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Editorial: Biden urged to take more int'l focus as he marks 100 days in office

As U.S. President Joe Biden recently marked his first 100 days in office, how his administration has so far dealt with issues plaguing America and the rest of the world -- the ever-expanding COVID-19 pandemic, the flagging domestic economy and stumbling international politics -- has come into question.

    The Biden administration has laid out a $1.9 trillion (about 205 trillion yen) emergency coronavirus package, and managed to curb the number of new infections across the U.S. by around 70%.

    His government has also formulated a $2 trillion infrastructure development plan, raising hopes for it to bring positive effects on the domestic job market overshadowed by a 6% unemployment rate.

    In tandem with Japan and other allies, President Biden has maintained a confrontational stance toward China, while spearheading international collaboration in the global fight against climate change.

    These policy measures adopted by the current administration reflects its sense of urgency over the severe state of affairs both at home and abroad. The fact that the Biden administration has scored 50 to 60% approval ratings in a number of public opinion polls is proof that it has earned a measure of appreciation from the people.

    The tradition of rating the first 100 days of a presidency dates back to the Great Depression during the 1930s, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in.

    Under the New Deal policy, Roosevelt came up with a plethora of bold policy measures, earning him credit for symbolizing a crisis-resilient leader.

    The current economic slump triggered by the pandemic is said to be as serious as during the Great Depression. By swiftly announcing a barrage of countermeasures, President Biden has highlighted his government's stance toward overcoming the dismal status quo.

    Many of these measures, however, merely represented a policy turnaround from the previous Donald Trump administration. President Biden's first 100 days in office were, in a sense, marked by his full effort to rectify the nation's distorted policy course.

    What's essential here and now is how Biden's political course will turn out after his warm-up period is over.

    He has insisted that the U.S. will attach significance to its allies and return to a multilateralist policy. However, just as Biden has been swamped with domestic affairs, the Trump administration's political legacy still casts a long shadow over the current regime.

    During his reign, President Trump claimed that the U.S. had been excessively involved in overseas conflicts as "the policeman of the world." He advocated "America First" policies, garnering wide public empathy.

    Biden also claims that the U.S. foreign policy is there to make America even stronger. He maintains a position of prioritizing U.S. national interests over those of the international community.

    While valuing free trade, Biden, like his predecessor, is promoting the "Buy American" initiative to encourage purchases of American-made products. There is no denying the move has a protectionist dimension.

    Biden has also left his policy toward China ambiguous. Even though he has exhibited a hard-line stance toward Beijing, it remains unclear how he is going to uphold the basic policy of striking a balance between "competition, partnership and rivalry" vis-a-vis China.

    President Biden is urged to turn his eyes on the interests of the global community as well and build a strategy to allow the U.S. to act together with many of its allies. Without such efforts, he would never be able to break with the Trump administration's political repercussions.

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