[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] E [/yt_dropcap]ver since Trump assumed office at White House, rumors have been spinning about possible meeting between Presidents of America and China even before Trump would be able to meet his favourite leader Russian president Putin. But Trump gave preference to Israeli leaders ahead of both for a face to face meeting soon.
US President Donald Trump wrote recently to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping the first contact the two leaders have had since Xi sent a congratulatory note for the inauguration. According to the White House, Trump sent a letter to President Xi wishing him a prosperous Year of the Rooster and saying he looks forward to developing “a constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China,” press secretary Sean Spicer said. The two leaders have yet to speak by phone.
Beijing had previously said that preparatory work for the meeting was underway. But it had not yet confirmed the trip, despite western media reports on a scheduled meeting and an announcement by the Finnish government that Xi would make a brief stop in Finland on April 5. There is a new twist in the program.
Confirming recurring rumors from the past month, overnight both China’s Foreign Ministry and the White House confirmed that China’s president Xi Jinping will meet with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on April 6-7. It will be Xi’s first meeting with Trump, a little over a month after Trump used the same venue to meet with Japan’s PM Abe, and comes at a time when the two sides face pressing issues, ranging from North Korea and the South China Sea to trade disputes.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who made the announcement at a daily news briefing, did not give any more details of the meeting agenda, but spoke of the need to see the big picture while fostering mutual interests in trade relations. “The market dictates that interests between our two countries are structured so that you will always have me and I will always have you,” Lu said. “Both sides should work together to make the cake of mutual interest bigger and not simply seek fairer distribution,” he said in response to a question about trade frictions.
The summit follows a series of other recent U.S.-China meetings and conversations aimed at mending ties after strong criticism of China by Trump during his election campaign. Rex Tillerson ended a trip to Asia this month in Beijing, agreeing to work together with China on North Korea and stressing Trump’s desire to enhance understanding.
Foreign trade criticism
In expanding trade across the globe, including in Africa, the Chinese government plays a heavy hand in structuring its economy, moves that Trump and others have argued put US companies and manufacturers at a disadvantage against their Chinese counterparts. Trump’s attempts to change that reality come on top of years of attempts by previous administrations.
President Trump and his years-long rhetorical crusade against Chinese foreign trade abuses is finally colliding with the reality of face-to-face negotiation. The real estate businessman is staring down his first major opportunity to make headway on his campaign pledge to level the terms of the US-China trade relationship as he meets for the first time with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.
While Trump’s longstanding rhetoric on the trading relationship will hang over the meeting, the encounter also comes as Trump nears three months in office having done little to make good on his bold promise to fundamentally alter the trading relationship.
While Trump has focused the brunt of his rhetoric on simply reversing the United States’ $347 billion trade deficit with China, experts say an improved trading relationship will rest not on China simply changing that top-line number, but fundamentally altering the role it plays in its economy.
The series of meetings at Trump’s opulent south Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, an opportunity to “set a framework for discussion” of the trading relationship and begin the process of urging China to change policies that have led to “an uneven playing field for US companies.” One official stressed that they did not view the meeting as an opportunity to “resolve any particular issue.”
Former US officials and experts on China and international trade said they were heartened to see that Trump had not made good on some of his boldest campaign pledges — like imposing double-digit tariffs on Chinese imports or labeling China a currency manipulator. experts also warned that Trump may be enticed by a Chinese public relations coup with little long-term value aimed at Trump’s eagerness for clear-cut “wins,” like a series of quick, pre-packaged Chinese announcements of investments in the US, or headline-worthy purchases of high-profile US products. Rather than a willingness to make fundamental changes to their economies, experts said the Chinese were more likely to come bearing political enticements, like promises of investments in manufacturing plants.
Trump and his advisers have thus far signaled they will aim for more than just window dressing changes with the Chinese trade. The USA would look to “reduce the systemic trade and investment barriers that they’ve created. Trump will now need to push Xi to reduce the Chinese government’s heavy-handed regulation of its economy to lower the barriers of access to its economy for US companies, said David Dollar, a China expert at the Brookings Institution.
Dollar and other experts said top targets for the US efforts to level the playing field will also include addressing China’s abuse of US intellectual property, high tariffs on certain goods and stricter labor standards that make Chinese manufacturer’s more competitive.
