End of American Imperial Ganghoism

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By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

It is too early to forecast future contours of Joe’s foreign policy–whether the traditional offensive foreign policy under Trump would make room towards a swing to moderation and peaceful co-existence. We have to see whether he prolongs the war on terror or ends it; whether he will show reconciliation to the grieving Muslim world that has been ruthlessly mauled by his three predecessors or continue with their meddlesome policy, whether he would restore the nuclear deal with Iran, harmonize relations with China and Russia, reinstate multilateral agreements, sign climate change accord, improve relations with EU and NATO, bring back American troops from the restive regions and truly work for making the world safe and secure for democracy.

After having completed his maiden tenure Republican President Donald J. Trump has lost the battle to Democratic candidate Joe Biden. While recapturing Donald Trump’s enigmatic electoral campaign that he gave the appearance of a possible winner much on the pattern of much fouled election campaign of 2016–one would not like to refer to the polls Hilary Clinton lost to the manipulative Donald Trump. Notwithstanding the fact that she had three million votes more than Donald. It was more like repeating the history of Al Gore election who was outsmarted by Bush Jr in the game of chicanery reminding one what Communist leader Joseph Stalin profoundly said for the electoral process that it is the man who counts the votes matters and not those who vote. I think this Stalinist principle has been well tried time and again. 

During his 4-year tenure, Trump’s political strategy was to pursue fascist policies over riding the democratic agenda.  From day one I noted him to be a head strong leader. He would not deter from a stand taken by him come what May.  He cared little for those who opposed him or disagreed with him. Indeed, Donald would have been just the right person to lead a fascist state. We had seen how quick his chopper was to dispose of those who opposed him even if they were very close to him. He made his mark opposing minorities, the immigrants and the Muslims in particular. His policies were divisive and catapulting racism as a most effective instrument in his political armoury. It is rightly observed that his narrow minded, single track policies polarised the American society.  

Like a truant popular comic character Dennis the Menace, Donald never admitted his faults, failings and shortcomings. He made howlers much like our own Prime Minister Imran Khan who basks in committing historic blunders in ‘murdering history’.  He would be long remembered as a man of wisdom and knowledge second only to buffoons. Donald was indeed, past master in self-praise on the pattern of his cricketer friend Imran Khan. He would be remembered in history as a world leader who indulged in tweeting business as his indulgent pass time as the man who knew too much of foreign policy and ran it on comical tweets.

Donald Trump atlast accepts the defeat

No doubt it is a fact that like Hitler, he perfected the art of running the state on fascist policies. He posed a direct threat to democratic foundations of a country where people took great pride in pursuing the great concept of the people, by the people and for the people. Indeed, his fascist politics did an immense damage to the democratic foundations of the American society. Like George Bush Jr, he adopted the philosophy of creating uncertainties as a state craft to keep his opponents on tenterhooks. That perhaps is the reason that he made his name for creating turmoil, dissatisfaction and upheavals all across the world.  Being a shrewd businessman first and foremost Donald returned favours to the Corporate Sector by introducing enormous tax cut that enabled the rich to become richer and provided them a free hand to plunder the national wealth ruthlessly. The worst to reap the bitter harvest of his politics were working class people rendered into a state of starvation with massive unemployment and roll back of Obama’s healthcare reform that compounded the miseries of the downtrodden.

If is said that since Zionist controlled Jewish lobby in America  was instrumental in getting Trump elected last time, it is believed Donald left no stone unturned by compensating the  Zionist by cancelling the nuclear deal with Iran, declaring Jerusalem as capital of Israel, sanctifying Golan Heights and West Bank as integral parts of Israel, legalizing Tel Aviv’s forward policy of settlements, making UAE, Bahrain and Sudan establish diplomatic ties with Israel and thus paving the way for one-state solution as wished by Israel. Ultimate aim of Zionist Movement is to establish Greater Israel and have the control of the world especially Middle East rich with natural resources. 

US President elect Joe Biden

Having no effective political weapons in his armoury and yet his ambition to make United States better than under the previous Presidents, Trump ignited the flames of racial hatred and came down heavily upon the non-white Americans and the immigrants. He was outrageously criminal and reckless in his high-handed behaviour that caused abysmal damage to his country as well as its world interests. It is believed that Trump was not alone in gnawing the American democratic foundations, his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, sons Eric and Donald Jr, coupled with his hawkish cabinet members and fascist advisers made it a joint effort to bankrupt the country of ideas.

White Americans, who are the main strength of Trump, suffer from superiority complex and look down upon non-white Americans. They are demographically declining for the last 20 years and have reduced from 76% to 67%. Numbers of blacks, Hispanics and immigrants have increased substantially. The Hispanic voters are the single largest community in the USA. Their ratio is 12.7%, followed by black Americans at 12.5%. Indians are 4%, (4.2 million) and Asians are 3%.

Earlier this year, large numbers of towns in America witnessed riots triggered because of discrimination against black Americans. Consequent to a white policeman choking to death a black George Floyd in Minnesota, followed by another incident of shooting a black woman dead in her bed further heated up the riots in large numbers of States.

