By COURTENAY BARNETT
We all can breathe a sigh of relief that Donald Trump is no longer in the White House. Yes, but I am now a bit older than in 2008 when Obama made his way in for a first in Presidential history and along with many others I then felt a sense of satisfaction that America had finally moved on. However, reality did set in as the events unfolded.
This time around there is no real thrill nor anything but a willingness to make a calm and less than enthusiastic assessment of what America really faces. I think I can categorise into three sections – the knowns – the unknowns – and the in-betweens
America faces an unprecedented combination of challenges. On the economic front if one is to remove the blinders, then the country is comparable to 1930s depression days challenges; on the cultural and political front the country is deeply divided – if only one considers the need to have thousands of troops and disinvite the public at large from celebrating the inauguration of their new president; and on the health and medical front America finds that it has had more people who have died from covid-19 than soldiers lost in all of World War 11. These ‘knowns’ are more than a handful for any President – but there are more to the ‘knowns’ .
Biden will ( rather already has) reversed via Executive Orders a significant list of Trump era policies.
There are big issue items for Biden to deal with and these can be but guessed at right now. Troops will remain in Afghanistan and in northern Syria. There may be some reversal on the excesses of Israel in seeking to have East Jerusalem as the unified capital and on-going settlement expansions ( maybe Biden will seek to rein in these provocations). He is unlikely to comment on the recent Apartheid law which reserves certain offices for Jews only. The fundamental support of the US for Israel will not change otherwise. At a guess the Biden will return to the Iran deal. I assume that Biden will want to restore the Obama era rapprochement with Cuba.
I can but gawk at the US approach towards Venezuela in seeking to dictate to the Venezuelan people who should be their president as chosen by the US for them. It remains to be seen whether or not Biden will move in the direction of less bullying towards Venezuela. Note – I said ‘less bullying’ – for I still anticipate bullying to continue – only question is to what degree.
With regards to China, Biden being a rational person, I assume, will not pursue Trump’s trade war but instead will seek to engage in negotiations with China over trade rules.
It is the economy and the structural instability which is America’s present really big challenge. I do not see or anticipate Biden doing here what is logical and necessary ( albeit overall I see him as a rational and sensible man). America knows its problem of having a massive deficit and permitting the military-industrial complex to command almost half of its entire budget. The latter exacerbates the former. Yet, each new president continues down that path which serves well to worsen the overall economic problem. What Biden will do is pump in a massive stimulus package which will serve well to boost the economy and improve the jobs situation.
My approach would be a 1930s form of stimulus from bottom up; Biden, at a guess, will be closer to a Obama 2008 top down form of injection of funds.
So there – that is how I see it.
Congratulations President Biden!
COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He has published numerous articles in the Effective Learning Report. He lives and works in the Caribbean