‘Let’s Work Together!’ is a reaction across the globe from Beijing to Berlin after the victory of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden. Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime minister Kp Sharma Oli expressed their congratulation to the new president and Vice president for a grand and historic victory, expecting to work closely with the new leadership for the two countries’ mutual interests through Twitter yesterday.
The U.S. election result is expected to change relations across the globe with the U.S. to a different dimension as the four years of Trump’s has declined America’s relation substantially even with its close allies like Canada and Europe its isolationist policy. The message is loud and clear that global leaders were expecting change as seen in their first message officially and unofficially to Biden for winning the election and expecting an uplift in alliances.
As far as China is concerned, there is disappointment in Beijing rather than being glad in Beijing due to Trump’s down, which commonly may be a surprise to common. The election result offers new challenges for China, as BBC reporter John Sudworth writes. China considered Trump’s isolationist policy as an opportunity to decline U.S. popularity and separation from the remaining world, such as Canada and Europe, especially offering an edge for China to find its space for strengthening its ally. The interest was reflected in Chinese media, which focused more on the protest, unrest, and rising U.S. infection than the election result. Biden repair America alliance policy will be a challenge for China to postpone its superpower ambition, which could have been more comfortable in Trump’s go-it-alone policy. Having mentioned that, it can be not denied that China will have the opportunity to repair its relationship with the U.S. and take advantage of Biden’s promise to restore big alliance to ease the U.S. China trade war.
China’s close counterpart India though it may be a proud moment of having half Indian vice president Kamala Harris, is not expected to receive an as warm welcome as Trump’s re-election could have offered. But having said that, the strategic alliance’s overall direction will not change significantly for the world’s most populous democratic alliance, which is considered the geostrategic partner for countering China’s rise on the one hand, while terrorism on the other hand. However, Given Biden’s outspoken nature on Kashmir’s issue, as has been seen from Biden’s campaign website during the election or criticizing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the relation may suffer some friction. Besides, the vice president herself has also not behind criticizing the Hindu nationalist government’s policies. Hence, the relation may suffer drag, but finally, the geostrategic side to counter China seems to dominate more than the other one.
As far as Nepal, which itself is in intraparty political turmoil, the U.S. Nepal relation in the recent past has faced some strain due to the public scene that was boiled up with the debate over MCC as an infringement of Nepalese sovereignty. The agreement was signed between Nepal’s Minister of Finance Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and acting CEO of Millennium Challenge Corporation Jonathan Nash on Sep 14, 2017, in Washington. It cannot progress due to confusion that the U.S. aid is part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy and may be used for military purposes. This delay is not seen with a usual lens, which considers China a revisionist power and a threat in its Indo-Pacific strategy report. It has accentuated that Nepal maintains friendly relations with China in the same report. The debate over MCC in Nepal for the U.S. is even crucial when Nepal is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative lead by China. The initiative is geopolitical concerns for the U.S. and viewed as a deliberate attempt to marginalize the United States economically, to create a Eurasian sphere of influence, or as a pretext for expanding China’s overseas military presence. Hence Nepal U.S. relation will depend on how the Nepal government gives the closure of the MCC issue, whether it will deny or ratify in the near future.
Hence, though it is somewhat predictable that there will not be a substantial turnaround in the overall direction of Delhi-Washington relation or Kathmandu-Washington relation, the relation Beijing- Washington will depend more on the mutual policy of Biden and Jinping. It will be more determined by how they reciprocate each other both on the trade issue and geopolitical aspect and give relative weightage to these issues, which will have some more buffer due to Biden’s multilateralism approach Trump’s isolationist policy.