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Trump, Biden Spar Over Quad’s Return

Trump and Biden face off on Thursday in an unprecedentedly early presidential debate and their campaigns are engaged in the run-up in a vitriolic exchange of words….reports Yaswant Raj

So who “put together” or “re-established” the Quad? The Trump campaign on Tuesday slammed President Joe Biden for claiming in a recent interview that he “put together” the Quad, an evolving multilateral group of nations comprising the United States, India, Australia, and Japan focussed on dealing with the aggressive rise of China.

“This is a classic example of Crooked Joe Biden taking credit for something he didn’t do. The reality is President Trump re-established the Quad in 2017 – a historic agreement that was lauded as breakthrough foreign policy,” the Trump campaign said in a document it released called “Biden Lies: Foreign Policy Edition”.

“Just one of the many historic foreign policy achievements that set the world on a path towards unprecedented peace – until Crooked Joe Biden screwed it all up.”

Trump and Biden face off on Thursday in an unprecedentedly early presidential debate and their campaigns are engaged in the run-up in a vitriolic exchange of words.

Biden is hoping to use the debate to reverse the negative narrative weighing down his poll numbers and Trump is seeking to insulate his chances from his legal troubles, which include a historic conviction of criminal charges for a former President.

The Quad was founded in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami by the four countries – India, Japan, the US, and Australia – to pool their resources for relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas, chiefly the Indo-Pacific. Over the next few years, the group came to be seen as a counter-force to China, which used its economic clout to prise away Australia. Canberra announced its pull-out in 2008, killing the group.

President Trump’s administration resurrected the group in 2017 with a meeting of the officials of the four nations on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings in Manila. And over the next two years, it was elevated it to the level of foreign ministers, who met for the first time as a group in 2019 on the margins of the UN General Assembly meetings. That was a breakthrough meeting for its time.

Biden, who won the US presidential election the next year and took office in January 2021, made the Quad an immediate priority and elevated it to the level of leaders in a virtual summit in March, just two months after being sworn in.

That was the first ever summit-level meeting of the Quad, in person or virtual. Biden followed it up with the first in-person summit of the group a few months later in September, when the leaders were in the US for the annual UN General Assembly meetings in New York City.

“We put together the Quad, which is India, Australia, the United States and Japan,” Biden said in an interview to Fareed Zakaria of CNN.

Biden did not put together the Quad. He elevated it to the level of leaders. That’s a fact.

Trump did re-establish the Quad. And that’s a fact as well.

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