The New President: What Biden’s Foreign Policy Agenda Means for Australia

Joe Biden comes to the presidency amid great expectations for a return to normalcy in American foreign policy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a more benign international environment for Australia. The United States has global priorities and responsibilities, but there are three areas in particular where the Biden administration’s policy choices are most likely to affect Australia: China policy, climate policy, and digital platforms. On China, Biden is more likely to seek Australian support for US policies than to offer specific help to Australia. On climate, control of Congress gives Biden a free hand to pursue more aggressive greenhouse gas emissions targets. And on digital platforms, Australia’s maturing plans to regulate American internet giants runs directly counter to the interests of some of Biden’s biggest campaign donors. Australia has long benefitted from being overlooked in US policymaking, but may find itself the target of an uncomfortable amount of attention over the next four years.