide”, met this weekend in Alaska with a Chinese delegation in a tense first meeting that augurs very complicated relations.
These precedents seem to suggest that Biden will profess neither Obama’s idealism nor Trump’s unscrupulousness. But it is already known that virtue is in the middle.