What you need to know:
- Over the past year, the world has been battling the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.
After Donald Trump, the man whose four-year rule saw that country’s racial abyss dangerously widen, finally left power in America, the world is about to join ‘Uncle Sam’ in seeing the back of an era of unbridled chauvinism, undisguised contempt for otherness and a morbid sense of entitlement.
President Joe Biden takes the reins of a nation (and world) gripped by a slough of near-universal angst and despondency.
Over the past year, the world has been battling the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic. And even though vaccines have since been developed, the Biden Administration is saddled with the herculean task of first restoring US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), which the Trump regime withdrew, and lead the war on the new, more dangerous coronavirus variants.
Biden will also be faced with the uninviting prospect of crafting and leading the global economic restoration. History shows that whenever the American economy is in the doldrums, like during the 1929 Wall Street Crash and 2008 Global Economic Recession, the world economy hurts equally badly. Economic revival will have to quickly and intensively rebuild industry and recreate the millions of jobs lost.
In Africa, it’s hoped that Washington will do an about-turn from Trump’s “America First” dogma and encourage trade and investment. With Biden promising to have the US rejoin the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, that will right a phenomenon that we have greatly suffered.
Lately, British environmentalist David Attenborough and Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg have carried the torch of global climate change action. With Biden on their side, other world powers will rejoin the cause.
In the Middle East, the US is hoped to rededicate to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that sought to have Iran abandon its nuclear programme as quid pro quo for easing crippling economic sanctions imposed by the West. Trump withdrew the US from the plan.
The world also anticipates a shift in Washington’s approach to international mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city was widely faulted.
It’s also the dawn of a new era in US ties with North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong-Un unprecedentedly initiated talks with Washington, meeting Trump thrice. That gave hope to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the formal end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
An outward-looking America would also, once again, rejoin international efforts to look for a solution to the civil war that has raged on in Syria since 2011.
The Biden White House owes it to those looking up to America’s leadership as the pin-up of the sensible, desirable and putative.
Mulang’o Baraza, Nairobi