Middle East

In Biden’s Foreign Policy, Friends and Foes Claim Echoes of Trump

They include Mr. Biden’s continuation of Trump-era trade tariffs, which Democrats roundly denounced before Mr. Biden took office but his officials quickly came to see as a source of leverage in their dealings with China.

Similarly, Iranian officials complain bitterly that Mr. Biden has not lifted any of the numerous economic sanctions that Mr. Trump imposed after he withdrew from the nuclear deal. Early in Mr. Biden’s presidency, some European allies urged the administration to lift some of those restrictions as a way to jump-start nuclear talks, but Biden officials declined to do so.

Last month, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, charged that “America’s current administration is no different from the previous one, because what it demands from Iran on the nuclear issue is different in words but the same thing that Trump demanded,” Mr. Khamenei’s official website quoted him as saying.

Now, after a monthslong pause in negotiations and the election of a new, hard-line government in Tehran, Biden officials are warning Iran that time is running out for a mutual return to the nuclear agreement.

Mr. Trump was criticized by countless foreign policy veterans of both parties. But critiques of the Biden team’s management are also growing, particularly after the U.S. military’s erroneous drone strike in Kabul last month killed 10 civilians, including seven children and an aid worker.

Some Biden officials, without admitting much fault, say the work of diplomacy has been particularly difficult given that scores of experienced Foreign Service officers retired during the Trump administration. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, has also blocked dozens of Biden nominees to senior State Department positions and ambassadorships.

Mr. Biden is also encountering the Trump comparison in other settings, including on immigration.

“The question that’s being asked now is: How are you actually different than Trump?” Marisa Franco, the executive director of Mijente, a Latino civil rights organization, told The Times this week.

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