By Shanmugapandian S
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. will be the oldest ever US president to hold office from January 20, 2021 defeating incumbent Donald Trump. Joe Biden won the highest number of popular votes in US presidential election ahead even Barak Obama. A Democratic Party member was 4th most senior senator when he resigned and went on to serve as Obama’s Vice president 2009 to 2017. Though with much legacy, Biden will be taking charge as president in the most challenging times of US history. America has seen the hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic with 22.5 Million cases and 374K deaths as of 11th January 2020 along with enduring rifts of race and working class. The ill administration of Trump has collapsed the economy and left stranded 20 million people jobless. Trump also fell out with America’s trusted allies, broke away with treaties, walked out from international institution like WHO and withdrawal from Paris climate change Agreement had isolated America from rest of the world. So, what does Joe Biden presidency mean for America, India and the world in his four year tenure?
Biden will likely focus more on solving domestic issues. He successfully captured senate (Senate is upper house where two member from each state i.e. 100 members from 50 United states of America will be elected) on 7th January 2021 after two of the Republicans won in the state of Georgia making both the Democrats and the Republicans have 50 member each. However, vice president will (Likely Kamala Harris) cast any tie-breaking votes which allowed Democrats take control over both the houses. Trump’s clown attempt to coup world’s biggest democracy and riot on Capitol Hill came to the end. The current four holocausts of America are the pandemic and death toll, the economic recession, steeping racial division and spreading social injustice.
Biden holds huge responsibilities on his shoulder to heal the wounds caused by Trump across America and rest of the world. While in the midst of third wave of pandemic, Biden plan will not be resorting more lockdowns and hurt the economy further. Rather he plans to prioritize the health care. He likely to restore Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) which was nullified by Trump while failed to provide any alternative. Biden’s main priority is to provide better health care for elderly people where 1/3rd of nation population is above 60 years. The rich population don’t make America the richest country whereas the middle class economy does. The middle class population is backbone of American economy. Biden economy polices have strong left wing shades as he planned to raise taxes on the super-rich and also plans to strengthen labor-friendly laws to fund his promised 700 million dollar expansion plan for middle-class economy. When such bill was passed on House of Representations, it was refused by Republican controlled senate citing that it will have adverse effect on business driven by capitalists. There is difference between Trump and Biden ways of fuel driven economy. Trump favors fossil fuel driven economy whereas Biden backs clean energy. He promised an energy revolution that will create 10 million jobs. He campaigned US version of self-reliance, a “Buy American” programme for boosting manufacturing and service sectors. An Additional 300 billion dollars was planned to fund new Research and Development in key technological areas.
Biden is more process-driven leader and less volatile unlike Trump or Modi who conducts diplomacy over twitter or Mann Ki Baat. The huge task of Biden is to revive America and retain the traditional role it had for global support and undo the harm that Trump brought to America’s international interests. He wanted to reverse Trump’s decision to walk out from WHO and Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The America’s character to fuel its country and threating machines through Economic hit men and sanctions on Middle-East will continue as Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rightly claims that the US will be untrustworthy regardless who serves as President. He also said severe revenge awaits the criminals behind the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by a US air strike under Trump umbrella. Although, Tehran will won’t be taking any risk, as its election heading in June and also high inflation and pandemic had worsen the Iran condition. On the other hand taking advantage of these factors, Biden will try to renegotiate the deal to give up its nuclear warhead ballistic missile plan and may loosen the sanction on countries that purchase oil including India which will boost up Iran economy. Syria is always been a war playground for super powers to test their lethal future generation machines like Russia deployed and successfully tested its most advanced 5th gen stealth fighter SU-57 in combat condition and US arms trade to rebels for civil war. Biden’s plan will be effectively respond to the Assad regime and Russia but not as ‘America alone’ rather through allies of Europe.US hold firm foot at Iraq after capture and execution of Saddam Hussein. Biden as Vice president in the Obama administration play a significant role in sending troops to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) and will not pull all his troops from Iraq, rather will continue to provide training and logistics for small operations.
