The Next Course for USA

Biden 1

The heavy burden of so-called Trumpism has been removed from the shoulders of the USA. Donald Trump could not perpetuate his reign adopting the policy of Joseph Goebbels. But the bad legacy and its consequential effects are not over yet. The new administration led by Joe Biden faces an upheaval task to overcome the challenges. The so-called all-powerful USA is now a shattered nation. No doubt Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on economy are the two main concerns for the new administration. Donald Trump not only made a mess inside, but at the same time he left the international diplomatic order in a chaotic condition. Thanks to Trump, USA could have had the experience of being ruled by a despot which they normally see in a third world country and in many cases they themselves patronize those despots for their geopolitical interest.

Joe Biden has some Himalayan obstacles ahead of him to conquer. First, he must rebuild the own house. Trump´s Divided States of America must be reverted back to the United States of America. Because of Trump the U.S. was in the brink of a civil-war like situation. Some extremist demonstrators who invaded the Capitol Hill even carried “Confederation” flags. The group is very serious and very determined. They cannot accept the long overdue emergence of black power. To them “black life” does not matter. With the tacit support of Trump the “White Supremacists” eclipsed normal political atmosphere. It will not be easy for the new administration to bring back normalcy, because the present situation has been created gradually over a long period of time, the outburst of which had been seen in the Capitol Hill invasion. The US society is now more polarized than ever.

Donald Trump was the ruler of such a maniac type that he tried to ignore the covid-19 pandemic although he was fully aware of it. He tried to ignore it in the name of saving the economy. He could have adopted a middle course and could try to save both human lives and the economy. Due to a deliberate wrong policy he lost both. Before he was forced to leave the White House more than 4 hundred thousand people died of covid-19 and the economy was in its worst condition in decades. Pro-Trump groups argue, had there been no pandemic, Trump´s election victory could not be stopped. There is some substance to their arguments. But if one looks back, it can be seen that Clinton had better economic performance than that of Senior Bush. Obama did better than Junior Bush. And Trump outperformed Obama in the economic sector but he achieved it at the cost of the ordinary people´s due interest. Most of the benefits went to the super-rich group or owners of the corporate bodies who do not constitute more than 10% of the population. And there is no charisma that U.S. economy continues to grow because it is still a hugely expanding economy unlike most of the other developed countries.

In the USA it is no longer a choice between conservatism and liberalism. Populism has engulfed the liberal political force. A vast number of the supporters of the Republican Party have been radicalized against the changing political scenario where colored, Latin and Asian people are asserting their positions in the society. Particularly the less educated white working class feels threatened by them though they themselves are responsible for their non-advancement. It will be a hard and tenacious task for the GOP to come out of this rightist populistic mentality. And the Democratic Party must try harder to make aware the non-college educated white people of their comprehensive rights. What a pity that this group prefer to sacrifice their health care or educational rights in exchange for a negligible cash incentives. They are not even ready to fight for a minimum wage.

Internationally the new administration has both some easy and some hard challenges. Biden has already solved two issues with simple executive orders. The US is now back to the international Climate Group and have rejoined the Paris Agreement. They have also returned to World Health Organization.

Major test awaits in the Middle-East, in the Asia-Pacific region –  particularly on US policy towards China, and on its relationship with the EU. Many observers believe that new administration will make a balance between interventionism and isolationism. Some might level it opportunism and some others will describe it pragmatism. US´s  commitments to democracy, human rights, and rule of law will be tested again. Will these be her genuine stands or just some handful tools for maneuvering? President Biden in his first Foreign Policy address said “US is back” in the international scene meaning they will be more involved in global issues. He emphasized on human rights. But in the past it has been seen that they put pressure on countries with poor human right records and tarnished democracy. But instead of establishing democracy or human rights, they used these pressures to materialize their own political and economic agenda. Many countries have also experienced it.

Mr. Biden declared a welcome departure from U.S´s Yemen policy. He singled out that the U.S. would no longer support offensive operation there signaling a warning to the Saudi Arabia, its trusted alley in the region. But will it go further and make the Crown Prince accountable for all his misdeeds including the Jamal Khashoggi murder? Will they stop arms sales worth billions of dollars to the Kingdom till their human right records improves to a minimum standard?

The Israel-Palestine issue will be a major test. They have already said, the U.S. embassy will not be moved back to Tel Aviv. It means they have compromised with Israel on a basic question. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be their capital when an independent Palestine is established to which U.S. is still committed. Can Biden administration declare that in that case they will open their Palestine embassy in East Jerusalem? Israel argues that the U.S.A cannot withdraw from the treaties and understandings which have already been signed or reached between them. But if a treaty or understanding is made violating international laws, no country is bound to abide by it. Hence illegal occupation and construction of buildings in occupied areas must be vacated. If they genuinely believe in two-state solution and viability of the Palestine state, Washington should restrain Tel Aviv from its “Bantustan” policy once adopted by racist South African junta. Tel Aviv must remember that apartheid policy has no place in today´s world.

Most of the observers believe, Biden administration can go back to Iran-US treaty on Tehran´s nuclear energy program which was signed during Obama period and thereby ease the tension to some extent in the region. However, Israel will oppose the move to return to that treaty vehemently. It may be mentioned here that China, Russia, Germany, France and the U.K. are also parties to this treaty.

Biden can handle with Russia without much difficulties because it is no longer a super power which it had been half a century ago. But Moscow cannot be ignored altogether since it has some strategic advantage and leverage in areas like Iran and Syria.

Now the world is very carefully watching how the relationship evolves between the USA and China. For a long period of time international community has mainly seen a one-polar based world. It has changed rapidly. Now Washington and Beijing are almost at par in different aspects. In a quarter-century China might surpass the USA in some important fields. Will the US take China as a fair competitor or will it try to eliminate it unfairly? The US has some genuine concerns with China like intellectual property right, unfair trade policy etc. But when USA want to encircle it with the help of Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, the Philippines and some other neighbors or want to patronize Taiwan against China its ill motives become clear. The US says it is a counter measure against China´s aggressive policy in the region and beyond. The world wants to see a harmonious relation between Washington and Beijing based on justice and fair-play. They have no right to make the rest of the world suffer for their selfish interests.

Anisur Rahman is a senior Bangladeshi journalist now living in Sweden

E-mail: [email protected]




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