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Chile’s plebiscite: Optimism, yet there remains a long road ahead to achieve social reform

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Image credit: Sandra Cuffe/Al Jazeera

In a groundbreaking plebiscite held on 25 October, Chileans went to the polls to vote whether to uphold or replace the Pinochet-era constitution. An overwhelming majority of 78% voted in favor to draft a new constitution and to hold a constituent assembly to draw up this new document. Elections for the candidates who will partake in the constituent assembly will take place in April. But, why did Chileans vote so massively in favor of a new constitution? And how will these events unfold?

The Pinochet-era Constitution

To understand the importance of this vote and specifically why most Chileans voted to draft a new constitution we have to go back to 1973, when Chile suffered a US-backed military coup at the hands of General Augusto Pinochet, who then ruled the country from 1973 to 1991. Pinochet made sweeping neoliberal economic reforms kowtowing to the United States’ ultraliberal economists from the University of Chicago under leadership of Nobel prize winner Milton Friedman, dubbed the Chicago Boys. The Chicago Boys used the Southern Cone country as their neoliberal playground and the country implemented radical neoliberal reforms by imposing minimalist state intervention policies, the privatization of public goods, market liberalization and fiscal and monetary austerity measures. This fueled the fires of growing inequality as prices for privatized services such as education, pensions and healthcare skyrocketed. Consequently, the cost of living in Chile rose and wealth was concentrated in the hands of the rich elites.

More importantly, these neoliberal policies were embedded into Chilean society since Pinochet drafted a new constitution in 1980 that enshrined these philosophies. Many Chileans, however, consider this constitution fraudulent and an abomination to their civil rights.They argue that the constitution was drafted by a dictator during a repressive regime which embodied torture, extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses. Moreover, they claim that the process in which the constitution got written and implemented was unjust. First, the full political spectrum was not consulted. Opponents, mainly leftist parties, were not included in the drafting process. Second, the plebiscite itself was rigged as the state had exclusive control over the media, which it used for intense propaganda campaigns. Additionally, the state were able to manipulate the voting process through double-voting and the disappearance of registers.

After Pinochet stepped down in 1991, Chile’s faith in democratic politics was not restored. The old established political parties and the elites decided to adhere to the dictator-era constitution. The feeling of apathy crystallized when the Rettig Report (officially called the National Committee for Truth and Reconciliation Report), designed to investigate the human rights abuses under Pinochet, proved disappointing as reparation programs for victims and investigations into perpetrators were limited or dismissed entirely. Roughly 75% of Chileans believe no reconciliation about the Pinochet-era has been achieved. This is significant considering that under Pinochet’s iron rule 3,000 died or went missing, 40,000 suffered human rights abuses, and 200,000 fled the country.

A Long Overdue Response

Despite several constitutional amendments, the last of which occurred in 2017, the constitution still did not represent the political ideals important to Chileans. An undercurrent of dissatisfaction and political aversion remained present, and when President Sebastián Piñera announced the increase of the nation’s underground fare last year, protests erupted. First, the students started marching the streets of Santiago in protest, but soon after, cross-section of Chileans of sectors and classes joined in outrage over low wages, the rise in living costs and one of the highest rates of inequality in Latin America. Calls for strikes and protests moved across country and within a matter of days, half a million protestors had taken to the streets in Santiago alone.

The persistent protests coalesced in the demand for a new constitution. Citizens collectively demanded a fundamental change in their way of life to recover their dignity, by expanding economic rights, such as redistribution of wealth from the few to the many; civil liberties, such as reproductive rights; and political rights, such as having women and indigenous quotas in politics. As protests did not lose momentum, Piñera made concessions to maintain order. The concessions included, among others, the suspension of the underground fare increase, raising pensions, and most notably, a national plebiscite to vote on whether to rewrite the national constitution.

The process for rewriting the constitution began on October 25, when Chileans went to the voting booth and were asked two questions. First, they had to vote on whether they approved or rejected the drafting of a new constitution. Second, they voted on who would be responsible for drafting the constitution: either a constituent assembly comprising specially elected representatives, or through a mixed convention, consisting half of current congressional members and half of newly elected representatives. Chileans voted with an overwhelming majority of 79% for a new constitution that would be drafted by a constituent assembly of newly elected representatives.

So what happens next?

