To mark the first 100 days of President Biden’s term in office, the Conservative Friends of the Commonwealth has begun a miniseries of podcasts about Joe Biden’s first 100 days and we have decided to kick it off with Robert Zoellick.
The Conservative Friends of the Commonwealth has already worked with Robert on another podcast discussing his recent book America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Robert has had a long distinguished career starting out as a judicial clerk in the early 80s before eventually rising to being appointed as the Deputy Secretary of State under the Bush administration. Robert has played a huge role in American politics as well as the private sector from being appointed to President of the World Bank from 2007- 2012 and being appointed to several executive boards notably Twitter in 2018.
Chaired by Paul Rota, we began to delve into Robert’s view on Biden's first 100 days. The conversation started with issues regarding the covid-19 vaccine in the United States. Robert feels the US has been successful with its vaccine programme with roughly 40% of the Adult population being vaccinated, but he felt there is still a risk that if restrictions are lifted too early then rates will increase again. He argues that through the deployment of the new technologies developed through the vaccine program with this cool shot system developed for the moderna or Pfizer vaccines Illustrates that point. He also highlights the pandemic has created a major project for President Biden as he has to focus on both the recovery of the United States through the pandemic and then after that the economic recovery.
Following on from that, Paul asks Robert: With the new stimulus bill being passed by the Biden administration, will there be difficulty in applying those bills across the United States effectively ? Robert explains that the original act focuses on providing tax cuts stimulus checks as well as other economic support in the US. He talks about other bills going through the house notably the infrastructure bill which focuses not just on traditional infrastructure projects such as roads or bridges but new infrastructure projects such as digitisation or biological security.
Robert was then asked about how he believes President Biden is going to be able to manage the two very different wings of the Democratic party, the progressive left leaning Democrats alongside the traditional Democratic establishment that he himself came from under the Obama administration. He explains that being 78 years old means he is not necessarily going to change his opinions overnight but that Biden has always been on the left leaning establishment wing of the Democratic party. However Robert argues that Biden is gonna have to have a battle with this progressive wing of the Democratic party as it is becoming the more dominant sector of the Democratics. He finishes by arguing that Biden’s main focus now is to try and maintain both his image as an approachable “Good old Joe” to the American public as well as maintaining the Democratic coalition within the Democratic party.
Paul and Robert go on to discuss various other topics such as the split within the Republican party surrounding President Trump, questions surrounding Biden’s future presidency potentially being a “gatekeeper” for a progressive candidate and the Biden administration's efforts to pull out troops from afghanistan.
If you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding of American politics from an experienced political campaigner from the Republican party or gain a better understanding of President Biden and the current actions of the Democratic party, the Conservative Friends of the Commonwealth’s podcast is the best place to go for this.
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