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Biden's decrees vault America back onto the global stage, but a whiplashed world wonders for how long

January 24, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.8%. 2 min read.

Within hours of taking office, US President Joe Biden set to work signing a blizzard of executive orders, memorandums and directives to agencies, ranging from steps to combat the coronavirus to beginning the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord.

(CNN)Within hours of taking office, US President Joe Biden set to work signing a blizzard of executive orders, memorandums and directives to agencies, ranging from steps to combat the coronavirus to beginning the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord.

By the time Trump left office, four years later, he had signed 220, or an average of 55 a year, according to data from the American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Notably, Biden's first actions reversed several of Trump's attempts to pull out of international agreements, from starting the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord to halting the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Next week, he plans to revoke the so-called Mexico City Policy, which bars international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving US government funding, according to a draft of a calendar document sent to administration allies and viewed by CNN.

The US abandoned the non-binding agreement late last year on Trump's orders and the former president spent much of his time in office weakening many of the country's key climate and environmental guardrails.

To prevent further flip-flops on climate policy, Biden would have to get Congress on side so that legislation can be passed that can't simply be overturned by a new administration, said Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the US and the Americas Programme at UK-based think tank Chatham House and associate professor in international relations at SOAS University of London.

But Kate Dodson, vice president for global health at the UN Foundation, said Biden's move was "a welcome first step in restoring America's global health leadership" and urged sustained US funding to help WHO safeguard the health of all people, including Americans.

European allies are well aware that 74 million American voters chose Trump, said Vinjamuri, and despite Biden's election victory they may be wary of placing too much trust in America.

Vinjamuri suggests that as they seek to reassure America's allies, the Biden team could try to show that the country's foreign policy commitments have staying power by making use of concrete mechanisms such as treaties and legislation to lock them in, rather than relying on executive actions.

Biden has previously expressed a desire to return to the 2015 agreement, writing for CNN last year that Trump had "recklessly tossed away a policy that was working to keep America safe and replaced it with one that has worsened the threat. "

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