On April 11 2021, Chileans will elect their constitutional convention consisting of 155 citizens: 75 men, 75 women and one extra man or woman. Interestingly, this will be the first constitution to have been written with gender parity as opposed to men writing the constitution. Congress is in the process of determining whether there will be a quota for indigenous people in this convention as well. Once this convention has been elected, the representatives will have nine months and a possible three-month extension to write the new constitution. After the drafting, the representatives must have a two-thirds majority approval to present the public the new constitution. If the new constitution is ready the Chilean public will vote once more by means of a mandatory plebiscite whether to ratify the new constitution or dismiss it. If a simple majority of the Chilean population votes in favor the Pinochet-era constitution will be replaced, but if they vote to reject it the old one will remain in place until a new course of action is set.

It will be interesting to see how these events unfold for several reasons. First, obtaining a two-thirds majority might be a high threshold to reach. If the representatives find themselves in an impasse, they will need to make comprises on sensitive topics to draft a constitution that has broad support. Second, the scope of the document might prove difficult to demarcate. Last year’s protests witnessed grievances over issues as wide as pensions and police brutality. People are concerned that the representatives might want to address all of these issues. This could result in a constitution that is inflexible and sets unpragmatic and unrealistic standards which will blur the line between what should be a written component of the constitution and what should be left for government to interpret and enforce. Third, the next general elections are set for November 2021. What will happen if the new constitution is not ready by then? What power will a new president have over the drafting process and how will his or her role change when the new constitution is set in place? This is supposed to be an apolitical process, but currently one of the highest polling candidates to win the next general elections is the right-wing candidate Joaquín Lavín of the Unión Democrática (Democratic Union). Despite voting in favor of a new constitution he represents a wealthy elitist district who overwhelmingly voted against the new constitution and approves of the status quo. Some politically dispirited Chileans are worried that the future president might interfere with the elections. In reality, however, this seems unlikely considering the overwhelming majority opting for a new constitution and the political backlash an interfering president will receive from the general public. Last, the scope of the constitution might have consequences for the country’s economy. For example, an increase in rights for the environment and indigenous people might put a dent in Chile’s extensive copper, lithium, and gold and silver mining projects. A decrease in mining output could seriously affect its export, trade in general, and subsequently its GDP. Will Chileans cope when subsidies shrink in the face of economic uncertainty?

These uncertain times also leave room questions about Chile’s foreign policy. What will happen with Chile’s trade alliances? Since signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in 2018, Chile’s congress still has not ratified the agreement. This begs the question if new rights for the environment, indigenous people, and laborers contradict the CPTPP paving the way for a resignation from partnership? Similarly, existing and pending Free Trade Agreements might constitutionally violate the rights of Chileans. For example, in 2019, after years of protests, the Pascua-Lama gold-silver project could not get launched by Barrick Gold Corporation ruled a Chilean high court. With enshrined environmental rights and rights for indigenous people’s lands, such events might happen more frequently contradicting past trade deals. Is the new government up to the task to either renegotiate these agreements or circumvent the new constitution? Venezuela and Bolivia, both members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the peoples of Our America (ALBA), have witnessed similar but different power changes that cater to the social masses. Depending on specifics of the new constitution, Chile might align itself with this regional bloc rather than the Pacific Alliance group of which it is a current member. Moreover, Chile’s new social construct might set up the country to become a new ally for Venezuela on the regional and global stage. This could help to legitimize Maduro’s presidency and alleviate some of the immense pressures on Venezuela imposed by the western world and the regional powers.

A stunning result in the national plebiscite has provided Chileans with the opportunity to reclaim their dignity and their country. Nevertheless, the near future of Chile remains uncertain. Questions remain as to what degree the social reforms citizens so desperately seek can realistically be implemented. Furthermore, high levels of uncertainty and volatile circumstances that come with the outcome of the plebiscite compounded with the impact of coronavirus can negatively impact foreign investments, levels of trade, and consequently the entire economy of Chile. Questions about foreign alliances within Latin America are relevant too. Only time will tell how ambitious Chile’s new constitution will be, how it will operate de facto, and in which ways markets respond to the new constitution.

Moos Hulsebosch is currently pursuing a MPhil degree in Latin American Studies and has previously obtained a MA in international Security at Sciences Po Paris focusing in Diplomacy and Intelligence. He has knowledge on geopolitics, Latin American politics, China’s foreign affairs, grand strategies, and United States’ politics and foreign affairs.

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New US Administration Approach to Syria: How Different Could It Be?

