Imprints of the first year for the 46th US President

January 20, 2022 marks one year since Joe Biden became the President of the United States. The first year saw the 46th US president's efforts in fulfilling his commitments to voters and beginning the journey of “bringing America together”.

US President Joe Biden speaks in Washington, DC. (Photo: AFP/VNA)
US President Joe Biden speaks in Washington, DC. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

However, there are still many challenges ahead as the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to end, in addition to the fragile economic recovery.

Taking office at a time when the fight against COVID-19 entered its second year, with more serious impacts, President Biden quickly outlined and implemented unprecedented grand plans. They included the 1.9 trillion USD economic relief plan and a 1.2 trillion USD infrastructure bill.

These were the first legislative victories on President Biden’s ambitious agenda. The relief package provided timely and effective support to American families and workers, who were struggling with the pandemic. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was passed, promising a big step forward in rebuilding the US economy more sustainably, through investment in rails, roads, bridges, and gas pipeline systems.

The COVID-19 response effort recognised President Biden's outstanding victory, as his pledge to inject 100 million doses of vaccines in the first 100 days in office, was completed ahead of time.

More than 415 billion USD has been spent on COVID-19 prevention and control, with priority given to speeding up testing and national vaccinations. Part of the American people are skeptical about the effectiveness of the vaccine, but the Biden administration has made efforts to increase the vaccination rate, with 63% of the population receiving the basic doses of the vaccine.

However, the appearance of Delta, then Omicron variants, somewhat obscured the anti-pandemic achievements, threatening to reverse President Biden's claim of having controlled the pandemic.

The results of widespread vaccine coverage and the COVID-19 relief aid have contributed to the economic recovery. The unemployment rate in the US dropped to a record low of 4.2%, in December 2021. Meanwhile, an additional 6.4 million new jobs created in the past year, was also higher than any year in history.

However, the soaring inflation rate over the final months of the year caused many worries. Inflation reached 7% in December 2021, the highest level since 1980.

A series of other social issues were also promoted by President Biden, such as handling the flow of migrants to the southern border of the United States, gun control, reducing racism, and others.

In particular, the US’s passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, is considered a great domestic victory for President Biden, partly helping to relieve pressure from the anger of people. However, after a year, with many efforts to heal and defuse disagreements, the goal of a united America has yet to be completed, while the disagreements between the Democrats and Republicans have even widened over many issues.

If the policy of rebuilding America for the better is seen as the focal point in domestic policy, then success in foreign policy is “America is back”. Three outstanding results of President Biden's administration include restoring the US's leading role in international efforts, especially combating climate change and increasing the world's vaccine resources; healing transatlantic alliances, resolving trade disputes, promoting common interest; establishing a tripartite security partnership mechanism called AUKUS and elevating the “Quad” in the Indo-Pacific region.

However, many months after US forces completed leaving Afghanistan, the decision to end the longest foreign military intervention in the history of the US, remains controversial. His predecessors all made promises, but President Biden was the only one to fulfil his promise to bring American troops home.

However, the unforeseen scenario of the Taliban's return to power, and the South Asian nation falling into a spiral of crisis, diminished the significance of Biden's decisive action. Meanwhile, the problems in the relationship between the US and Russia, concerning the Iran nuclear issue have not been resolved, continuing to pose a great challenge for President Biden's foreign policy.

It cannot be denied the achievements of President Biden during his first year’s presidency, as the US economy maintained its recovery momentum, America's alliance relations were restored and the spirit of multilateralism returned to the US’s foreign agenda. However, many challenges for President Biden remain, with the most important issue of maintaining people's trust in the directions and plans that he pursues.