Most economists and China experts have argued that Trump’s move to withdraw the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement will only serve to embolden China.
The trade deal, spearheaded by the Obama government, would have represented a clear statement of US influence in a region China has sought to dominate and would have raised labor and environmental standards in the region — putting Chinese manufacturers on a more level playing field should China choose to join the agreement, as it was likely to do.
Amid Trump’s tough talk on curbing Chinese trade abuses and reversing the US’ trade deficit with China in favor of boosting US manufacturing, Trump has yet to telegraph what he is prepared to offer China in return.
Trump had previously been criticized by some Chinese commentators for not recording a Lunar New Year message, although his daughter and granddaughter did attend a celebration at the Chinese embassy in Washington.
Since his election, Trump has challenged Beijing over a range of issues — slamming its military build-up in the South China Sea, its currency and trade policies and, perhaps most controversially, upending decades of diplomatic protocol by questioning a longstanding US policy towards Taiwan. “We highly commend President Trump for expressing festival greetings to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said.
America keeps pressuring Beijing on North Korean efforts for nukes that threaten neighboring South Korea, a loyal ally of NATO and USA, and Among the most pressing recent issues, China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and by the US decision to base an advanced missile defense system in South Korea. Beijing also remains suspicious of US intentions towards self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
Ahead of the first meeting between US President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korea fired a ballistic missile off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. The missile — which fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, on Wednesday morning — is one of several the country has test-fired in recent months.
Even before the missile test, North Korea’s nuclear program was expected to be an important talking point between Xi and Trump. The USA has been pushing China to put pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear program and missile testing, but Trump said on Sunday the United States would be prepared to act alone to stop North Korea. The test elicited a terse response from the US State Department, unlike the standard diplomatic condemnations that usually follow Pyongyang’s missile tests.
The primary concern surrounding North Korea’s weapons program is that Pyongyang could eventually equip long-range missiles with a nuclear warhead. North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests — including two last year — but experts said the country still hasn’t developed nuclear warheads that can be mounted onto missiles. Both US and South Korean officials said the projectile was a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile- from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong province, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said. It flew a distance of around 60 kilometers (37 miles) and flew as high as 189 kilometers (117 miles), South Korean officials said. The North Koreans use Sinpo shipyard for their submarine activity, and US satellites have observed increased activity there in recent days. Solid fuel is like an explosive jelly, less corrosive than liquid fuel, and it can be more easily stored in the rocket’s fuel tank than the liquid alternative, which requires specially lined tanks.
Of course, trade will be a dominant topic. Trump has repeatedly accused China of unfair trade policies, criticized its island-building in the strategic South China Sea, and accused it of doing too little to constrain North Korea, although with the “Goldman” block silencing Peter Navarro in recent months, Trump has significantly moderated his tone.
With an uptick in tests, North Korea may have significantly advanced its missile technology and increased the size of its arsenal. USA cannot do anything now, nor would it be able use China to end or threaten Chinese efforts.
Kremlin and Great Wall
Relations between Russia and China have improved considerably in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the international sanctions that followed. In 2014, the two countries signed a landmark $400 billion gas deal, as well as numerous other trade and energy agreements. In September last year, Chinese and Russian naval forces conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea, where China’s aggressive territorial claims have hurt relations with regional neighbors. Beijing, a major global investor, has invested $40 billion in a Silk Road Fund to back OBOR, and it was the primary reason for the establishment of the $50 billion China-backed AIIB development bank. Though some critics have suggested the plan could harm Sino-Russian ties, as it expands Beijing’s influence well into Moscow’s backyard, a 2015 report by 16 Russian academics said OBOR could complement Russia’s own Eurasian Economic Union, and improve ties between the two countries. “Driven by strengthening personal ties between Putin and Xi, the breadth and depth of China-Russia relations have spilled over into multiple spheres of governmental and institutional policymaking,” according to Bob Savic, a senior research fellow at London Metropolitan University’s Global Policy Institute.
