Yahoo News Editor-in-Chief Dan Klaidman on the Biden administration's foreign policy

Dan Klaidman, Yahoo News's Editor-in-Chief, chats with Yahoo Finance's Seana Smith and Adam Shapiro to discuss the Biden administration's handling of cybersecurity, international relations, and the divide in the Democratic Party.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Turning to White House foreign policy, now, critics say that President Biden is not doing enough to combat the cyberattacks by aggressors like Russia and China. So joining us now to discuss a little bit more about this, we want to bring in Yahoo News editor in chief Dan Klaidman. And Dan, Biden's policy towards China specifically really coming into focus, especially this week on the heels of the cyberattack on Microsoft. And I'm curious just to get your take on his approach to foreign policy so far and what he's done in order to counter some of these cyberattacks from China and from Russia.

DAN KLAIDMAN: Well, the cyber and ransomware challenge is huge for this administration. It's been a problem for a long time. We're seeing it's getting worse and worse. It could have a tremendous impact on our economy and national security more generally. And I think that the Biden administration has realized that it's going to have to get bolder and, frankly, take some more risks.

And that means that they are going to have to, I think, get more offensive minded in their cyber strategy, not just play defense. And that is risky because that means there's a possibility for kind of a tit-for-tat escalation that could spin out of control. And remember, the United States is more vulnerable than any other nation because we are the most digitally connected nation in the world. And beyond that, much of our critical infrastructure is owned by the private sector, which gives the government less leverage.

The interesting that I think happened-- thing that happened in the wake of the Chinese attack on Microsoft servers and the Microsoft email system is that the Biden administration, they did not impose sanctions on the Chinese, but they called them out. And what they did was they rallied their allies and partners, particularly the European Union and NATO for the first time, to call out the Chinese for what they did. That's important because it suggests a kind of multilateral approach consistent with, you know, Biden's-- his more general approach toward foreign policy. But getting our allies behind us is really the only way that the United States is going to be effective against the Chinese.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Dan, we're talking about a 21st-century issue, but there's an old-fashioned issue. And the withdrawal of the troops from Afghanistan, is part of that because we need to have our military forces ready-- I don't want to say in case something happens with Taiwan, but the president's alluded to those kinds of things, hasn't he?

DAN KLAIDMAN: You know, it is-- it really is exactly that. I mean, it's broader than that. You know, successive administrations, including the previous administration, the Trump administration, have desperately wanted to get out of the quicksand of the Middle East and pivot toward Asia because everyone knows that our economic interests and our national security interests lie there perhaps more than anywhere else with China rising. I mean, China will-- as you guys know, will surpass the United States as an economic-- as the premier economic power in the world in 10 years. And so there is no time to lose here.

And you know, look, the problem is that the Middle East always kind of sucks you back in. You know, you've got the possibility of a terrorist attack that could always happen, and you've got Iran that remains a real threat to our national security. But the Biden administration made the decision-- this is something that Joe Biden, I think, has believed in for quite some time, that 20 years in Afghanistan was enough. It's the-- we're about to have the 20th anniversary of the-- of September-- the September 11 attacks and that it was time to do this.

By the way, there are also domestic political considerations as well. This has not been a popular war. We've-- you know, 2,500 American troops died there, 20,000 wounded, and tens and tens of billions of American treasure that we've spent there. So that was a consideration as well.

SEANA SMITH: Dan, I know another issue that you're closely been tracking has been the division that we're seeing within the Democratic party over the past six months, the first six months of President Biden in the White House. We even heard it earlier this hour. Congressman DeFazio, he was basically saying that he's not happy with the bipartisan infrastructure deal that so many of the Democrats are pushing at this point. I guess what does President Biden need to do going forward in order to successfully deal with some of the division that we're seeing within the Democratic Party?

DAN KLAIDMAN: Well, this was always going to be tough for Joe Biden. And I actually think he's succeeded far better than most people would have expected up until this point. It was always going to be very tricky to kind of keep this coalition together. I think he was smart by coming out very quickly with that very significant COVID relief package that had a lot of things that progressives in the Democratic Party wanted, including the child tax credit. And so that gave him a little bit of capital moving forward, but it gets tougher and tougher as he goes along. I think if they can pull off this kind of two-step--

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