“I pledged to become a President who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t sees the red states (Republican majority) or the blue states (Democrat majority), but only sees the United States (the USA). I sought this office (Presidency)…..to make America respected around the world again.”
The President-Elect Joe Biden’s aforementioned words following his comprehensive victory in the 59th US Presidential Election gives us the glimpses of what he would do to “right all the wrongs” of his predecessor and current US President, Donald Trump. Under the Trump Administration, the USA had been ravaged by disunity, racism, COVID-19 Pandemic and numerous bad domestic and foreign policies that destroyed the USA’s image. The USA not only struggled to hold its status as a recognized “hyperpower” but rather earned the humiliating moniker of “failing power” due to Donald Trump’s lack of diplomatic and rational sense despite being the President of the “most powerful nation” on Earth.
Given the apparent rise of Russia and China as superpowers followed by the abysmal economic condition caused by the raging Covid-19 Pandemic already in its second phase, it is no wonder that the USA is indeed struggling superpower. According to the Realism theory of International Relations, a state becomes a superpower when it gains the ability to enforce its will upon the pre-existing world order by combining its growing military and economic power. Evidently, with the fall of the Communist juggernaut, the USSR in 1991, the Capitalist superpower the USA transitioned into a hyperpower, thereby ushering a new era of dominance in the Unipolar world order. During this era from 1993 to 2020, four Presidents have led the USA from the White House. They are Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009), Barack Obama (2009-2017) and Donald Trump (2017-2021). Other than Donald Trump, all three Presidents won two terms in the office. Donald Trump’s case is fascinating, because his “White Supremacist” attitude, Anti-Immigration policies of 2017, disastrous Trade War with China in 2019 (still ongoing) and his mishandling of COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 only contributed to his downfall.
In this regard, Joe Biden will have a lot on his shoulders when he is sworn in as the USA’s 46th President in the coming year. He will have to deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic straightway after taking office, which has already entered into its second stage. In these darkest hours, the Janssens Pharmaceutical Company had declared its success in developing COVID-19 vaccines, which comes as a blessing. Also, by reinstating the “Obama Health Care” policy, Biden can ensure effective medical facilities for the general population in the treatment of COVID-19.
Since June 2019, the USA had been embroiled in a never-ending Trade War with China. So far, it had only gone from bad to worse for the USA, incurring losses worth hundreds of billions of dollars while inflicting little to no damage to China. Also, US’s allies Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan in the “Scramble for South-China Sea” against China’s grand envision in the area are deep concerns for US’s interest in the Pacific region. Moreover, North Korea’s ever-growing ambition for acquiring nuclear arsenal is threatening for the US’s allies South Korea and Japan and the US’s military presence in the region. It is now up to Joe Biden to either maintain his predecessor Trump’s friendly gesture or the “Strategic Patience” of his predecessor Obama towards North Korea.
Moreover, China had been inflicting insurmountable tortures upon its Uyghur Muslim population for quite some time now. Aside from China, India under the current BJP regime led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been heavily criticized for his enacting of “Anti-Muslim” laws since coming to power in 2014. Since Biden received a huge number of Muslim immigrants’ votes, he will have to take special care in dealing with these sensitive issues. Should he support India without batting an eye to its “Anti-Muslim” laws just for the sake of pressuring China in the ongoing Trade War, or should he take a different approach and bring both China and India in line by re-establishing USA’s supremacy in the region. Given his statement on 11th November, he will more likely do the former rather than the latter. Whether his “Anti-China” stance benefits Bangladesh in the “Rohingya Refugee Crisis” is another interesting topic for debate.
Another major challenge for Joe Biden is to bring stability in the Middle East. Since the last decade, the Middle East underwent severe political upheavals and civil wars due to its failed Arab Spring. Syrian Civil War had rendered Syria into a battleground since 2012. However, President Bashar Al Assad had managed to stay in power thanks to timely military aid from Russia, China and Iran. Moreover, with the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal foolishly annulled in 2017 by his predecessor Trump and the alleged assassination of Iranian military high commander Qasem Soleimani in 2020, Iran is now completely free to realize its goal of nuclear armaments, which could seriously jeopardize the security of USA’s closest allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. With Russia gradually gaining strong military presence in the Middle East, withdrawing troops from Iraq could only endanger the USA’s long-term interest in the region. Now it remains to be seen whether Joe Biden will take this colossal risk or maintain the status-quo established during the Bush and Obama Administration.
Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 and COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 are two of the worst crises in the last hundred years history of the USA. However, President Franklin Roosevelt’s persistence and strong leadership helped the USA win World War II and emerge as a superpower in 1945. Can Joe Biden replicate his predecessor Roosevelt’s success and revive the USA in the world stage by overcoming those aforementioned challenges? Only time will tell.