As president-elect, Joe Biden makes diplomacy dull again

Washington: After Donald Trump in his first week as president spoke to Australia's prime minister, leaks of  the call left many dumbfounded, with the new US leader haranguing and hanging up on the close ally.

When Joe Biden spoke by phone Thursday with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the president-elect's office said Biden hoped to work with him on "many common challenges" and the Australian leader said he would forward a study on how his country fought Covid-19 through contact tracing.

Following four years of presidential pique and chronic chaos in dealing with foreign leaders, Biden has already signaled a reversal -- he is making US diplomacy predictable, even dull, again.

His transition office -- which is not receiving customary assistance from the State Department as Trump refuses to concede the election -- is putting out the sort of soporific readouts that until the 2016 election were the primary means of US presidential communication.

With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom Trump derided over Twitter following a summit as "very dishonest & weak," a Biden statement after a congratulatory phone call said the pair "reaffirmed the close bonds between the United States and Canada" and pledged cooperation against Covid-19 and future biological threats.

After his conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump had openly criticized for her welcome to migrants, Biden "noted his interest in working closely" to address the pandemic, climate change and other issues and "praised her leadership."

The lack of drama in Biden's approach is, well, no surprise.

Biden, with nearly 50 years of experience in Washington, ran on promises to return to normalcy, bringing back the time-honored decision-making process involving expert consultations rather than impulsive tweets. - AFP