1. China- Biden will have to continue to confront Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence in the region in order to protect American interests, such as protecting Taiwan from Chinese aggression and the military buildup in the South China Sea. More broadly, the Biden administration will have to find a way to manage the U.S.-China rivalry on issues such as trade, technology, and human rights and craft a policy that protects jobs and prevents the Chinese from taking advantage of the U.S. economically while also making sure that Beijing does not develop a position of dominance in key economic, political, and military spheres.
2. Russia- Biden will also have to find ways of managing the U.S.-Russia relationship, particularly with respect to continued U.S. sanctions against Moscow. Biden will have to address Russia’s cyber-attacks against the U.S. and its attempts to destabilize the rules-based international order while also looking for opportunities to cooperate with Moscow on global challenges such as nonproliferation.
3. War in the Middle East- Biden must be prepared to address problems in the Middle East, such as the ongoing conflicts in Yemen and Syria, as well as Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its role in the region. There is a complex array of actors involved in the various conflicts that includes the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the ongoing war in Syria, and the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Biden must find a way to manage these conflicts while also looking for opportunities to promote reconciliation and stability in the region.