Meanwhile, setting the stage for a just as critical summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that he was ready to meet US president Trump at an Arctic summit in Finland. The Russian president made this remark responding to his Finnish counterpart, who said he would be happy to receive Russian and US presidents in Finland. “I believe Finland suits this purpose well, and Helsinki is a very convenient platform to organize an event like this,” Putin said, when asked if he thought a meeting between him and Trump was possible in Finland. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said earlier that his country would “certainly be very happy to have the opportunity to hold such a summit.”
A meeting with Trump could any case take place in the framework of the G20 summit set to take place in July, according to Putin. The summit is set to take place at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki on September 18-20, 2017, according to the event’s official website.
As Trump reached out to Beijing, it was confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet with Xi in May on the sidelines of a major economic summit, according to Russian state media.
Global media are focused on the meeting between Trump and Xi as a major event of intentional importance.
Clearly, President Trump appears to favor Russia over China: he made a point of criticizing Chinese economic policy during the campaign and has also questioned US policy orthodoxy on the matter of Taiwan.
Conversely, Xi has emerged as an unlikely champion of globalization (though his rhetoric abroad often contradicts actions at home) and a potential new leader on tackling climate change.
So it is unclear whether Trump, who made criticism of expansive trade deals a key part of his platform and personally withdrew the US from President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, would choose to attend the OBOR conference even if he was invited. It is also unclear whether Trump will join the pair at the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) forum — Xi’s landmark scheme to pump billions of dollars into infrastructure and other projects across Asia, Africa and Europe. However, many in China wanted a meeting between Trump and Xi as soon as possible, with some suggestion that Trump could be invited to the May multilateral meeting.
Essentially USA and China are anti-Islamic nations with hidden agendas and the hatred for Islam as global phenomenon could be motivating factor in slashing hatred or fear between them.
Observers, especially in the West, watch keenly the meeting in Florida between two giant global leaders with veto back up and any positive outcome could help improve intentional relations.
Why Congress should be rough on Chris Miller at his testimony on Wednesday
FBI director Chris Wray’s weak congressional testimony in March left most of the Capitol attack questions unanswered and most of us scratching our heads: if the chiefs of the intelligence agencies don’t know, then who does?
As I argued back in March, before Senate Wray picked the low hanging fruit questions — such as confirming that the Trump mob that stormed the Capitol was indeed Trump’s mob and not some other people — while conviniently glazing over the real questions.
This is why the congressional testimony by former acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, this Wednesday matters. The national guard mystery is still the elephant in the room that’s still sitting in the corner in loud, deafening silence.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee has been looking for answers from federal intelligence agencies on Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrection since day one. They have knocked on pretty much any door they could think of, requesting information from sixteen offices in total. That brings us to Wednesday when the Committee will hear from Chris Miller, as well as Jeff Rosen, former acting Attorney General, and Robert Contee III, District of Columbia Police Chief, in a hearing titled “The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions.”
Back in March, when Senate grilled Wray, the FBI director could not answer why the national guard was not sent in to quell the attack. Wray vaguely put the decision on local policy makers, conveniently circumventing federal responsibility.
Then months later, defense officials actually stated that the national guard was delayed for reasons of “optics” and worries over how it would look if Trump’s mob was pushed out forcefully, as they should’ve been. Miller dragged his feet for hours before giving the green light, as he wanted to imagine what exactly the national guard’s intervention will look like. The actual deployment took only 20 minutes, logistically speaking.
Miller has already spoken about Trump’s “cause and effect” words responsible for inciting the Capitol attacks. And some commentators like Sarah Burris at Raw Story already predict that Miller is about to throw Trump under the bus on Wednesday.
But that’s not enough. Where was Miller back then? The delay was his decision and no one else’s. The Congressmen and Congresswomen of the House Oversight and Reform Committee chaired by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, should not go easy on Miller only because now, after the fact, he is willing to speak up against Trump. Now it’s easy. Now it doesn’t count.
Trump removed Secretary of Defense Esper over his objection to sending the national guard on the Black Lives Matter movement that sparked up exactly one year ago. That’s why Trump replaced Esper with Miller. Miller could have also said no to Trump but he played along. That’s why Miller doesn’t get to play hero now. There are no heroes in the Trump Administration’s aftermath. Some “cause and effect” talk and hypocritical outrage after the fact don’t count. Now doesn’t count. The House Oversight and Reform Committee shouldn’t buy this. The time for cheap spins and late awakened conscience is up. Now is the time for real answers. Miller and Rosen should get a rough ride on Wednesday. Anything else would not be acceptable.
