Given the brutish approach of his predecessor, many expected President Joe Biden to shift away from the worst practices in U.S. foreign policy and at the border in the previous four years. Indeed, in the first weeks of his presidency, the Biden administration signaled changes. In Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s first press briefing, the State Department announced that it was reviewing weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — which have led the catastrophic war on Yemen with essential U.S. partnership.

A week later, Biden declared in his first foreign policy address as president that “We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.”

Regarding its practices at the border, Biden administration officials promised a shift away from Trump’s practices of separating families and caging children, calling them a “moral failing.” He said that the new White House would “deal with immigration comprehensively, fairly, and humanely.”

As 2021 comes to a close, however, we are seeing the latter part of a trajectory that settles into familiar, disastrous militarism.

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Khury Petersen-Smith is the Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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