Region’s leaders could not be happier at seeing an adult in the White House
Asia to Joe Biden: You had us at “hello.”
This region is no pushover. But after four long, torturous years dealing with Donald Trump, the bar for the new U.S. president is remarkably low.
Biden will score points just by knowing the name of the leader on the phone, where he or she is on a map, and being even vaguely conversant with the bilateral issues of the day — rather than the shakedown tactics of some low-rent mafia don wannabe.
I wish this were hyperbole. But Asian leaders generally could not be happier that a measured, experienced leader who is not a China-obsessed Twitter troll is on-site to address the dumpster fire Trump leaves behind.
Yet Biden’s real Asia policy begins at home. Sure, Biden will call Yoshihide Suga to remind Japan it has a partner, not a bullying overlord, in the White House. He is sure to phone South Korea’s Moon Jae-in to reboot relations between Washington and Seoul. Biden will be having many such smoothing-things-over chats around the region — from Indonesia to India.