Biden in White House: America & the World are in Safe Hands


Iqbal Khan

Joe Biden’s platter is full, depends on where he wants to begin from. If he takes a course to un-Trump America, he would have achieved a lot if he is closer to retrieve the US to the status at which Obama-Biden duo handed it over to President Donald Trump.

Quick recommitment to Trump stampeded international treaties like Climate Change, Iran Nuclear deal, Oslo Accords, reinforcing commitments to negotiate lapsed arms control and disarmament treaties, addressing the concerns of EU, Nato, and other allies, stopping further settlements in the West Bank, reversing shifting of US embassy to Jerusalem etc. could be good starting point. Pacifying its neighbouring counties would ease out the anti-America sentiment in American continents.

More important issues are bridling China phobia, stabilising relations with Russia and rationalising India pampering. Due to erratic foreign policy trajectories, the US has embarked upon some lose-lose ventures. Impact of anti-China drive is consuming the US strategically and economically. Russia has assumed the role of a wild card in World politics and India is fast becoming a rogue don of South Asia. New York Times reported on November 10: “All along, China’s leaders showed indifference toward the presidential race, having concluded that no matter who won, the United States would remain irreconcilably opposed to the country’s rise”. According to NYT Beijing bureau chief, “Tensions between the two countries are likely to fester”. “They could even become more pronounced — over trade, tech, Taiwan and other issues”.

After four horrible Trump years, many Americans want to believe that the United States is on the verge of a new beginning. However, according to Daron Acemoglu: “Trump won’t be the last American populist [President]”. Trumpism is a way of life for a substantial number of Americans. “The roots of Trumpism didn’t begin or end with Trump or even with American politics—they are closely connected to economic and political currents affecting much of the world. Americans must understand and address these if they are to prevent similar forces from once again seizing the nation”.

These Elections have brought to fore a highly polarised US society on partisan lines; extraordinary high turnout and razor edge results portray a high intensity of the divisive sentiment. Above all, over 70 million Americans have endorsed Trump’s policies. For Biden, it’s an opportunity to provide healing touch to America society and reshape “Ugly American” image of the US abroad. And he is appropriately suitable for this task due to his prudence, maturity and balance.

In their victory speeches this weekend, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris declared that combating climate change will be one of their administration’s top priorities, alongside containing COVID-19, rebuilding the US economy, rooting out systemic racism, and bridging America’s political divides.

With change in guard at the White House, there won’t be any substantial change in the US policy towards Pakistan, beyond a symbolic euphoria of an ease-out in periphery matters.  At strategic tier, America’s policy towards Pakistan is a subset of its China phobia. Hence, Biden Administration will keep pumping in multi-dimensional strategic advantages to further empower India in the vain hope that one day it will fight and browbeat China on America’s behalf. Even though India had disappointed the US twice during Trump’s Presidency—Doklam and Ladakh crises.

Foreign policy experts expect that the Biden administration will be tougher on India”. PM Narendra Modi faces an American President whom he did not endorse, and whose opponent was extravagantly over projected in Texas, Houston, Texas and later in Gujarat, India. Twitter is a buzz with #HowdyModi  & #NamasteTrump tweets. Biden was instrumental in imposing travel ban on Modi in the wake of Gujarat pogrom of Muslims in 2002.

Like most of his predecessors, candidate Biden did a lot talk of solving Kashmir dispute; his Vice President Kamala Harris is also known for raising her voice for Human Rights violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. However, like many of their predecessors, both are likely to forget about it much earlier than their inaugural. Substantial portion of America’s Pakistan policy is hostage to India’s nod. Over the last decade or so, American articulations regarding Pakistan have been incrementally adopting Indian dictum and tenor. “Since Trump and Biden both have [been], generally speaking, similar views on Pakistan and the region, I don’t think we should overstate the election’s impact in South Asia,” said Michael Kugelman of Wilson Centre.

Though some Pakistan’s foreign policy experts believe that with Joe Biden in White House, a return to “normalcy” is expected, though with caveats. The Trump-era contempt for diplomacy would certainly come to a close. But “Pakistan shouldn’t raise the bar of expectation.” Biden is likely to restore the dignity of all international organizations that will help Pakistan because there will be a certain level of predictability.

Biden had been deeply involved in South Asian affairs from the time when he was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and played an instrumental role in having the $7.5 billion Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill passed by the US Senate. Biden administration is expected to return the US to the international organisations abandoned by Trump and re-join the Paris Climate agreement. He is likely to invest more in its relationship with like-minded countries. “A Biden White House would have a better understanding of what is important for the region,” he said. Biden, who served as Obama’s deputy for eight years, experts believe, will have a more conciliatory foreign policy towards China and even Iran.

Over the decades, the US has invested very heavily in nurturing Hate-China sentiment amongst its own people. This roller coaster has attained its own critical mass, and it’s no longer possible to reverse it through a presidential wish. Anti-china is a bipartisan malice in the US—its fast turning into an industry, and it’s only a difference of shade whether it’s a Democratic President in the White House or a Republican. Anti-China sells well and bring political and economic dividends to politicians and businesses.

Biden, met Chinese President Xi Jinping several times when he was in government, has said that under his administration the US would lead by the “power of its example” rather than the “example of its power”. Analysts say while Biden’s tactics might change, the tougher US strategy towards China would remain if he took the White House given its broad bipartisan support.” “Getting tough on China has become a source of rare bipartisan consensus in a polarised political climate,” wrote Hui Feng, a senior research fellow at Australia’s Griffith University’s academic website, The Conversation: “a fundamental U-turn in US-China relations is still unlikely.”

Actually, America, as a nation, lost the 2020 presidential elections, it lost the race for decency, tolerance, and credibility of its government system. Lesson for contemporary democracy is: Country doesn’t matter, present era politicians are birds of same flock. Elections are perceived as free and fair only by the winning side. With the slightest chance of losing in sight, the effected ones start shouting of factual or fictional foul play. Losers are more often sour than gracious. Once a norm, now free and fair elections, and their bipartisan acceptance as such, are more of a fairy tale.

Election 2020 is over, but Trump-slinging [read mud-slinging] has just begun. President Trump’s post electoral results statement shows that he does not wish to quit gracefully.

America needs a heeling touch. It is refreshing that President Elect Joe Biden wishes to start working on that aspect immediately. His Victory Speech radiated hope that Americans are in safe hands.

Writer is a freelance columnist; email: