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06/25/2021

Decoding Biden’s policy on Russia and Turkey

Decoding Biden’s policy on Russia and Turkey

Pandora’s Box is now open…

The new President of the US, Joe Biden, went abroad for the first time 8 months since being elected.

Biden came together with members of the Atlantic Alliance in different meetings and had the last meeting of his tour of Europe with Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.

In summary, the outcomes from Biden’s meetings contained important clues on his approach to foreign policy:

Biden’s goals

1. Unlike Trump before, Biden has declared that he will implement a policy, which will prioritize the transatlantic alliance within the context of the classical US foreign policy. In the upcoming era, the US will try to reinforce its relations with the UK and EU member countries via NATO and other platforms.

2. Reluctant to lose its superiority in Europe, USA will possibly take actions to prevent the plans that EU countries carry out or will carry out for cooperation with Russia and China such as the Nord Stream or the Belt and Road Initiative. The Build Back Better World – B3W Project introduced globally as an alternative to Belt and Road and the sanctions towards the Nord Stream might be construed in this context.

3. Outcomes of the Biden – Putin meeting showcase that the US is looking for a new balance in relationship to Russia. It seems that the US might make compromises to Russia in order to sever Russian-Chinese / Russian – Iranian relations while taking steps in this direction to limit Russia in Europe and Especially Ukraine.

4. The situation in Afghanistan was brought forward again in Biden’s meetings. The US may use Afghanistan to destabilize Central Asia and therefore put pressure on China and Pakistan.

5. The Biden government started off with the staff from the Obama era, namely, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, therefore, it will take a similar and insistent attitude in terms of nuclear talks with Iran. Biden’s strategy may be summarized as preventing Iran from acting as a block with Russia and China. Washington is likely to mellow its relations with Iran in the near future.

6. We can say that this will be a period when the Biden government will accelerate its policies for establishment of a “Kurdistan” in North of Syria and Iraq. Washington is likely to continue its military, political and economic support to PKK/PYD/YPG and similar terrorist organizations as well as bringing Masoud Barzani forward again.

7. The outcome of the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Joe Biden is that the US will apply the carrot-and-stick method in relations with Turkey. It would not be wrong to say that actions aimed at weakening the Erdogan government will be more frequent if Turkey does not collaborate with the US. It can also be expected that the US will target the close ties of Ankara and Russia simultaneously over The Black Sea and Syria issues. We must state that Washington’s interest is to provide for Erdogan to continue in power with a loss of force rather than him leaving his position.

A new balance with Russia: Inverted Ping-Pong diplomacy

The messages that come out of the meeting between Biden and Putin suggest that the US is seeking a new balance with Russia.

In this context, it may be possible for the Biden government to target the political, economic and logistic channels through which Russia opens up to the West while also making limited compromises to Russia in the Middle East and Africa.

We can say that the strategy to prevent Russia from having to establish a block with China lies under the possible compromise/mellowing down of the US’ foreign policy.

This approach, which we might call inverted ping-pong diplomacy, may be summarized as the policy of isolating China by approaching Russia. We are in a period wherein Washington will focus on the conflict points between Moscow and Beijing.

Of course, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin will develop new strategies against these agitations and will take steps to prevent the US from infiltrating through the cracks.

The communion centered on the Belt and Road Initiative and the security and energy lines of Central Asia will be talked about more in the upcoming period as the vulnerable points of the cooperation between Russia and China.

Debate on Turkey’s position

The outcomes of the meetings of Biden Show that another country the US will focus on in its international relations is Turkey as well as Russia. Biden’s government is likely to target the relations between Ankara and Moscow, Ankara and Tehran and Ankara and Beijing and take steps to isolate the Erdoğan government in the international arena.

On the other hand, the cliques within the party in power and the opposition, which are close to the US might be deployed to create an atmosphere of relative mellow-down between Ankara and Washington.

The Black Sea forms the weak link in Ankara-Moscow relations over Syria and Ukraine. In the upcoming era, we might expect the US to get into provocations in these fields. There might also be steps to sever the Turkish – Iranian relations in the Syrian field again.

Another goal of the Biden government is to create clashes between Turkey and China especially through the issue of East Turkestan.

However, let’s not forget that the US is not what it was before and that it has lost the majority of its economic power.

The rise of the multi-polar World and the budding cooperation among Asian countries limit the movement capacity of the US.

On the other hand, we are talking about a country, the congress building of which was occupied by its own citizens and which is struggling with a severe economic crisis.

We are entering an era which will see Washington’s withdrawal from global domination accelerate.

Onur Sinan Güzaltan
Onur Sinan Güzaltan was born in Istanbul in 1985. He had his Bachelors's degree in Law, from the Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne Universty /Paris XII and a Master's degree in International and European Law. He got his certificate of diploma equivalence at Galatasaray University. Later, he got a Master's degree in International Trade Law, at the Institut de Droit des Affaires Internationales, founded jointly by the Sorbonne Universty and the Cairo Universty. In this process, he had served as the Cairo representative for the Aydinlik Newspaper. He has several articles and television streams within the international press, in such as People's Daily, Al Yaum, Al Ahram, Russia Today FranceAl Youm Al Sabea. In addition to being the author of the Tanrı Bizi İster Mi?, a work that studies the 2011-2013 political period in Egypt, he had also contributed to the multi-author study titled Ortadoğu Çıkmazında Türkiye, with an article that focused on the Turkish-Egyptian relations. While currently working as a lawyer, he also writes a weekly column for Aydinlik Newspaper on the subject of international politics and geopolitics.

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