In his inaugural speech, moments after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden said the day was “a day of history and hope.”
There were so much of historic anecdotes on inauguration day: Kamala Harris was officially sworn in as the first ever black, of Asian south descent, and woman to serve as Vice President; bucking centuries of political tradition, former President Donald Trump decided to skip the ceremony that celebrates the transfer of power; the heavy cast of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a restricted, limited attendance at the ceremony- there was no usual parade; and finally the awesome presence of the military and the national guard in and around the ceremony’s grounds.
Washington looked more like a military camp, because of an unprecedented security threat, following the attack of the Capitol by Trump’s supporters two weeks ago.
The international community counts on Biden to open a new chapter in his country’s relations with the world. The world economy is in deep recession and that cannot be fixed without a multilateral effort in which the US needs to play a critical role
But it was also a day of hope, in America and beyond. The US has never been divided like this politically and socially after four divisive years of Trump’s presidency it was remarkable that Biden specifically mentioned both white supremacists and domestic terrorism as the major threat to US security that must be defeated. “Without unity, there will be no peace,” he said. “We must end this uncivil war.”
More than 400,000 Americans have been killed by the coronavirus. American people cannot wait for Biden to begin addressing the most pressing issues the moment — economy, COVID-19 and civil strife — as he enters the White House.
A message of change
To the rest of the world, President Biden offered hope too; it was a message of change. He said his administration will be working to “repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.” The US will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.” Unity was the recurring theme of his message.
The international community however counts on Biden to open a new chapter in his country’s relations with the world. The world economy is in deep recession and that cannot be fixed without a multilateral effort in which the US needs to play a critical role.
The previous administration’s suspension of its relationship with the World Health Organisation has led to poor countries being enable to fend off the Covid-19 menace. Biden is also expected to re-join the Paris agreement on climate change.
In the Middle East, there is another menace that need to be confronted- the continuing Iran aggressive policies, the source of an increasingly dangerous tension.
President Biden, eager to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, must be aware that Tehran will see his unconditional return to the agreement as a carte blanche to escalate its interference in Arab affairs and proxy wars in the region. US allies in the region, especially the Gulf states, must be consulted in any plan to re-engage Iran by new US administration.