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With the new US administration in the White House, there are rather lofty expectations about a change in the American Middle East policy in general and towards Syria in particular. Some argue that the US Middle East policy will remain somewhat in line with that of Trump’s presidency, while others believe that Biden’s team will try to reverse many of the previous foreign policy steps. The rest say that we should expect an Obama-style Middle East policy, which means more diplomatic engagement with less military involvement and a heavier focus on the human rights issues.

The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. The new US administration will certainly attempt to undo some of the predecessor’s moves: withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, putting the Houthis on the terror list, suspending aid to the Palestinians, etc. However, this will require considerable effort on the part of the new White House.

First, the new Administration will spend much more time dealing with the domestic issues they have inherited from Trump: polarized domestic politics, economic issues, consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and response to it, etc. Biden’s administration will have to devote much of its time to all of this, so it is safe to say that the Middle East will not stand in the forefront of the US foreign policy focus.

Second, in the realm of foreign policy, US relations with Europe, China and Russia are of far greater importance to Washington than those with the Middle East which will remain on the margins of the US foreign policy, being a concern only through the lens of strategic threats, such as combatting terrorism (anti-ISIS coalition efforts), nuclear non-proliferation (revival of the JCPOA), and interacting with actors involved in those issues.

Third, Biden will face certain domestic opposition to some of the Middle East policy issues, e.g. Iran nuclear deal, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, sanctioned entities and so on.

Finally, having different views, approaches and rationale, US allies in the region (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey and Israel) could possibly frustrate some of the plans devised by the new administration.

Therefore, we should not expect the Middle East to figure high on the US foreign policy agenda, as well as keep our expectations low as concerns possible breakthroughs on the profiles which will get certain US attention: the Iran nuclear deal, Syrian Kurds issue, reconciliation with Turkey, dealing with Libya, cultivating relations with Israel and Palestine.

Syria Is Not a Priority

Syria has never been a priority for the US foreign policy and will likely remain a second-tier issue for Biden and his team. In fact, some analysis of the US Middle East policy over the last decade shows consistency of approach. Although Obama started his presidency with his 2009 Cairo speech, intended as a signal of support to the region and increased attention from the US, his administration responded to the Arab Uprising with certain discretion and was reluctant to increase American involvement in the regional conflicts—Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya—rather opting for a low profile, proceeding with its fight against terrorism and focusing on diplomacy to a greater extent. Trump administration, by and large, continued this approach avoiding military involvement and shifting more of the responsibility for security and regional problems onto its regional allies—Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, etc. While Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and increased sanction pressure on Tehran, this never translated into a significant change in the American approach to the region. Even in Syria, which suffered several US missile attacks, the moves of the previous administration did not lead to a drastic change of the situation on the ground. Moreover, US “betrayal” of the Kurds and a partial withdrawal of its military from Syria had little serious impact on the course of the conflict. Therefore, over the last decade, the US regional policy has, by and large, been going along the similar lines of limited engagement, fight against terrorism, support of its regional allies.

Today, Biden administration’s plans do not provide for a change in the established approach and deal only with a limited number of policy issues, those coming in for heavy criticism under Trump, e.g. the Iran deal, extending support to the Syrian Kurds, suspending dialogue and aid to the Palestinians, etc.

It is worth noting that the new US administration does not regard the Syrian conflict as a separate problem, important in its own right. It, rather, treats it as a secondary issue linked to other, more important policy issues, such as dealings with Iran and the nuclear deal, relations with Turkey, which happens to brand US-backed Syrian Kurdish militias (YPG) as terrorists, as well as dealings with Russia who, in recent years, has become more active in Syria and in the region at large, or ensuring security of US allies in the region (Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, etc.) who feel threatened by increased Iranian military presence in Syria. Therefore, the Syrian profile is largely viewed in the context of US policies towards Iran, Russia and Turkey, rather than as a separate foreign policy concern.

Interestingly, though, the new Administration refused to send its representative to the 15th round of the Astana Syria talks held in Sochi on Feb. 16–17, despite an invitation being sent, as is argued by Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia’s special envoy on Syria. The US ceased to participate in the Astana meetings in mid-2018. Mr Lavrentiev went on to suggest that the new administration has yet to formulate its Syria policy, despite being officially in office for over a month now. “There are signals [coming from the US] that they will be ready to work with us, but so far no conclusive proposals have been made,” concluded the Russian envoy. Thus far, Washington has not devised its Syria policy, having other actors involved guess its possible approach and future steps.

