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Joe Bidens First Year in the White House
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal
DOI: 10.20542/afij-2022-1-54-77
© Oksana V. BOGAEVSKAYA, Anastasia A.BUNINA, Aleksey A. DAVYDOV, Ekaterina A. DESYATSKY, Sergey S. DMITRIEV, Sergey V. KISLITSYN, Elina V. KIRICHENKO, Vasilisa K. KULAKOVA, Igor O. MISHIN, Alexey A. SHLIHTER, Victoria Yu. ZHURAVLEVA, 2022
Received 03.02.2022.
Revised 07.02.2022.
Accepted 05.04.2022.
Oksana V. BOGAEVSKAYA (, ORCID: 0000-0003-2127-0475,
Anastasia A. BUNINA (, ORCID: 0000-0001-7765-6014,
Aleksey A. DAVYDOV (, ORCID: 0000-0002-8899-8746,
Ekaterina A. DESYATSKY (, ORCID: 0000-0002-3598-4404,
Sergey S. DMITRIEV (, ORCID: 0000-0003-2538-8219,
Sergey V. KISLITSYN (, ORCID: 0000-0002-8438-7964,
Elina V. KIRICHENKO (, ORCID: 0000-0001-8025-5852, 
Vasilisa K. KULAKOVA (, ORCID: 0000-0002-0677-4440, 
Alexey A. SHLIKHTER (, ORCID: 0000-0001-9531-0885,
Victoria Yu. ZHURAVLEVA (, ORCID: 0000-0003-1911-625X,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation.
The article analyzes major trends in domestic, social, economic, trade and foreign policy of the USA in 2021. The past year turned out to be unexpectedly successful for the Democratic administration of Joseph Biden, who managed to use his party's almost maximum control over the federal government to lay the legislative foundation for the implementation of one of the priority items on the election agenda and began the transformation of the foreign policy strategy of the US global leadership. His first year was really eventful — in the difficult conditions of the ongoing pandemic, he opened a new stage of social and foreign policy transformations.
The current US President came to the White House with a large-scale social agenda, on which the Democratic Party has been working all 4 years of Trump's presidency in anticipation of revenge. The ambitious plans, in addition to fighting the pandemic, included the subsequent reform of the healthcare system launched by Barack Obama, ensuring racial equality and social justice, updating the country's long and seriously worn out infrastructure, launching a ‘green transition’ and reforming the country's immigration system.
All these reforms are long overdue and really needed. However, since the beginning of the XXI century the reform efforts of presidents traditionally produce very little results — an average of one large-scale reform for each president. The list of changes required by the country is growing, but the speed of its implementation is only falling. The reason for this slowdown lies in partisan polarization and radicalization, which grew rapidly during the same period, shrinking the space for compromise, a key condition for reform efforts under the American separation of powers.
The Democrats with J. Biden won their chance for a blitz in 2020, however, not only the Republicans, whose numerical minority made it possible to worry less about their resistance, but also the unity of the Democratic Party itself, were on the way to its implementation. Over the past four years, the left wing of the party has expanded its membership in Congress and has become a powerful force, ready to resist even its own president. The large-scale social agenda proposed by J. Biden during the election campaign, which implies the expansion of the social responsibility of the state, eventually caused serious objections from both left-wing Democrats and Republicans. The first considered it insufficient, for the second it offered too revolutionary changes.
Biden's centrist position in the face of radicalization proved to be more of an obstacle to pushing forward reforms than an opportunity to implement them. As a result, all participants had to compromise. Paradoxically, radicalization, which destroyed opportunities and room for compromise, itself became a compromise factor in a situation where changes could be too drastic for both the government itself and society.
Finally, the Biden administration was able to seize a unique moment of democratic control over federal power to implement an important part of its social agenda. Biden's original plan to reform the country's infrastructure has seriously changed over this year of cross-party agreements, but in general, the adopted ‘Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’ launches large-scale changes in several areas at once, on which the further development and competitiveness of the United States depend.
Despite a relatively quick recovery, the US economy continues to face major challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic: high inflation and disruption in production chains.
The new model for maintaining and expanding US global leadership, formulated and gradually implemented by Joe Biden’s administration, is based on the creation of a single ideological and technological space of allies in opposition to China and other authoritarian states challenging the US. The anti-Chinese vector determines the main directions of the US foreign policy strategy: returning to traditional allied relations, expanding alliances, ending protracted military campaigns, minimal strategic involvement in long-term conflicts, targeted interaction with competitors and adversaries, and controlled confrontation.
This article is a result of a collective multi-aspect research of transformations taking place in the US on a real-time basis. The analysis is built methodologically on the systemic approach to studying American political, social and economic trends, both domestically and on an international level.

For citation:

Bogaevskaya O., Bunina A., Davydov A., et al. Joe Bidens First Year in the White House. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2022, no 1, pp. 54-77.

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