World Leaders Do the Trump-Biden Dance


Global leaders need to start engaging the next U.S. administration. But they also have to navigate the current president’s refusal to concede.

That awkwardness will be on show as Secretary of State Michael Pompeo starts a 10-day overseas trip that takes in France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. While Riyadh has gritted its teeth and congratulated Joe Biden (picture) on his election win, Turkey, whose leader is also a friend of Donald Trump, has not.

Trump’s legal moves amid unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud — alongside his efforts to prevent Biden’s transition team receiving key briefings and meeting staff in the likes of the State Department — have put the world in a bit of a difficult spot.

While countries interact with Biden (he’s already spoken with the leaders of France, Germany, the U.K., Japan and South Korea), Trump, as he licks his wounds, could still do some damage before he is due to leave office on Jan. 20.

Even as China today issued belated congratulations to Biden, the message came on behalf of the country, not President Xi Jinping. Beijing obviously felt it now needed to acknowledge the election outcome but also is keeping a wary eye on Trump, who this week issued more penalties on Chinese companies linked to the country’s military.

Biden already faces a long list of requests from nations looking for a reset after a turbulent four years with Trump. As Marc Champion explains, for Europe that means not just warmer words on NATO and tackling climate change, but tangible steps on tax and tech policy.

The question is whether, or how much, Trump’s obstructions slow Biden down.