Moscow Concerns with US Syria Policy

US military presence in Syria is among major concerns for Russia. American soldiers are deployed in northeastern and eastern provinces of Syria as well as in the south, around al-Tanf settlement, on the border with Jordan and Iraq. Moscow perceives American presence in the country as illegal and among the key obstacles to its reunification. US support to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) prevents them from striking a deal with Damascus, something that is needed to restore the country’s territorial integrity and to assume control over those areas, as the majority of oil fields, water resources (Euphrates river), and some 40% of all agricultural lands are located in Kurdish-held regions. When the US is going to leave Syria is thus one of the most important questions for Russia.

A short answer would be that Washington will not pull out its forces from Syria, at least in the mid-term. Regardless of who occupies the White House, there are certain interests and goals that the US has in Syria, and it will hardly abandon them.

First and foremost, American military presence in Syria serves as a deterrent for the Syrian government forces and loyal militias, as well as for Russia, Iran, pro-Iranian units and Turkey. American troops prevent the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Russian forces from asserting control over the oil fields and extending it to the economically-needed, 3-million strong northeast and east provinces of Syria. They also keep an eye on Iranian activities in east Syria, on the border with Iraq (border-crossing in Al-Bukamal), and keep Iran from further entrenchment. Finally, American troops keep the Turkish forces and the Ankara-backed armed Syrian opposition from the offensive against the Syrian Kurds. In addition, American military surveilles Russian activities and moves in the region. Being no heavy burden for Washington, the mere presence of several hundred US soldiers in the country kills many birds with one stone. That is why we can hardly expect the new US leadership to abandon such a position.

Second, the fact that the US is capable of significantly increasing its military presence in Syria at any given moment and within a short span of time puts it in a position of being a potential spoiler of any military or political/diplomatic initiative or deal that Russia, Iran, the Syrian government or Turkey may undertake. Besides, recent reports indicate that the US is constructing a new military base with airfield facilities near al-Omar oil field in Deir ez-Zor. Its runways are 2.5 km-long, which allows it to host heavy military planes (Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, or В-52). Once finished, the base will let the US easily send several thousands of soldiers or PMC fighters to Syria overnight, handing it an opportunity to rapidly build up its military presence and capabilities in the area. This makes Washington an indispensable participant of any settlement in Syria and forces Moscow, Ankara, Tehran and Damascus to take American interests and concerns into account. It is unlikely that Washington is ready to lose such leverage.

Third, being the leader of the anti-ISIS coalition, the US maintains its presence on the ground, which enables it to fight the remnants of terrorists. US officials have recently called attention to the fact that the main focus of US military in Syria is to fight the Islamic State which has become more active over the past six months. This reason serves as an official excuse to justify US presence in the country.

Finally, the US wants to maintain its ability to influence the political process in Syria. As of now, Washington has several instruments at its disposal. Its unilateral sanctions coupled with the Caesar Act, created serious additional problems not only for the Syrian economy but for the socio-economic, humanitarian and medical situation affecting millions of ordinary civilians as well. Such sanctions are politically motivated, pursuing a change in the regime’ behavior, something that was never achieved. Essentially, this results in making the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions in the country only worse and obstructing any attempts to reconstruct critical infrastructure. Many humanitarian organizations report severe impediments in delivering humanitarian aid to Syria and rebuilding the country, with many INGOs being simply afraid to work in Damascus-controlled areas because of their fear to be sanctioned. According to the UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Alena Douhan, “secondary sanctions and over-compliance with unilateral sanctions result in fear for all interlocutors and drastically affect all population groups in targeted societies impeding people, private business, workers, scholars and doctors to do their job and to enjoy human rights.” As a result, US sanctions on Syria allow Washington to exert serious influence on the political settlement of the conflict as well as on Syria’s economic reconstruction, along with letting the United States remain a key actor in the conflict resolution.

Another leverage the US has in terms of shaping the political process in Syria is its support to SDF. Today, while backing the Syrian Kurds, Washington also obstructs any serious talks between them and the Syrian authorities in Damascus aimed at reaching reintegration of the northeast and eastern provinces of Syria back under control of the central government. Even though the most recent round of talks between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Damascus activated by Moscow ended up with reaching an important preliminary agreement on major controversial issues, this does not prevent the Kurds from backtracking once the Americans decide to sustain or increase their support to them and reaffirm their commitments. Such moves can substantially affect the ongoing intra-Syrian political processes and prevent the country from restoring its territorial integrity. As long as the Syrian Kurds enjoy support and commitments from the US, it is extremely hard to expect them to reach any viable deal with Damascus.

