With his $6 trillion plan to build back the US, create jobs and bring benefits for Americans and encourage green energy, Joe Biden cuts an impressive figure as a president. As he completes 100 days in office, we must appreciate and learn from his ability to tackle current crises like the pandemic, while keeping an eye on problems which might arise in the future.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, at 78 years, is the oldest man to be elected as the US President. After coming to power with the highest ever number of popular votes—81 million—he seems to be in a tearing hurry to transform a beleaguered US with missionary zeal. He has unleashed the largest government spending ($6 trillion) to revamp the creaking infrastructure in the country, push the green energy agenda, create millions of jobs and help the economy gallop ahead.

Addressing the Joint Session of the Congress on 30 April, on the completion of 100 days in office, Biden, with hope, optimism and determination, painted an enticing vision for the US, promising the nation will regain and reassert its global leadership role. “America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.” These phrases have a familiar ring to them; in the initial phase of the Covid crisis in 2020, PM Modi also spoke about turning crises into opportunities. And last year, on Kaun Banega Crorepati, host Amitabh Bachchan popularised the tagline, “Setback ka jawab comeback se”. Not surprisingly, Vinay Reddy’s speechwriting talent betrays his Indian genes!

In a world devastated by the Covid pandemic—especially in India where lakhs of people are gasping for oxygen and there isn’t enough space for cremations—Biden’s claim that within 100 days of his presidency 220 million Americans have received vaccine shots underlines his priorities and his seriousness to get the better of this deadly virus. Unlike his predecessor, who didn’t acknowledge the unfolding crisis and was reluctant to even use a mask, Biden accepts the dangers. “There is no wall high enough to keep any virus away,” he says, but is hopeful of not only saving American lives but seeing America become “an arsenal of vaccines for other countries”.

His Republican detractors might castigate him as a big spending socialist liberal dividing the country by taxing the wealthy to help the needy in an already polarized society, but the 53% approval rating for his decisions is quite impressive. Understandably, his ambitious, transformative domestic economic revival initiatives are supported by 97% Democrats and a vast majority of the middle class and lower middle class who will benefit the most.

He isn’t oblivious of the prevailing grim ground realities and long-term competition posed by China but shows the audacity and daring of Rishabh Pant in fighting and bouncing back. Asserting that the US is “rising anew”, building itself back and is “ready to take off”, he stressed, “In America, we always get up. We have shown each other and the world: there is no quit in America.” These are quite inspiring words coming from the supreme commander of the US forces.

In addition to $2.3 trillion already committed to boost the economy, Biden is proposing $2.3 trillion for the American Jobs Plan and $1.8 trillion for the American Families Plan which should be a shot in the arm for the middle and lower middle classes in the US. Thus, since moving into the White House, the 46th President has sought to fund various imaginative plans with a budget of $6 trillion, which is more than double of India’s annual GDP.

Dismissing Republican criticism that he was bringing a ‘welfare state’ through the back door, he asserted that “the trickle-down policy” of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump hasn’t worked in America. He bluntly pointed out that during the pandemic the worth of 650 billionaires has gone up by a whopping $1trillion and 65 of America’s biggest MNCs paid no taxes last year even though they made $40 billion in profit! It sounds familiar; in the last six months, notwithstanding the Covid crisis, India has, according to Forbes, added 17 billionaires and the collective worth of 119 billionaires is estimated to be around $300 billion.

After joining the Paris Agreement within hours of being sworn in, Biden lost no time in assuming leadership for the global fight against climate change and is leading by example. At a virtual summit of 40 world leaders hosted by him on 22 April, he made a game-changing pledge to reduce America’s carbon emission by 50-52% of its 2005 level by 2030. He also pledged to double the climate financing of developing countries and raised the allocation of funds for research and innovation for developing newer carbon capturing and emission reduction technologies. He has also pledged to pay the US’ outstanding dues to the Green Climate Fund. Biden is pushing for green energy smartly, claiming that “good climate policy is also good economic policy”. He asserted in the last session of the summit, “It’s not about the threat that climate change poses. It is about the opportunity that addressing climate change provides; an opportunity to create millions of good paying jobs around the world in innovative sectors.”

On the basis of PPP China’s GDP might have overtaken the US’, but it might have more foreign exchange reserves—around US$ 4 trillion. China has emerged as the largest trading partner for more countries than the US (47) and more than 140 countries have joined China’s BRI. With burgeoning economic and military muscles, China might also be asserting a claim on the South China Sea, but Biden isn’t willing to throw in his towel just yet. As China and India are tipped to herald the 21st century as the Asian Century, Biden has declared, “We are in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century.” With $6 trillion for his plans, if passed by the Congress and the Senate, he hopes to out-compete China in spite of Xi Jinping’s vision for 2029. In his two-hour long conversation with Jinping, Biden stressed that the US will maintain a strong presence in the Indo-Pacific, not to start a conflict but to prevent one.

Biden has also pledged to help friends and allies and, after some initial hesitancy, authorized one of the largest supplies of relief assistance to India to help overcome the Covid crisis. Unlike Trump, Biden seeks global cooperation to meet global problems and candidly admits that “no one country can deal with all the crises of our time alone.”

Moreover, although convinced of Putin’s meddling in the last presidential election, Biden is willing to participate in a summit with him. His government is also engaging with Iran.

However, after the US spent $1.3 trillion and suffered 2,700 deaths, Biden has decided to exit from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021, twenty years after achieving nothing, handing over Afghanistan to Taliban on a platter. Raging civil war, a resurgence of terrorist groups, and the return of a repressive regime seem highly likely now. What a shame!

Biden is also the first US president to address Mme Vice President and Mme Speaker at the Joint Session of the Congress, with Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi smiling in their masks. He is also the biggest feminist president ever—55% of his 1,500 administrative appointments are women!

Given his qualities, we must ask the question: can’t we emulate him?

The author, a former Ambassador, writes on political and strategic affairs.