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Biden Administration Reengages with International Institutions and Agreements
American Journal of International Law  (IF3.091),  Pub Date : 2021-04-19, DOI: 10.1017/ajil.2021.12

The newly inaugurated administration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. took immediate steps to reengage with a variety of international institutions and agreements from which the Trump administration had withdrawn. On January 20, 2021, the administration deposited with the United Nations a new instrument of acceptance of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and it halted U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO). On January 21, the United States announced that it would participate in the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, an international vaccine distribution scheme. The Biden administration also announced that it would reengage with and seek election to the UN Human Rights Council, and it quickly reached agreement with Russia for a five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the last remaining arms control agreement between the two countries. These early moves are consistent with the foreign policy strategy President Biden previewed during the campaign when he promised to “renew American leadership” and “[e]levate [d]iplomacy.” In his first speech on foreign policy as president, delivered at the U.S. State Department on February 4, Biden asserted that “America is back” and that “[d]iplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy.” To implement these objectives, Biden has appointed a slate of experienced foreign affairs officials, many of whom worked in the Obama administration.