“The United States is also a One-Party State but, with typical American extravagance they have two of them”.
This quote by Julius Nyerere, former Tanzanian president perfectly summarises the politics of the United States of America.
As I write this, Democrat candidate Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States. His victory in the swing states assured his win with 270 electoral votes. He is also the most voted president breaking the popular vote record of Obama with almost 75 million votes, the most ever cast for a presidential candidate.
Trump has been claiming victory and has cried foul play after his fortunes start to reverse after the counting of mail-in votes in two keys states of Wisconsin and Michigan. Trump and the Republican party are busy filing lawsuits in the supreme court and delaying the final verdict.
It is hard to differentiate between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to key domestic issues and foreign policies from pursuing the policies that support military-industrial complex, Prison industrial complex, and continued support to the corporates, but there is a great degree of pretense on both parts that they are poles apart. The high voltage US presidential 2020 elections have seen heated debates and verbal hostilities between Democratic Party front runner Joe Biden and Republican Party incumbent president Donald Trump.
What does it mean for the rest of the world?
What does it mean for India and the Modi Regime who openly backed Donald Trump? What does it mean for the middle east, South East Asia, China, Russia, Africa, and the Latin American countries?
The answer to that question seems not so complicated. Both Republicans and Democrats are unanimous and are in sync with their foreign policies towards the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. That translates into demonising any alternative political force and destabilising country after country especially since the Gulf war. The war machine since then has been raging on expanding its regions in the name of the “War on terror” post-attack on the world trade center.
Joe Biden, who is a neo-liberal conservative, has a history and legacy that of any republican. Being the vice-president under the Obama regime he extended the two wars started by George W Bush Jr to 7 countries. His legacy included support for Iraq invasion on cooked-up evidence. He supported genocide in Yemen, prosecuted whistle-blowers, kicked 5.1 million families out of their homes after the 2008 economic crash, made the banks bigger in the economic crisis by bailing them out instead of people. Biden as vice president built the cages and the infrastructure that Trump Administration used against immigrants including children. During his Vice presidentship, the US military bombed Muslim countries for successive 8 years triggering the refugee crisis from middle eastern countries that further led to Trump’s policy of imposing a travel ban on some Muslim countries.
America has the highest incarceration rates in the world with more than 20% of the world prison population. In 1994 Joe Biden was behind the crime bill which exploded the prison population in America with mostly black and brown people. Democratic Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris who was the top cop at the time was complicit in the incarceration of people of colour. She refused the order to release prisoners 3 times saying it would upset the prison labour force only after the court forced to so. Trump, Biden, and Kamala Harris are avid supporters of the state of Israel in its crimes against Palestinians. The republicans, the democrats are equally bad when it comes to their history of interventions and plunder across the globe.
Trump’s Legacy as US President
The 2008 economic crisis triggered a spurt in extreme right-wing governments across the globe. Under the Obama regime, this was accentuated to new levels where Far-right political parties gained acceptance from the public aided by rhetoric against globalisation and the spread of fake news. Modi in India, Trump in the USA, Victor Orban in Hungary, Jair Bolsanaro in Brazil, Duterte in the Philippines, Boris Johnson in the UK to name a few, triggering a crisis in Democracy aided by corporate oligarchic money. What differentiated between all previous republican/democratic party presidents is Trump being an exception with his boisterous obnoxious display of power like a wolf in wolf’s clothing rather than the rest of them who were the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Trump on his part has not expanded the war but had tried to bring back America from foreign interventions concentrating its dominance within the American continent. He went as far as to disband NATO by trying to extort money from European nations for Europe’s protection. He unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA treaty with Iran by reintroducing crippling sanctions against it. He started a trade war with China which affected the global economy triggering global economic depression. He was severely criticised for his handling of the Covid Crisis which saw his election fortunes diminish from March 2020. The resurgence of “Black Lives Matter” after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 and the subsequent mishandling and mocking of the protests by Trump also received widespread backlash. Trump’s insistence on no dialogue, criminalising of protests further angered the already marginalised black population.
Though it was under Biden’s presidency that India started to align more with the United states with Indo-Pacific Policy. Modi was emboldened by the Trump 2016 victory and on the same day announced the disastrous demonetisation policy. Since then, Trump and Modi’s bonhomie has risen leaps and bounds with Modi endorsing Trump openly with “Howdy Modi” and “Namaste Trump” events. It is important to note most of Modi’s policies of the Abrogation of Article 370(opposed by the democratic party), implementation of GST, large-scale privatization of the public sector, and introduction of draconian law of UAPA were taken during Trump’s administration.
Modi now, will not be able to take unilateral decisions henceforth without any consequences. The likely leadership of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will keep a check on Modi as long he sings to their tunes rather than take unilateral decisions. The global tide of right-wing governments is expected to ebb. It only remains to be seen if Biden, the newly elected President of the USA will continue the destabilisation of the Middle East, Ukraine, Latin America which as VP started under the Obama Administration. Though Side-lined, the Democratic party still has people like Bernie Sanders who has fought for progressive policies like Medicare for all and increasing corporate tax. He has endorsed foreign policy based on democracy, human rights, diplomacy and peace, and economic fairness. The democratic party has a lot of things to gain from this kind of politics rather than continue the march of plunder by war machines.
The writer is a political observer based in Bangalore.