Why Asia has little to fear from a Joe Biden White House

Why Asia has little to fear from a Joe Biden White House

William Pesek is an award-winning Tokyo-based journalist and author of “Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades.”

If Joe Biden wins the Nov. 3 U.S. election, the list of unhappy world leaders is as fascinating as it is long.

Kim Jong Un will miss Donald Trump’s coddling as he raised North Korea’s nuclear weapons game. Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte will lose a soul brother committed to poking global institutions. Everyone from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan will feel immediately nostalgic for a U.S. president they can disarm with compliments or a whiff of real estate deals to come.

China’s Xi Jinping also may rue the day a man he played so masterfully left the scene. Yes, Trump’s trade war, efforts to strangle Huawei Technologies and TikTok and his angry tweets are a drag. But the void he created and the ways he wrecked America’s soft power accelerated Beijing’s geopolitical ascent.

A Biden White House would be a clear win for Asia broadly speaking. Arguments to the contrary miss the bigger picture. The most immediate positive: Biden is the anti-Trump in ways that will leave officials from Tokyo to Jakarta breathing easier come inauguration on Jan. 20.