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Born in 1942, Joseph Biden graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965. After a brief stint as a public defender, he began his political career in the Senate in 1973 representing Delaware, serving until 2009. During this time he served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 2001 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2009. He was nominated as Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and served as Vice President of the United States from 2009 until 2017.
Arms Trade Treaty
Biden's current position is unknown. Although it could be expected that Biden would support the treaty given he was Vice President when it was negotiated and supported by the Obama administration, and that the Democratic party platform supports the treaty, no statement/position on the treaty has been identified in this election cycle explicitly by Biden.
"Democrats commit to ... pushing for the ratification of the UN Arms Trade Treaty"
Arms Sales to Saudi Coalition
Biden explicitly supports ending arms sales and military support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. He has favored withdrawing military and other support.
The Biden Plan for Leading the Democratic World to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century, campaign website (reconfirmed on September 29, 2020)
"End Forever Wars: Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, which have cost us untold blood and treasure. As he has long argued, Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS. And he will end our support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen."
"Why America Must Lead Again: Rescuing U.S. Foreign Policy After Trump," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2020
"We should also end our support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen."
Fifth Democratic Debate, November 20, 2019
"And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them, we were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are. There's very little social redeeming value of the -- in the present government in Saudi Arabia. And I would also, as pointed out, I would end -- end subsidies that we have, end the sale of material to the Saudis where they're going in and murdering children, and they're murdering innocent people. And so they have to be held accountable."
Submission to Council on Foreign Policy, August 1, 2019
"I would end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen and order a reassessment of our relationship with Saudi Arabia. It is past time to restore a sense of balance, perspective, and fidelity to our values in our relationships in the Middle East. President Trump has issued Saudi Arabia a dangerous blank check. Saudi Arabia has used it to extend a war in Yemen that has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, pursue reckless foreign policy fights, and repress its own people. Among the most shameful moments of this presidency came after the brutal Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as Trump defended not the slain U.S. resident but his killers. America’s priorities in the Middle East should be set in Washington, not Riyadh.
President Trump’s first overseas trip was to Saudi Arabia. As President, I will rally the world’s democracies and our allies in the Free World. We will make clear that America will never again check its principles at the door just to buy oil or sell weapons. We should recognize the value of cooperation on counterterrorism and deterring Iran. But America needs to insist on responsible Saudi actions and impose consequences for reckless ones. I would want to hear how Saudi Arabia intends to change its approach to work with a more responsible U.S. administration."
Firearms Export Oversight
Biden explicitly supports retention of State Department oversight of firearms exports. His gun violence prevention plan specifically mentions overturning this change.
The Biden Plan to End Our Gun Violence Epidemic, released October 2, 2019 (reconfrimed on campaign website as of Sept 29, 2020).
"Biden will ensure that the authority for firearms exports stays with the State Department, and if needed reverse a proposed rule by President Trump."
South Carolina Democratic Debate transcript by CBS, February 25, 2020
"I beat the NRA twice. I got assault weapons banned. I got magazines that could not hold more than 10 rounds in them. ...And I want to tell you, if I'm elected, NRA, I'm coming for you, and gun manufacturers, I'm going to take you on and I'm going to beat you."
Mine Ban Treaty
Biden explicitly supports reversing the Trump administration’s new landmine policy, but has not indicated if he would seek to join the Mine Ban Treaty. Biden condemned the new policy and indicated expanded landmine use is not militarily necessary.
Response to Alex Ward as reported in Vox, February 3, 2020.
“The Trump administration’s reversal of years of considered decisions by Democratic and Republican presidents to curtail the use of landmines is another reckless act by a president ill-suited to serve as commander-in-chief
It will put more civilians at risk of being injured by unexploded mines, and is unnecessary from a military perspective. As president, I will promptly roll back this deeply misguided decision.”