The way forward for the new Biden administration cannot be the way back. Going back to the Obama days and stacking his administration with “Obamians” will not be enough to restore America’s credibility and leadership. As President of the United States, Joe Biden must look further, aim higher, and act bigger.
It is important for Biden to reverse much of Donald Trump’s policies, but it will not erase his legacy or repair the damage done to America’s soul. Certainly not when the bitter and vengeful former president and his allies continue to hide in the shadows.
Trump’s authoritarian attempts to restore white supremacy have thankfully failed miserably, primarily because America has moved on. But it has succeeded in causing so much damage to the fabric of American society and democracy that it will take years to clean it up.
That’s why Biden will have to tread carefully, addressing the social and economic grievances of the Republican base without alienating his own Democratic base.
Democrats have long run and won an election on the promise of cleaning up a Republican mess.
From the victory of Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression and the ascendancy of John F. Kennedy in 1961 after the economic recession of the late 1950s, to the historic triumph of Barack Obama after the Iraq war and the financial collapse of 2008, Democratic presidents have repeatedly taken up the challenge of restoration. American prosperity and leadership. And a little successful.
Such a selective reading of the last century may be far too self-righteous, but never have Democrats and Liberals, including liberal Republicans, shown so much enthusiasm for turning the page on a Republican presidency as today. hui.
Biden’s cabinet choices show great cultural and gender diversity, albeit from within the establishment. If politics are indeed shaped by formal appointments, the new administration holds promise.
Sure, many Democrats would have liked to see Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in the new administration, but I guess Biden is hoping to work with mainstream Republicans and Liberals to end the Trumpist mindset that has divided the country.
This would prove controversial and even alienate many progressive Democrats, but it could potentially widen the divide within the Republican Party and improve the Democrats’ position in the midterm elections.
Biden has already pledged to overturn a plethora of executive orders from Trump on his first day in office, including lifting the “Muslim ban” and joining the Paris climate accord.
He will also try to act quickly to correct Trump’s shameful and deadly toll of the pandemic by issuing new guidelines to tackle the coronavirus.
These are milestones that signal his seriousness in turning the page on the Trump era, but not enough to reflect his legacy and address America’s social and racial injustices that elevated him to the presidency.
This is why Biden must go beyond what Obama did after the calamitous years of the Bush presidency. He must design a new American pact on the model of the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson.
It could start by adopting and implementing a vast national stimulus program that follows the three Rs of the FDR: relief for the many unemployed through direct government support; recovery through greater infrastructure investments and market subsidies; and reform of the economy through regulations and social protection programs.
Addressing poverty and inequality is essential to tackle the deeper and more contentious issues of racial and societal tensions that divide and cripple America.
Needless to say, a struggling, divided and unstable America is an America unfit to rule the world. Its appeal, as the cliché goes, does not only come from the example of its power, but the power of its example, as a stable, democratic and prosperous superpower.
So once Biden has restored what he calls “the soul of the American” – his democratic civility, his economic vitality and his political liberality – he can proceed to the restoration of his credibility.
Restoring US leadership will require rebuilding alliances, strengthening global institutions, and upholding international agreements, which Trump has abandoned.
Unfortunately, many of America’s allies, like its European and South Asian partners, have already moved on. They have started to shape their own autonomous security structures and some have even signed new trade agreements with China.
While pleased with the changes in Washington and America’s re-engagement with the world in a responsible diplomatic manner, America’s closest allies will not rush to embrace American leadership as in the past. and will not be swayed by soft words or empty assurances.
Biden will have to work harder than his predecessors to regain their confidence. It will also have to accept more equitable transatlantic and transpacific relations based on mutual respect and mutual interest.
These alliances are essential if America is to face, not to say resist, a rising China and an emboldened Russia, its two greatest challenges in the decades to come.
When it comes to great power politics, Biden will have to restore what sets America apart from its rivals, albeit at times in a selective and cynical manner, that is, the emphasis on and promotion of human rights. man and democratic values.
And nowhere is this as urgent as in the Middle East, where the Trump administration has abandoned all that is politically legal, decent and humane.
Biden must put human rights at the center of US regional policy. It starts by putting pressure on American clients, Saudi Arabia and Israel, to end the war in Yemen and the occupation of Palestine, respectively.
The return to the Iran nuclear deal is laudable and necessary, but it must go hand in hand with Iran’s respect for human rights and legal standards. As the region’s self-proclaimed guardian superpower, America shares responsibility for the civil wars in Syria and Libya, which Obama allowed and Trump allowed to rot.
Biden says America is shaped by a constant battle between its best angels and its darkest impulses. This also applies to foreign policy.
It is high time that his best angels prevailed in America and beyond.