The Way Out of the Impasse Between Iran & U.S.
On June 18th, Iran will hold its Presidential election. The current Government is led by Iran’s moderates, who are the people that aren’t closed-minded to the possibility of America’s being less than 100% determined to take back Iran as America had grabbed that country in the 1953 U.S. coup there, which ended Iran’s democracy and installed the brutal and much-hated fascist Shah Reza Pahlevi. The non-moderates in Iran will not negotiate with the United States, and never did. Restoration of the Iran deal will be impossible if the non-moderates again win power there. But we have only until before that June 18th election to restore it, if it is to be done at all.
There is a superb explanation of this situation, by Alexander Mercouris, in a 38-minute talk by him at The Duran on 2 May 2021, and it is a preface to everything that I shall here be adding to it, which will be only my policy-conclusions which follow, I believe, quite logically, from the facts that he so clearly and accurately presents there. That video (which I recommend everyone to listen to) can be seen here:
He concludes by saying (and I add my comments [in non-italics and in-between brackets]), starting at 31:50-
We will see, over the next few weeks, whether the U.S. and Iran are able to overcome their common mistrust [which has resulted from Trump’s having cancelled the Iran deal, which had taken years to negotiate] and find a way forward, or whether opponents of the JCPOA [the Iran deal] in the United States, in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and in Iran itself, will instead prevail. I should say that I think that this is going to be a key moment in the Middle East. If the United States is able to re-enter the JCPOA, after having made various steps to walk away from it [Biden’s having promised that he wouldn’t return to it unless Iran would first agree, in advance, to making concessions, beyond those it had made in the JCPOA, which — if Iran, which had adhered to the deal, which the U.S. did not, were to do that — would outrage the Iranian public and thus guarantee the current Iranian Government’s fall and replacement by the non-moderates; so, that demand by Biden was stupid in the extreme], but if it re-enters it on Iranian terms [that is, unconditionally, which is the only way for the deal’s violator to be able to return to the deal], then it would be very difficult for people in the Middle East to see it [because Biden had promised not to do that] as anything other than a major concession and a signal that the United States is, indeed retreating from the Middle East. Iran will, at that point, be in the ascendant, and it will probably increase its influence in places like Iraq, and possibly Syria and Lebanon also. The Saudis and Israelis, by contrast, will be dismayed, and no doubt they will consider what steps they should take, possibly distancing themselves, to some extent, not perhaps from the United States, but from this Administration [meaning that many mega-donors to the Democratic Party while Biden or Harris are leading the Party will quit or greatly reduce their donations to it, and that Republicans will probably then easily retake the U.S. White House in 2024]. The alternative, however, it seems to me, is worse [for the United States and everyone]. If the United States and Iran cannot agree a way forward, and the JCPOA [restoration] fails, then the situation is set up for a showdown, at some point, between the United States and Iran, with Iran, almost certainly in that case, pushing forward [under rule by its non-moderates] with its nuclear enrichment program, and forging, at the same time, ever-closer ties with the new Eurasian powers, Russia and China, which are increasingly working together. At that point, some kind of military hostilities, in the Middle East, become more likely.
The United States, once more, finds itself in a difficult position. It does so because of the way in which it has inserted itself, to such a degree, in the affairs of the Middle East, which, in some ways, it does not fully understand, and which it is certainly unable to control.
Trying to build long-term policy in the Middle East by an outside power, like the United States has done, is like trying to build a castle on a foundation of sand. The edifice might look imposing for a while, but eventually it crumbles.
It seems to me that, whatever happens, over the next few weeks, we are going to see, with these negotiations, the beginning of that long retreat, or, rather, a further step in that long retreat, of the United States, from the Middle East, and [from] that era, which began in the 1970s, when the United States managed to establish itself as the prevailing overwhelmingly dominant power across the Middle East and the country that essentially decided the course of decisions and events there.
