Goodbye Trump, hello Joe Biden

Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States today in a ceremony characterised by extreme security precautions.

20 January 2021 | International

MATHIAS HAUFIKU

WINDHOEK



The United States of America, one of the oldest democracies in the world, will today welcome Joe Biden as its 46th president at a ceremony that has little resemblance to past inaugurations.

The ceremony will take place amid civil unrest as far-right groups aligned to ousted Donald Trump ­continue to run amok in protest of the November 2020 polls that ushered Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris into the presidency.

While it has become a norm for outgoing presidents to watch their successors being sworn in, Trump made it clear he will not be present.

Analysts have warned that the effects of Trump's four years in the White House will have a lasting impact on the US and that it will take Biden and the rest of his leadership great efforts to restore political sanity in the country.



Unifying approach

International relations expert Dr Marius Kudumo says there will be a shift in the policy approach and he expects Biden to adopt a more ­multilateral and unifying approach.

Kudumo, the director for international relations at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, noted that Trump's disregard for multilateralism had an adverse impact on the United States' global influence.

“There are signs from the incoming president that he will strive to unify the country but it will not be easy, especially with the demonstrators who have shifted to the extreme right where Trump took them,” Kudumo said.

He added: “Trump was too inward looking; you cannot advance your international interest in such a manner. Global challenges such as Covid-19, climate change and poverty require global solidarity.”

“You will definitely see a difference in policy approach on how the new administration engages with the world,” he said.

Damage control

Biden and Harris inherit headaches which include the Trump Administration's withdrawal from global programmes such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Agreement on climate change, coupled with the unenviable reality of a deeply divided nation.

In July 2020, the United States gave notice to withdraw from the World Health Organisation.

Biden has made it clear that he will not be following Trump's 'America first' policy.

He also vowed to work with traditional allies and regain their trust.

During the Trump era, the US fell behind in the pecking order of international politics, with countries such as Russia and China taking advantage of the situation to entrench their position.

The fact that Trump did not set foot on the African continent during his presidency also speaks volumes.

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