The new White House is training relentless attention on issues that Biden believes made him choose. But it also seems wary of pouring political capital into other crises that may divert attention from its main ambitions or in which deeper involvement may not produce a decisive benefit. himself publicly in the kind of ceasefire or mediation effort that many previous presidents might have attempted. It also helps explain why Biden was a leader in the fight against the pandemic, but was less visible when it came to tackling the rise of migrant children on the South American border. Similarly, he chose to prioritize infrastructure reform rather than initiate his presidency in a forceful fight for voting rights with the Republican Party and moderate Democrats in Congress. And it seeks to strengthen social security to benefit working-class voters, but it has deflected the liberal dream of enlarging the Supreme Court.
In terms of foreign policy, most of Biden’s initiatives, from confronting China to rejoining the Paris climate agreement, can be interpreted through his desire to make the diplomacy first serves everyday Americans. It is a consistent but ruthless approach that suggests the president has given much thought to his own coalition, the lessons of the 2020 election, the factors that drove Trumpism, and the relative global power of the United States.
In the Middle East, Biden’s approach is also conditioned by his long and firm support for Israel. It is also likely to be reported by opinion that the days when a U.S.-sponsored peace process seemed viable are long gone. But as Palestinian casualties have risen under the escalation of Israeli fire, Liberal Democrats and even centrists are asking Biden to get more involved.
The political reaction may explain to reporters the White House briefings, which insist it hardens the American language and conducts presidential and diplomatic activities behind the scenes. But disclosures about U.S. private pressure will do nothing to alleviate the crisis; soon Biden may have no choice but to participate more publicly.