So, this will be a step towards the end of an era. If so, however — if the United States manages to withdraw in an orderly way by agreeing to the JCPOA, despite the embarrassment and, to some extent, the humiliation [because Biden has promised not to do this] that it will suffer — that will at least provide a route for a dignified farewell.
If, on the other hand, the negotiations fail, and the JCPOA dies, then the eventual outcome of an American retreat from the Middle East will probably happen still, but the sequence of events will be disorderly, chaotic, and, perhaps, violent.
Biden chose, when he entered office in January, to commit his Administration to Trump’s foreign policies. He accepted the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which was a slap in the face to the Palestinians. He accepted Trump’s acceptance of Obama’s policy that Crimea and Donbas — which had separated themselves from Ukraine after Obama’s coup which had seized Ukraine’s government in February 2014, as a result of a plan by Obama which had started forming in Obama’s Administration in 2011 — must be seized back by Ukraine, and Biden promised that the United States would help Ukraine to do that. And he accepted Trump’s continuation of Obama’s plan to oust Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria and replace him with leaders who would be selected by the Saud family. He also accepted Obama’s and Trump’s change in American policy on Taiwan, toward switching away from the decades-long “one-China” policy of refusing to grant separate-nation status to Taiwan, toward now sending officials to Taiwan in violation of that policy and toward sending warships to the Taiwan Strait (internationally recognized by every nation except America to be Chinese territory) as a threat and preparation for publicly demanding that Taiwan be recognized by the United Nations as being a separate nation and no longer a province of China. All of these policies were build-ups toward some hoped-for surrender by Russia, and by China, and by Iran, to Biden, which would supposedly happen in some way without direct military conflict between the United States and Russia, and/or China, and/or Iran.
Furthermore: Biden continues Trump’s — who continued Obama’s — policy to get the UK Government to transfer Julian Assange from a British super-max prison in solitary confinement to a U.S. Supermax prison in solitary confinement so that the U.S. can permanently remove Assange from access to the public and perhaps execute him on totally bogus charges. Assange has never been convicted of anything and has been imprisoned by the UK Government for over a decade, awaiting a court ruling that he can be extradited to the U.S. for elimination. Here was the first day of his only trial, which ended in no conviction and in what was expected to be his release from that super-max prison, and both on that first day and on the last day of his trial (as can be seen there), British ‘justice’ was clearly outrageous and suitable only for a dictatorship. Furthermore, instead of that regime releasing him, the U.S. regime under Trump and now continuing under Biden appealed UK’s ruling that had declined to extradite him, and both the UK and the U.S. Governments are keeping him in that UK supermax solitary confinement until UK either announces that he is dead or else extradites him to a U.S. prison to await his death in some American prison — regardless of whether or not he ever becomes convicted of anything.
Biden chose this astoundingly stupid and arrogant policy of the U.S.&UK imperium, instead of criticized and renounced his immediate predecessors’ policies on these matters.
It is vastly more difficult for him to reverse those stupid and dangerous policies now, after he had announced them, and to back America down from them peaceably, than it would have been if he had not entered the White House in the way that he did, as a continuation of George W. Bush and of Barack Obama and of Donald Trump’s policies on these matters. He has been continuing down their road to World War III.
His immediate predecessors were building toward World War III, and he chose to build more toward that War, but Mercouris seems to me to be expecting that Biden will discontinue that road now, after Biden’s having committed himself toward building that way even more than his immediate predecessors did.
The road to WW III is long, and Biden, by now, should recognize that we are nearing the end of that road, which would be the inevitable annihilationist destination of the road that the U.S. has been taking.
At this point, either Iran will, yet again, have to yield-up its sovereignty (basically return to being an American colony, as it was between 1953 and 1979), or Russia will have to yield-up its sovereignty (which it never did yield), or China will have to yield-up its sovereignty (which it formerly had done when Britain grabbed it), or else the United States will have to stop demanding them to yield up their sovereignty.