By the same token, the US can influence Turkey and its Syria policy—either through increasing pressure on Ankara or trying to co-opt it by addressing its concerns and moderating the Turkish-Kurdish agreement. Such steps can potentially change the course of the conflict, thus profoundly affecting Russian positions in Syria.

Similar logic applies to the US policy towards Iran and to the revival of the JCPOA. Washington would very much like to tie the nuclear deal to other issues of concern, such as Iran’s ballistic missile program and/or its “malign activities in the region”, including those in Syria. Such an approach aspires to change Iran’s behavior, for instance, in Syria in exchange for the nuclear deal revival and lifting US sanctions. In the US line of reasoning, the White House has an upper hand in the talks with Iran to be able to force it to follow its preferred path. That can, in turn, affect Iran’s behavior not only apropos the return to the JCPOA but concerning its Syrian policy as well. The risks, if this approach fails, are high, as this will have counter-productive results. If the nuclear deal is not revived and sanctions remain at place, Iran will most likely persist in its “malign activities” in Syria and throughout the region, while reserving the option to escalate them. Even the most recent US attack on pro-Iranian targets in Syria had more to do with Iran and its activities in Iraq and Syria rather than with the Syrian conflict itself.

This is to say that the US policy towards Iran and the revival of the nuclear deal, or towards the Syrian Kurds, or the way how Biden’s administration will deal with Turkey, or Russia on the track of the Syrian conflict will have a serious impact on the situation in Syria. So far, there is no indication that it is going to be among the priorities of the new administration. Syria, though, will most likely remain part of US regional policies and subordinate to US dealings with Iran, Turkey and Russia. Outcomes of US-Iran, US-Turkey and US-Russia dialogue can potentially have a profound effect on the situation in Syria. Although it is hard to expect the new US administration to drastically change its approach to the Syrian conflict, there may be new promising avenues for diplomacy which will, hopefully, yield more positive results than negative ones.

From our partner RIAC

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Washington Ill-Prepared to Set Human Rights Agenda

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It is evident that US Democratic President Joe Biden and his team will pay more attention to the human rights agenda in foreign policy than their Republican predecessors did. It is also clear that Washington will actively use this agenda in dealing with its main geopolitical adversaries—above all, China and Russia. Finally, it is obvious that the United States will try to put together a consolidated Western front to shoulder American human rights initiatives. Human rights will become one of the tools to keep liberal democracies together confronting what is perceived to be the global rise of illiberal authoritarianism. We are likely to hear strong rhetoric on human rights coming out of the White House and the State Department. We will observe multiple human rights-focused US initiatives in international organizations. And we will also see new American human rights-related sanctions against Moscow and Beijing.

Still, at the end of the day, this strategy might turn out to be less successful than the new US leaders anticipate. No matter how Russian or Chinese governments are planning to handle, respectively, the Alexey Navalny case or political protests in Hong Kong, it is very unlikely that either Moscow or Beijing will yield under US pressure. Moscow and Beijing will continue going hand in hand with each other in blocking US-proposed international resolutions, in containing US foundations and NGOs operating in sensitive areas, and in countering the coming American information offensive on the human rights front. The growing pressure from the White House will only further cement the China-Russia partnership.

Moreover, the reality is that Washington is ill-prepared to make a convincing case on human rights and broader democracy issues.

First, America itself has not fully recovered from a deep and protracted political crisis. Many inside the US still question the standards of November’s presidential elections as well as the legitimacy of information restrictions imposed on Donald Trump and his supporters by major social networks and the US mainstream liberal media. The 2020 large-scale violent racial riots also question the assumption that the United States can serve today as a universal model of human rights observance. Until President Biden fixes related problems at home, his international human rights crusade will not look too credible even for his fellow citizens.

Second, it is easy for Biden to raise human rights issues against Russia and China—or against North Korea and Iran. This is a light and unburdensome task—in any case, these countries are not and will not be US allies or partners anytime soon. However, what about other potential targets—like Turkey and Saudi Arabia? On the one hand, both Ankara and Riyadh are perceived in Washington as gross violators of basic human rights. On the other hand, Washington badly needs partnerships with both of them. If the Biden administration heads down a slippery slope of double standards and selective use of the human rights agenda in foreign policy, this will not make this agenda more convincing for anyone. If Biden chooses to go against traditional US clients and friends, the political price for such integrity might turn out to be prohibitively high.

