Biden’s victory offers hope for democracy, governance globally | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 01, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:19 AM, December 01, 2020

Biden’s victory offers hope for democracy, governance globally

Analysts tell int’l webinar

Democrat candidate Joe Biden's victory in the US elections offers hope for democracy and governance globally as well as for healing the scars of structural racism and inequality in American society, global affairs analysts have said.

Speaking at an international webinar titled "Between Reds and Blues: Critical Reflections on US Elections 2020", they said Biden will try to restore the respect that was lost to some extent during Trump's four-year tenure which saw US relations with NATO, the European Union, China and Iran deteriorate.

Trump also moved away from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the World Health Organization and the nuclear deal with Iran.

Although the Trump administration performed relatively well on the economic front, his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic has been widely criticised. As of Sunday, 13.7 million Americans were infected while more than 273,000 died of coronavirus.

At the webinar on Sunday night, experts said the Biden administration that takes charge in January will focus on fixing domestic issues, including managing the coronavirus pandemic, structural inequality and racism in American society.

Therefore, it would not go for confrontation, especially with China over trade and coronavirus issues, they said in the webinar organised by the Journal of International Relations Committee of the Dhaka University International Relations (DUIR).

M Humayun Kabir, former Bangladesh ambassador to the US, said much of Biden's focus may be devoted to addressing the pandemic, fixing trade and economy, racial and social inequalities and climate change issues that the young Americans are advocating for.

"Since 2002, US foreign policy has been highly militarised. Now it has to go for diplomacy," he said at the webinar moderated by DUIR Prof Dr Amena Mohsin.

Analysts said as US will need to rely on foreign countries for Covid-19 management, Biden is likely to collaborate with China. This will definitely have an impact on South Asia where a new alignment -- either the China bloc or US bloc -- was in the offing in recent times under the Trump administration.

DUIR Prof ASM Ali Ashraf said Biden will hold a democracy summit in 2021 and it is clear that he is not going to "flirt" with autocrats. He will also speak of global governance and human rights to restore American values and respect.

Biden will not fully withdraw troops from countries, including Afghanistan, but the new administration will be careful to make sure that US troops are not engaged in any torture, he said.

By reviving the relations with NATO, EU and international organisations like the WHO, Biden will try to reinstate the US's global leadership position, Ali Ashraf said.

DUIR Prof Lailufar Yasmin, however, said the US has largely abandoned its hegemonic responsibility, which means that there would not be much difference in foreign policy during Biden's tenure.

She negated the notion of a cold war between the US bloc and China bloc and suggested Biden will have more interest in South Asia to boost trade and investment.

The US dispute with China is more about technology than trade, Lailufar said, adding that the US will try to maintain its supremacy in technology by enforcing intellectual property regime.

The analysts said China may also make some adjustments to its policy globally because of criticism it faces regarding transparency and compliance in environmental aspects.

They also said while Biden will try to promote democracy and human rights, it is still not clear how far he would go to address the Rohingya crisis by creating pressure on Myanmar. The US, however, will remain the largest donor during the Rohingya crisis.

Dr Shelley Feldman, senior fellow at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies in Germany, and Dr Mehnaaz Momen, associate professor of Public Administration at Texas A&M International University, also spoke at the event. 


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