Why has Biden chosen this dead-end? The reason (besides his stupidity) is obvious: The only alternative for him has been and is for the U.S. Government to face courageously and honestly in front of the entire world, that its existing policies on each one of these matters is imperialistic and alien to what had been the plan and the intent of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his plan to end all imperialisms and replace them by the first global democratic federation of nations, by means of the sole possessor of strategic weaponry being the United Nations, the organization which FDR himself invented, created and named, but which his immediate successor, Harry S. Truman, catastrophically weakened in order to prepare for the U.S. Government itself to take over control of the entire world and dictate to it as the world’s first all-encompassing global empire. In 1991 when the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance all ended, it seemed as if Truman’s goal of a global U.S. dictatorship would finally be fulfilled, and that was supposed to be “the end of history.” But it was, instead, only America’s intensified war for global dictatorship, and the end of that war will come now, but definitely not on America’s terms.
Either Biden will, now, proudly take up and continue, the vision of FDR — to end all empires, meaning especially its own, and to transform the U.N. into what FDR had planned it to become, the democratic federation of all nations — or else, there will be global nuclear annihilation.
Clearly, Biden, throughout his life, has been stupid and arrogant, but the question facing him now is whether to continue this, right up to its ugly end, or else to announce, proudly, that he is a decent person and will return America, and the world, to what had been FDR’s vision for it.
If he chooses the latter path, then — and this is the only way to do it — America will again take up the banner of freedom and democracy, to the entire world: including nations that it (for whatever reasons, valid or not) disapproves of. And, then, he will win the Nobel Peace Prize, which Obama had won but did only one thing ever to have deserved, which was the JCPOA (which he hadn’t yet even envisioned when he was accepting that entirely unearned Prize).
Whereas Mercouris seemed to me to be optimistic that Biden would do the sane thing, I am not, because Biden has given no indication that he is willing to renounce his, and his immediate predecessors’, extremely ugly record, of reaching to grab the entire world.
Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture
Trump Lost, Biden Won. Is Joe Biden’s presidency a signal towards Obama’s America?
Greek statesmen, Pericles once said, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean the politics won’t take interest in you”. The same is the case of United States politics which knowingly or unknowingly has an impact on world politics. That is why the result of the US elections are of great interest to states across the world. Although, for the United States, the goal is to maintain American primacy, to see a world in which the United States can use its predominant power to get its way, regardless of what others want. However, it is a fact that the political landscape of the United States has mostly been dominated by two parties, Republicans and Democrats, who not only differ in their ideas, policies, priorities but also in their approaches towards addressing the key issues facing the country.
Comparing the two, we see the Republicans are more conservative in their approach as compared to the liberal Democrats. Therefore, the recent election in the US (2020), with Biden (Democrat) won and trump (Republican) lost is also a signal towards a changed approach in many issue areas The focus is to see, whether the new President, Joe Biden who remained the 47th vice president during Obama’s administration for eight long years is going to follow the same lines as Barack Obama and whether he going to reverse the policies of Donald Trump?
Looking at first the climate change issues, President Joe Biden’s plans to tackle it seems more ambitious than any of the US presidential candidates so far. Biden during his presidential campaign proposed $2trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in transportation, electricity and building sectors. His public health and environment platform planned the establishment of a climate and environmental justice division. He further intends to make the US electricity production carbon-free by 2035 with achieving net-zero emissions by middle of the century. Apart from all these, the most noticeable is President Joe Biden’s promise to reverse Trump’s plan to exit from the Paris climate agreement that was signed back in 2016 under Obama’s administration.
As Joe Biden in response to the former President, Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement on 4th-Nov 2020, tweeted “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.” He further stated“Reversing the decision would be one of my first acts as president”. This is exactly what happened as Joe Biden’s first act in the Oval Office was his signing an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement. Thus, while Trump has taken a strident anti-climate approach, President Joe Biden decision shows his intentions to bring back the policies of Obama towards climate change.
Considering the health sector, we again find difference in approaches of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, yet similarity between Biden and Obama. As, President Joe Biden in his presidential campaign speech in Lancaster on June 25, 2020 defended the first American healthcare law also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare that was initiated by Obama’s administration. He stated, “I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to helping people with pre-existing conditions, it delivered vital coverage for 20 million Americans who did not have health insurance”. This depicts President Joe Biden’s plans to restore Obama’s health care policies.