The presidential campaign to elect the new president kicked off in mid-2020. To start with there were three major contestants, Trump, Joseph R. Biden and Sanders. The latter dropped out midway. In the run-up to the D-Day on November 3, tensions rose because of Trump adopting a belligerent posture stating that he will not accept the verdict going against him. His armed gangs were equally truculent and threatened to reject the results if their candidate lost the race.

In the wake of vitriolic campaign, and provocative statements hurled by 74- year old Donald who contested for second tenure, and 77-year old former senator and vice president Joe Biden who was taking part in the presidential race for the third time, it was apprehended that the election day will be marred by violent disruptions. Most of the gun toting and flag waving gangsters were tribal militiamen who remained on a lookout to strike the supporters of the opposite camp. However, contrary to these apprehensions, record breaking 100 million votes were cast which were the highest since 1908 and no significant incident of violence took place at the polling stations or otherwise.

In spite of a series of blunders and criminal charges levied upon him, Trump was confident that his success in the 2020 election would be even better than 2016. However, his prediction didn’t come true. Tempers began to rise once vote counting started and the margin of votes bagged by the two competitors began to narrow down bringing it to a razor edge. Postal ballot votes which poured in after November 3 and continued till November 6 irked Trump and became a cause of friction. This option had been adopted in the wake of constraints of Covid-19, which had become Trump’s Achilles Heel. Trump had objected to the mail-in voting saying it would have the element of fraud. He wanted all votes received after Nov 3 to be treated as invalid. He requested a recount in Wisconsin.

Trump could read the writing on the wall when he found himself lagging behind in the race in swing States like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin where he had won last time but this time postal ballot votes made the difference. Arizona with 11 and Georgia with 16 electoral votes have been the traditional bastions of the Republicans, but for the first time the pendulum swung the other way favouring Democrats due to demographic change. Trump started casting aspersions on the fairness of polls and demanded stoppage of vote counting, or else threatened legal action. This sort of tension and demand to stop counting was witnessed during the 2000 election. Based on the complaint of George Bush Jr who was losing, the Supreme Court intervened and halted the counting in Florida that threw winning Al Gore out of the race.   

Irrespective of his threats, counting didn’t stop. A stage came when his armed supporters chanted slogans of ‘Stop counting’ and tried to barge into some polling stations. The black protestors roared back, ‘Continue counting’. As opposed to teary eyed and emotive Trump crying foul and saying he was cheated, Joe Biden maintained his cool. Reason behind Trump’s desperation to win at all cost was the lingering criminal cases in dozens registered against him. Already under financial constraints, fighting the costly legal battles and that too out of power could make him bankrupt. That is why he had announced before the election that if he loses, he will not accept results, will not vacate the White House and will put Biden in jail. In the backdrop of his rapport with the judges of supreme court, he had vowed to challenge the verdict in the apex court and prolong the legal battle as long as possible by seeking counting in each of the swing States, and if that course of action didn’t work, he would have given a call to his armed gangs and white militias to resort to vandalism and create disorder.

It must be noted that Joe Biden continued to make impressive gains even in the swing States and remained well ahead of his rival all along. In Nevada (6 votes), Biden had a tight lead, and in Georgia (16 votes), he was ahead of Trump by 1% votes where more Georgians voted by mail, and in Pennsylvania (20 votes) he led by 2% votes. Till November 6, Trump had secured only 214 electoral votes as against his rival Biden securing 264 votes. With only six votes remaining to reach the magical figure of 270, victory was within grasping reach of Biden.

Late evening on Nov 7, after the announcement of the final result of Pennsylvania in which Biden won 20 electoral votes, he clinched the trophy by securing a total 284 votes, 14 votes more than what was required. Overall, he captured 74 million votes. He will be sworn in as the 46th president of the USA in January 2021. There is no evidence of any legal hitch that will have a bearing on the outcome of the election result under the law. However, it is still to be seen whether Trump accepts his defeat and hands over the baton to Biden gracefully.

No doubt Biden has won comprehensively, but he will have a plate full of intricate internal and external problems. He shall require gigantic effort to repair the damage caused by Trump and to restore the US image that has been disgorged running down its image of a super power. Indeed, his takeover of the reins of the government in most challenging times when the world has transformed from information into digital age, from unipolarism to multi-polarity. China, Russia, Japan and Germany have emerged as big powers. The longest war in Afghanistan and war on terror have yet not terminated, and there are several nuclear flashpoints, each having a potential to spark a world war. The two oldest disputes of Palestine and Kashmir remain unresolved; the US-China trade war, as well as battle for domination of South China Sea are still simmering, and the US-Iran standoff hasn’t gone out of steam.

It is too early to forecast future contours of Joe’s foreign policy–whether the traditional offensive foreign policy under Trump would make room towards a swing to moderation and peaceful co-existence. We have to see whether he prolongs the war on terror or ends it; whether he will show reconciliation to the grieving Muslim world that has been ruthlessly mauled by his three predecessors or continue with their meddlesome policy, whether he would restore the nuclear deal with Iran, harmonize relations with China and Russia, reinstate multilateral agreements, sign climate change accord, improve relations with EU and NATO, bring back American troops from the restive regions and truly work for making the world safe and secure for democracy.

(The author is veteran journalist, geo-political analyst and Pakistan’s former high commissioner to Britain.)