Biden brings hope for democracy globally: Analysts | The Daily Star
04:35 PM, November 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:39 PM, November 30, 2020

Biden brings hope for democracy globally: Analysts

Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the US elections brings hopes 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.

They said Biden, who won 306 Electoral College votes against 232 of Trump in the November 3 elections, will try to restore the respect that, to some extent, has been lost under Trump's four years when the US relations with NATO, European Union, China and Iran have deteriorated in Trump's "America First" policy.

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

Though the Trump administration has performed relatively well on the economic front domestically, 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.

Experts said the Biden administration that takes charge in  January next year will focus on fixing the domestic issues, including managing coronavirus pandemic and structural inequality and racism in American society.

Therefore, it would not go for confrontation -- particularly with China that saw a worsening of relationship with the US, especially over trade and coronavirus issues -- they said at an international webinar titled "Between Reds and Blues: Critical Reflections on US Elections 2020" organised by the Journal of International Relations Committee of the Dhaka University International Relations (DUIR) Sunday night.

M Humayun Kabir, former Bangladesh ambassador to the US, said Biden may employ much of his energy in addressing the coronavirus 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 and imports, Biden is likely to collaborate with China. This will definitely impact South Asia where a new alignment -- 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 the autocrats. He will also speak of global governance and human rights for restoring the American values and respect.

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

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

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

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

US dispute with China is more about technology than that of trade, Lailufar said, adding that US will try keep its supremacy in technology by enforcing intellectual property laws.

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 Rohingya crisis by creating pressure on Myanmar. The US, however, will most likely remain the largest donor in Rohingya crisis.

Dr Shelley Feldman, senior fellow at the Max Weber Kolleg Universitat in Gernamy and Dr Mehnaaz Momen, associate professor of Public Administration at Texas A&M International University, USA, also spoke.

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