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May 2021: Pandemic, partisanship, and foreign policy concerns mark President Biden’s 100-day milestone

The Brief

May 10, 2021

President Joe Biden recently surpassed the 100-day mark of his presidency and Johns Hopkins SAIS experts are providing commentary on some of the domestic and geopolitical challenges his administration is currently navigating.
Jennifer Kates and Joshua Michaud, Adjunct Lecturers of International Development, noted in a Kaiser Family Foundation brief how the Biden administration is on its way to having enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to fully vaccinate majority of Americans, but pointed out “there have been increasing calls for the U.S. to do more” to address vaccine equity since global COVID-19 cases are reaching their highest levels to date.  
Anne Applebaum, Senior Fellow of International Affairs and Agora Fellow in Residence , highlighted the vaccination effort in the U.S. in The Atlantic, emphasizing there is an opportunity for the president to counter Russian and Chinese vaccine diplomacy by “flooding the market with millions of American doses, helping everyone regardless of what they say about the U.S. or anyone else.” 
Kent Calder, Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, examined the partisan tensions Biden faces in Congress while enacting his agenda in Kyodo News, writing it will result in him “struggling to ensure his legacy, especially beyond his first 100 days, making international support all the more important.”  
Ling Chen, Assistant Professor of Political Economy, commented in Financial Times on the president’s competitive approach to China, expressing surprise that on “economic and tech policy, Biden has largely adopted the Trump tradition” by keeping tariffs on Chinese imports. 
Dean Eliot A. Cohen spoke with CNN about the global implications of the president’s decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by September 11, predicting the withdrawal could be the “prelude to a more assertive U.S. on the world stage and a realignment of some alliances, particularly with Pakistan and India.” 
David Barno, Visiting Professor of Strategic Studies, disagreed with Biden’s troop withdrawal plan, arguing in Breaking Defense that it is “short-sighted not to similarly sustain our strategic investment in Afghanistan at the historically low cost of a few thousand troops, backed by our NATO allies.” 
Vali Nasr, Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs, analyzed the indirect talks between the Biden administration and Iranian officials to revive the JCPOA in the New York Times, cautioning that if “Tehran concludes that the United States will not lift sanctions, the nuclear issue can take a dangerous turn and potentially lead the United States to another war in the Middle East.” 

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement.