20/01/2021

Start to Biden era gives hope

2 min
l president electe Joe Biden  i Jill Biden  amb el vicepresident electe Kamala Harris (R) arriben al Front Est del Capitoli dels Estats Units per a la seva cerimònia d'investidura com el 46è President dels Estats Units

BarcelonaIt seemed impossible but the day has finally come when we have seen Donald Trump leave the White House and his successor, Joe Biden, take office and make a speech within the coordinates of what are supposed to be the democratic values of the United States. Biden had to remember many obvious things that had been forgotten during these four years: for example, that a president must represent all citizens, not just those who voted for him; that leaders have a responsibility to the truth ("lies must be defeated"), and that their mission must be to unite and not to divide. "American democracy has been tested, but it has prevailed," the new president said, recalling the chilling images of the assault on the Capitol just two weeks ago.

Biden then signed 17 executive orders that overturn many of the policies of the previous administration, some of which are especially significant. The return of the United States to the WHO and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change represents a return to multilateralism in international forums and an end to isolationism. The halting of the construction of the Mexico wall and the repeal of the law preventing the entry of migrants from Muslim countries is a clear gesture towards minorities and multiculturalism. And the extension of the mandatory use of the mask means putting science back at the centre of health policies and leaving behind the denialism of his predecessor. These first decisions outline a hopeful future for Biden's presidency and aim to put the United States back at the centre of the world's geostrategic board. "We must lead the world not by the example of our power but by the power of our example," said the new president.

It is clear that the United States has interests and policies that go beyond the party in power (no change in policy on the Middle East, for example), but it is much better to defend them at a negotiating table than through blackmail and bilateral relations, as Trump intended. The European Union now has a golden opportunity to regain a privileged relationship with the United States, with which it shares more values than with, for example, the other great superpower, China.

The great challenge for the Joe Biden - Kamala Harris tandem, however, will not be abroad but at home: they are inheriting a deeply divided country in the midst of a serious health and economic crisis. Only after overcoming the wounds left open by Trumpism will the United States be able to regain its position of world leadership. This was Biden's main message in his speech. "We must end this uncivil war," he emphasised, appealing to kindness and empathy with those who think differently. Seen through European eyes this may seem like moralising, but after what the US has gone through, yesterday they sounded like heavenly music.

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