America’s biggest head ache is two big chunks of Asia, Russia and China. Core difference starts from the ideologies, Capitalism vs Communism. After collapse of USSR, threats was least concentrated to Russia but China’s rapid transition by Moa in mid-1970 was a significant threat not only to ideology but also concern the security and the economy. The trade war and sanction on china initiated by Trump backfired America. US lost about 3 Lakh jobs and cost 0.7% of GDP and it could cost 316 US Dollars by the end of 2020. Farmers went bankrupt, the manufacturing and transportation sectors have seen new lows. Biden will aware that the American economy is deeply dependent on China and will avoid confrontation with it. On the other hand, China’s rapid militarization and expansion on South China Sea and OBOR will hurt America. Biden has made a clear statement against expansionist China and even described XI Jinping as ‘a thug’. Biden triumph card will be India to counter China, therefore is likely to continue to extend support to India in its standoff against China. So, India should take advantage and move quickly to make global market for US companies and divert the business opportunity from China.
Indo-US relation is currently in a smoother mode. Defense relation between India and USA has become reinforced after signing Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership during Trump administration. The core interest of US is to back India to counter China. Procurement of Apache, Chinook, Drones are evident for that. In addition to that the Malabar exercise shows the greater degree of military cooperation among Quadrilateral countries (India, Japan, US and Australia). US will make sure that India challenge the rising hegemony of China in the Indo-Pacific region. On the economy side, Modi has not taken enough steps to attract investment from US and west. The tariff war between Trump and Modi has failed to strike a harvest for both sides. Biden will try to push to open Indian market and may negotiate against Atmanirbhar Bharat to recover US from manufacturing recession. Biden administration will surely put pressure on Modi on the human right issues, ill treatment of minorities and communalism. The controversy over CAA, abortion of 370 will raise certain issues in Biden administration. Especially Kamala Harris had raised questions on human rights violation and in one of the interview she stated, “The Kashmiris will not be left alone in the world”. On Pakistan and Afghanistan, Biden will be on the same page as Trump and will try to pull back American troops at the earliest. Biden will put more pressure on Pakistan not to behave irresponsibly and to curb cross-border terrorism and ceasefire along LoC.
After trauma administration of Trump, European policy makers will take this as golden opportunity of Biden’s win to revamp the damages. Biden will be easy partner for Europe as he shares the strong links to many European leaders during his Vice president regime. The main focus will on revival of global economy from the pandemic hit. Europe will try to sort out the issues on free trade agreement, trade deficit of over 170 billion USD, digital taxes and long lasting dispute Airbus and Boeing subsidies issues. On the environmental side, Biden has enough time to reenter the Paris Climate Change Agreement to ensure it will fight against climate changes. The main defense agenda of Europe on Biden will be on NATO spending as pledged 2% of GDP. On Biden play, he will keep Europe engaged on countering Russia so that US can shift its attention to China.
On America point of view, Africa is always been a resource rich economy which supplies raw material and minerals. Biden will be looking deep to reshape the supply chain and shift production opportunity from East to America. South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia will be the priority market for American goods and Biden administration will try to maximize its commercial cooperation. US diplomacy and military intelligence will make sure it has complete radar over insurgency groups and feed bullets to the civil group barrels. As Sudan has been removed from terror designation, Biden will try to cement the diplomatic relation. Overall Biden administration will work more on Counter-terrorism, bring political and economic stability and focus on achieving multilateral arrangements with EU allies such as African Continental Free Trade.
Biden is more systematic and democratic leader who can engage with allies and multilateral issues. Although his main focus will be on domestic issues like Health care, creating more jobs and push manufacturing and bring back economy. Kamala Harris will be coming hard at India to prove her objectives on human rights and minority issues which is bad sign for India. Globally, it will be long struggle for Biden administration to repair the wound caused by Trump administration.