President Biden

IN his victory speech, the US president-elect Joe Biden said it is “time to heal” America and vowed “not to divide but to unify” the country. He said as president he wouldn’t see red states and blue states but only United States. Biden won more than 74 million votes, the most ever for a US presidential candidate in a cliff-hanger of an election. In an obvious reference to Trump era, Biden declared the end of “grim era of demonization in America”. He said it was “time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again”. And without mentioning his rival in the election, Biden urged Americans that “to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.” This is a bracing message that a majority of people in America and across the rest of the world longed to hear. And this makes such a redeeming contrast with the scurrilous and intemperate insults of Donald Trump.

Taking over of Biden as next US president, thus, is just not an election win. It marks a momentous shift back to a liberal order in the US and hopefully later in the rest of the world. Under Trump, the US had lurched towards far-right. Under Trump, we were witness to a stunning closing of the American mind.

America has always taken pride in its democracy, open-mindedness and its concern for civil liberties and human rights. In 2008, the country spectacularly re-affirmed its commitment to these values by electing Barack Obama, a black leader, as its president and then re-electing him in 2012. This too just seven years after the attack on the twin towers in New York.

Under Biden, America will be hoped to go back to its core democratic values. This will be good for the rest of the world many parts of which are witnessing “the pandemic of authoritarianism”, to borrow the phrase of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. And the Trump administration was underpinning this “pandemic”. There’s hope that a liberal US administration will reverse this trend by keeping a leash on the right-wing governments.

Also under Biden, the US will be expected to once again assume its leadership role in the world. Trump had withdrawn from multilateral agreements like Paris climate accord and the US’ own nuclear agreement with Iran. The US had also stopped raising the issues of human rights violations across the world. Biden will hopefully change this.

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