When it comes to US foreign policy, Biden is a lot like Trump.

WASHINGTON – A fistfight and meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Tariffs and export control to China. Jerusalem as capital or Israel. American troops from Afghanistan.

With Biden’s more than a year and a half in office, his administration’s approach to strategic priorities is surprisingly aligned with the policies of the Trump administration, former officials and analysts say.

mr. Biden vowed on the campaign trail to reverse the path taken by the previous administration, and to some extent in foreign policy he has done so. He has rebuilt alliances, especially in Western Europe, which Donald J. Trump has weakened with his “America First” statements and criticism of other countries. In recent months, Biden’s efforts have allowed Washington to lead the coalition. imposition of sanctions against Russia during the war in Ukraine.

And Mr. Biden denounced autocracy, promoted the importance of democracy, and called for global cooperation on issues including climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

But in critical areas, the Biden administration has made no significant breakthroughs, showing how difficult it is for Washington to chart a new foreign policy course.

This was highlighted this month when Mr. Biden traveled to Israel and Saudi Arabiathe trip was in part aimed at fostering closer ties between those states that Trump officials were pushing under the so-called Abraham Accords.

In Saudi Arabia, Mr. Biden met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite his earlier pledge to rogue the country for human rights abuses, in particular assassination of Washington Post writer in 2018. US intelligence agencies have come to the conclusion that the prince ordered the brutal murder. Behind the scenes of the USA still provides important support for the Saudi military in the war in Yemen despite Mr. Biden earlier bail stop this aid due to Saudi Arabian airstrikes that killed civilians.

“Politics are converging,” said Stephen E. Bigan, the Trump administration’s undersecretary of state and National Security Council official under President George W. Bush. “Continuity is the norm, even between presidents as different as Trump and Biden.”

Some former officials and analysts have praised the consistency, arguing that the Trump administration, despite the commander-in-chief’s deep flaws, correctly diagnosed and addressed major challenges to American interests.

Others are less optimistic. They say Mr. Biden’s choice exacerbated problems with US foreign policy and sometimes deviated from the principles proclaimed by the president. Senior Democratic lawmakers criticized his meeting with Prince Mohammed and aid to the Saudi militaryfor example, despite the fact that administration officials promoted United Nations brokered ceasefire in Yemen.

“Over the years, Biden has not delivered on many of his campaign promises and he is sticking to the status quo in the Middle East and Asia,” said Emma Ashford, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Both the Trump and Biden administrations have had to grapple with the question of how to maintain America’s global dominance at a time when it appears to be in decline. China has risen as a counterweight, and Russia has become bolder.

Trump administration national security strategy formally refocused foreign policy on “great power competition” with China and Russia, and abandoned the prioritization of terrorist groups and other non-state actors. The Biden administration has continued this movement, partly due to events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Biden White House has delayed the publication of its own national security strategy, which was expected earlier this year. Officials are rewriting it because of the war in Ukraine. The final document is expected to highlight competition between powerful nations.

mr. Biden said that China is the United States’ biggest competitor, a claim repeated by Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken in recent speech — while Russia poses the biggest threat to American security and alliances.

Some scholars say the tradition of succession between administrations is a product of traditional ideas and groupthink emerging from the bipartisan foreign policy establishment in Washington, which Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, derisively called “The Blob.”

But others argue that external circumstances, including the behavior of foreign governments, US voter sentiment and corporate influence, leave US leaders with a narrow range of choices.

“There is a strong gravitational pull that brings politics to the same place,” Mr. Bigan said. “It’s still the same problems. It’s still the same world. We still have basically the same tools to influence others to get the same results, and it’s still the same America.”

In deciding to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump responded to the will of the majority of Americans who tired of two decades of war. For Mr. Biden, the move was also a chance to work through unfinished business. As vice president, he advocated bringing troops home in line with Mr. Trump. Obama’s desire to end the “perpetual wars” was opposed by American generals who insisted on a presence in Afghanistan.

Despite a chaotic retreat last August when the Taliban took over the country, polls showed most Americans supported ending US military intervention there.

mr. Trump and Mr. Biden are in favor of reducing the US military presence in conflict regions. But both have reached the limit of such thinking. mr. Biden sent more US troops to Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and in Somaliareversing the end of the Trump era. US troops remain in Iraq and Syria.

“Senior members of the Biden administration are deeply skeptical about the war on terror,” said Brian Finucane, a senior adviser to the International Crisis Group who worked as a lawyer for the State Department of War. “However, they are not yet ready to implement broad structural reform to stop the war.”

mr. Finucane said the reform would include 2001 revocation of permission to go to war that Congress handed over executive power after the September attacks. eleven.

“Even if the Biden administration does not take positive steps to further expand the scope of the 2001 AUMF, as long as it remains in the papers, it can be used by future administrations,” he said, referring to the clearance. “And other officials can prolong the war on terror.”

On the most acute Middle East issue – Iran and its nuclear program – Mr. Biden chose a different tactic than Mr. Trump. The administration is in talks with Tehran to return to the Obama-era nuclear deal, which mr. Trump dismantled, which led to the acceleration of uranium enrichment by Iran. But negotiations hit a dead end. and Mr. Biden said he will stick to one of Mr. Trump’s main actions against the Iranian military, designation its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, despite its obstruction of a new agreement.

China’s policy stands out as the clearest example of continuity between the two administrations. State Department retained Trump-era genocide designation against China for its repression of Uyghur Muslims. Biden officials continued to send US Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait and shape arms sales to Taiwan try to prevent a potential Chinese invasion.

Most controversially, Mr. Biden has maintained Trump-era tariffs on China despite the fact that some economists and several senior U.S. officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, question their purpose and influence.

mr. Biden and his political aides are well aware of the rise in anti-free trade sentiment in the United States. Trump has benefited from the distribution of votes. That realization led Mr. Biden to refrain from trying to re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-Pacific trade deal that Mr. Obama helped orchestrate increased economic competition with China, but Mr. Trump and progressive Democrats rejected.

Analysts say Washington must offer Asian countries better trade deals and market access with the United States if it is to counter China’s economic influence.

“Neither the Trump administration nor the Biden administration had the trade and economic policies that the US’s Asian friends have been asking for to help reduce their dependence on China,” said Corey Shake, director of foreign and defense policy research at American Enterprise. institute. “The administrations of both the Biden and Trump are overly militarizing the China issue to some extent because they can’t figure out the economic component.”

It was in Europe that Mr. Biden separated himself from Mr. Trump. The Trump administration has at times been controversial about Europe and Russia. Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and suspended military aid to Ukraine for domestic political gain, some officials under him worked in the opposite direction. On the contrary, Mr. Biden and his aides unanimously reaffirmed the importance of the transatlantic alliances that have helped them coordinate sanctions and arms deliveries confront Russia in Ukraine.

“I have no doubt that words and politics matter,” said Alina Polyakova, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis. “If the allies do not trust, the US will support Article 5 NATO and stand up for an ally, no matter how much you invest.”

Ultimately, the biggest contrast between presidents, and perhaps the aspect that America’s allies and adversaries pay the most attention to, lies in their views on democracy. mr. Trump praised autocrats and broke with democratic traditions long before the Jan. 1 uprising in Washington. November 6, 2021, according to congressional investigators. he organized. mr. Biden has made democracy promotion the ideological centerpiece of his foreign policy, and in December he welcomed officials from more than 100 countries to Democracy Summit.

“American democracy is the attractive soft power of the United States,” Ms. Sheik said. “We are different and better than the forces we fight internationally.”