Biden in office

Advocate Hammad Ali

WHERE the dawn of New Year brought throughout the world, the hope to defeat the hidden enemy i.e. Covid-19, it prompted shame and disgrace for the US. First time in the history of the United States, an outgoing President instigated such a disgusting act of violence. No one, Uncle Sam’s own citizens attacked the Capitol Hill, which is symbol of democracy. It is said that today if America is great it is because of its great presidents. Those presidents who fetch freedom from the colonialists and gave to the country true democratic basis. The presidents who shown to the world the practical of principle of separation of power and proved that institutional limits are one of a prerequisites for development of countries. The presidents who boldly faced multiple internal crisis, for instance, civil war, economic depression but proved the most diverse states more resilient. The presidents who led the country through different international wars but kept the United States.

But the racist, misogynist and chauvinist ex-President has proved otherwise. He brought bad name to the US. His reductionist and xenophobic view of international law reduced the leading role of the US at international forums. His isolationist policies affected America’s international standing and credibility as a world leader. Although he was face of white supremacist, other well informed, liberal and democratic public of the US has thrown him out from the White House. He is going to earn the title of first President of the US who will have been impeached twice. It confirms that despite the presence of numerous chauvinists and extremists the US public is vigilant, liberal and responsible. Finally Biden is the new resident of White House. A seasoned politician, who remained in the senate for nearly three decades, and also served as the Vice-President during Obama’s period has come to power. He is going to govern a highly polarised and divided nation.

In his first foreign policy speech on Feb. O4, he said, “America is back.” It shows his determination and confidence to make America great again. He has to deal with following issues at international level. Firstly, the rising China. He has to counter a power emerging from behind the Great Wall. He must devise a plan to cope with China through soft power. Current century is the century of trade and investment. Instead of using force and intimidating the other states, the hyper America should invest as much as she can throughout the world to win states’ alliances again China.

The second most important issue is Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as Iran nuclear deal. It was a great win of all actors. Iran began to comply the laws and limits ascertained By International Atomic Energy Agency. It was a great initiative towards peace in the Middle East. But a short sighted leader and economic giant withdrew from the deal to please the Arabian billionaire and Israeli Bloc. Resultantly, peace erupted and arms race ignited. The war in Yemen also intensified. Thus millions suffered and multiple kicked the bucket. Now Biden administration must review this policy. Efforts must be made to make deal and implement in true essence for the safety and well being of the people of the region which is most devastating one and is witnessing instability since long. Third and the most important issue for Biden Administration is Afghan peace process.

Reservations aside on all other policies, Trump deserves credit for his efforts to end the longest war. He brought the military personnel in Afghanistan at lowest level. First time Taliban and the US Administration came to table. But change of command in the US has rung the alarm bells. Antony Blinken issued a statement that we the United States have intention to review” the (Doha) deal and check whether the Taliban are “living up to [their] commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, reduce violence in Afghanistan and engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders”. It’s a good thing to notice either the Taliban are following the Peace deal or not, but it must not mean to put at stake the whole peace agreement already made. Biden Administration must try its best to keep Taliban on the table. The US must assist the Afghan government, Taliban and other stakeholders to sort out intra-Afghanistan matters. The peace process must not be made in haste. The US must take into account the importance of parties linked to Afghanistan issue. Pakistan is one of them. The last Administration recognised the efforts made by Pakistan in this regard. Realising the sensitivity and importance of the issue, Biden Administration must inclusively sort out this issue for peace, progress and prosperity of the region in general and Afghanistan in particular.

In his first foreign policy speech, Biden has practically proved his commitment to just, liberal and modern approach by withdrawing the US support for Saudi’s campaigns in Yemen which have affected millions. Furthermore he also reassured his love for democracy by declaring the Generals’ step in Myanmar illegal, and said the US would try to pressurise military in Myanmar to step down. Thus, we hope that Biden will add his name into the list of great presidents.
—The writer is practicing Lawyer and human rights activist, based in Lahore.