Ken Roth at Human Rights Watch:
In his biggest policy announcement, he said the US government would end support for offensive operations in Yemen. That’s an important step, given the Saudi-led coalition’s disturbing pattern of using US precision weapons and intelligence to hit Yemeni civilian targets such as markets, funerals, and even a school bus. Trump closed his eyes to all that in the name of (illusory) US jobs. Biden rightfully will have nothing to do with it.
Biden noted that the US government would continue to help Saudi Arabia to defend itself from missile and drone attacks. But he didn’t address other abuses by one-time members of the Saudi-led coalition, such as the United Arab Emirates, which has been supporting highly abusive forces in Libya. The US government should have nothing to do with that, either.
Biden addressed the importance of alliances and partnerships. While Trump largely abandoned the defense of human rights, other governments came to the fore—Latin American democracies on Venezuela, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for Rohingya Muslims, various Western governments on China, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, among others. Arguably, the defense of human rights is more powerful today than four years ago because it is more genuinely global. The US government’s task is to join that multilateral effort, not supplant it.