Beltway 360 – Biden and Russia: Will Everyone Change So That Everything Stays the Same?


Continuity across presidential administrations is a hallmark of American relations with the outside world. Changes do occur, but more in response to changes abroad than in thinking along the Potomac, which remains remarkably consistent (even obtuse) despite alterations of political control
of the White House. Even Donald Trump was much more radical in rhetoric than in policy. Some of his most striking innovations — leaving the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal — will be reversed by Biden, restoring long-term continuity. One of the most consistent major components
of US foreign engagement in this period is Russia policy, which enjoys a basic unity not only between political parties but also between executive and legislative branches of government. Thus, continuation of an adversarial posture toward Moscow is almost certain from the incoming Biden
Administration, at least at the outset.