America is known as the land for all, a land of cultural diversity, but we have seen with Donald Trump coming to power, the immigration rules became very strict as he imposed restrictions on foreigner’s visits to the US. An example of this is Trump’s first Muslim travel ban announced on January 27, 2017, whereby five Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, were banned from traveling to the United States. Trump stated, the act is needed for national security and to save the country from terrorism. However, this discriminatory act was opposed by ex-President Obama, who in 2016, stated: “America was a country founded on religious freedom. We don’t have religious tests here”.
This is what President Joe Biden also believes in, as he called Trump’s actions on immigration a pitiless assault on American values. On November 8, 2020 during the presidential campaign, he said,“My administration will look like America with Muslim Americans serving at every level,” and “on my first day in office I’ll end Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban.”So, President Joe Biden did what he said, as on his first day in office he signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations, including orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and end the Muslim ban.
Then racism that increased in the US under former President Donald Trump is now challenged by President Joe Biden as he came up with a very different idea just like Barack Obama’s notion of “A more perfect Union”. Example of which is Kamala Harris, who became the first black Asian America woman vice-president in American history. More can be seen by Joe Biden giving credit to African Americans for helping him win the election. So, his presidency is seen as a sign of hope to end racism in the country.
Moving further, we know globalization has cut the long-distance short, it has made countries more interconnected in all aspects, especially economic. To name a champion of globalization, obviously no other than the USA comes into the mind of every single person. Under the administration of Obama, we have seen the US convening the G-20 summit, introduced macro-economic policies, signed Trans pacific partnership, and much more. However, the question is, whether the US is going to retain this all under Joe Biden’s presidency? What would be his approach towards the ongoing US-China trade war?
President Joe Biden from the very start has focused on rebuilding the domestic economy, as the slogan ‘Build Back Better’. Therefore, he clearly stated that the US will not enter any international trade deals unless the domestic concerns of labor and the environment are fully addressed. Moreover, looking at the US-China trade war, which started back in 2018 when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth more than $360bn, we don’t find much difference except the tactics. As Joe Biden too in his presidential campaign accused China of violating international trade rules, subsidizing its companies, and stealing U.S. intellectual property. He promised to continue with Trump’s heavy tariffs on Chinese imports, but while Trump did this all unilaterally, Biden would continue it together with the allies.
On issues related to national security, we again find President Joe Biden’s approach a bit different from that of Donald Trump. Considering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or p5+1 deal that was signed between Islamic Republic of Iran and 5 permanent members of UNSC along with Germany. It imposed several restrictions on Iran in exchange for sanction reliefs and was achieved by Obama’s administration under his “constructive engagement policy“in 2015 But Trump smashed it by calling it a historical blunder and in 2018 under his “Maximum pressure policy” pulled the USA out of the deal and reinstated sanctions. Iran too after the withdrawal of US from JCPOA and upon Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) commander Qasim Sulemani killing by the US airstrike announced that it no longer adheres to the 2015 Nuclear Deal.
Now, the hope is President Joe Biden, as he stated in his presidential campaign that the “maximum pressure” policy has failed, emphasizing that it led to a significant escalation in tensions, and that Iran is now closer to a nuclear weapon than it was when Trump came to office. Therefore, he pledged to rejoin the nuclear accord if Iran returns to strict compliance. Here again it shows President Joe Biden’s intention to follow Obama’s approach of constructive engagement towards Iran.
When it comes to Afghanistan, Trump decided to end the endless war in Afghanistan by having a peace agreement with the Afghan Taliban, according to which the US will withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan. However, Joe Biden has not taken any clear decision on it yet. But he is under pressure as the Taliban wants the new president to follow the same peace accord achieved by the Trump administration. Yet, the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani has requested President Joe Biden to rethink the Afghan peace deal. Therefore, it is too early to say what Biden would do.
To sum up, the 78 years old Joe Biden who has smashed the election records by securing more votes than any presidential candidate in the history of United States elections, he has not only raised high expectations, but there are numerous challenges on his way as well. This is because his policies would now be a center of focus for many. In most of the issue areas, we see President Joe Biden reversing the policies of Donald Trump and following the path of Obama’s Administration. Something which he promised during his presidential campaign as he said to take the country on a very different path from what it has been in the past four years under former President Donald Trump’s administration. However, it’s just the start of a new journey for America and the future decisions by President Joe Biden will uncover a lot more
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