Like many past presidents, Joe Biden has brought his own foreign policy brand to the presidency, which he labels as a “foreign policy for the middle class.” While he has announced to the world that the U.S. is back and will engage in such issues as climate change and multilateral institutions, he has stipulated his approach will not be a return to a pre-Trump model of foreign policy. Rather than furthering the interests of multinational corporations and investors, his foreign policy will foster middle-class prosperity.
The Biden foreign policy brand will likely be influenced by a bipartisan task force 90-page report released in September 2020 by the Carnegie Endowment for International Piece (CEIP) entitled: “Making U.S. Foreign Policy Work Better for the Middle Class.” Among the task force members were Salman Ahmed, recently named by Biden as director of policy-planning at the U.S. State Department and co-editor and project director of this report, and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s National Security Adviser.
Biden intends to make economic policy and foreign policy “one and the same.” Jake Sullivan in his position as national security adviser is also focusing on the intersection of economics and national security.
With only five weeks into the Biden administration, the specifics of a foreign policy for the middle class remain an open question, except for his “Buy American” executive order. However, several broad themes in the CEIP report are: coordinate better between foreign and domestic policy so that U.S. workers’ skills are improved accordingly, incentivize companies to build their supply chains in the U.S. and expand their domestic manufacturing foot print, and draft a “National Competitiveness Strategy” that includes making U.S. small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) more competitive, thus increasing jobs in their community.
Our speaker, Tom Perriello, spoke to CCFR in May 2015, and we welcome him back. He is eminently qualified to speak to us about a foreign policy of the American middle class. Since November 2018, Perriello has served as the executive director for U.S. programs at the Open Society Foundations (OSUS).
From 2015-16, Perriello was President Obama’s Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes region. Prior to that position, he led the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review for the Department of State. From 2009-2011, Perriello was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 5th congressional district.
Perriello received his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University. He recently published articles in the Democracy Journal.
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Save the Date: April 8, 2021