Third, though the international human rights agenda remains important, it seems that today, in most societies, the public puts fairness before freedom. 20 or 30 years ago, the quest for freedom was the driving force behind the majority of street protests, political upheavals and revolutions. Today people revolt mostly against what they believe to be unfair and unjust. The widely shared sentiment of unfairness and injustice rather than human rights or political democracy is the main source of various populist movements in all parts of the world.

The balance between the quest for freedom and the quest for fairness has always been moving from one side to the other, forming long political and social cycles in human history. In the first half of the 20th century, fairness and egalitarianism were perceived as more important than freedom and human rights, while in the second half of the century, the balance shifted away from the former and toward the latter. Today we observe the global social pendulum once again swinging in the opposite direction.

In this context, the recent statement of Chinese President Xi Jinping about the ultimate victory over absolute poverty in China may well outweigh all the eloquent human rights rhetoric coming from US President Joe Biden.

From our partner RIAC

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Witnessing Social Racism And Domestic Terrorism In Democratic America

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With just less than two weeks away from President-elect taking the office, the United States of America witnessed the worst of the worst it could ever do, since its discovery. Anti-democracy moves and violence is what American leadership stood against around the world and in particular in recent times since the Arab Spring, but the same ‘Mini Arab Spring’ was faced by America itself. The brave soldiers of America who took arms and enjoyed Saddam’s palace could not protect its own legislative branch, details about which make the very beginning of the American Constitution. The savior of democracy is struggling democracy at home as white supremacists and Trump supporter militias stormed at the US Capitol. Before having a critical outlook through the lens of Johan Galtung’s triangle of violence, it is potent to dig into what exactly is causing this situation in America. This started as protests at the National Mall which soon after Trump’s incitement turned into riots at the Capitol Building by masses without masks, painted with Republican colors and wrapped in MAGA merchandise. This storm over Congress seats came after months long instigation of Donald Trump’s claims about rigging in elections and his refusal to accept the results and especially when on Wednesday the Congressmen gathered to count the electoral votes and officially declared Biden as the next President of America. Amidst this siege over Capitol, arrests and vandalism of state property; Joe Biden was officially validated as the 46th President of the United States of America.

Apart from what became highlight of that week about Capitol Hill being invaded by pro-Trump supporters, critically analyzing the situation, it is evident enough that MAGA riots and Black Life Matters riots were quite evidently, differently handled by the state forces. This discrepancy in response to BLM can be better explained through Galtung’s 3 sides of violence. Galtung’s triangle shapes around three joints of connections: direct, cultural and structural violence, while the former has its roots in the latter two. Structural violence is defined as the unequal access and advantages to one racial, political, ethnic or religious group than the other in social and political orientations of systems that govern the state. Structural violence or social racism is evident in the varying responses that despite warnings about possible attacks during the electoral vote counts, Police did not seek advance help to prevent it, rather National Guard was deployed an hour after the protestors had already breached the first barricade. While in the case of BLM, the aggression of the Police and National Guard was evident in their gestures. While the anti-racism protests in June last year faced militarized response, none was done with anti-democratic riots.

While social racism is evident in America, it is yet to be witnessed what is to come next. Speaker of the House of Senate, Nancy Pelosi has already indicated removing President Trump from his office through the 25th Constitutional Amendment. Along with this, Joe Biden’s remarks about the situation also have long-term repercussions as well as expectations. Repercussions might come in terms of him calling the protestors as “domestic terrorists”. The FBI defines domestic terrorism as: “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” America, since more than 2 decades is already fighting its war against terrorism in various segments of the world, the use of this word at home, although might bring support for Biden’s sympathies for BLM and democracy, yet it might have long-term impacts. Mentioning of expectations, Americans at home and abroad, both desire to see actual reforms followed by on ground implementations to counter structural violence. Along with this, Biden shall have to re-construct the de-constructed notion that political violence and threat to democracy is far away from America and is for third world countries. The states upon which America used to show serious concern and used to send arms for their national interests are showing their worry over the situation in America which is even termed as ‘coup’. Having pin-pointed all this, Biden’s era needs a lot of reconstruction before it opts to enter any third world country or show its presence in any new Spring for democracy outside America.

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