Donald Trump’s defeat in September’s election was celebrated by liberals around the world as a return to normalcy.
One month on into Biden’s presidency, gone is the vulgar language, the constant tweeting, and the … Was that all of the important matters heads of state should refrain from?
Judging by mainstream media sources, one could be forgiven for thinking that the USA has recently undergone deep change and is set on a new course.
Gone are many of the complaints about kids in cages. The panic over having a sociopath in charge of such destructive capability has subsided. Liberal activist Amy Siskind, organiser of the We The People march, tweeted “pretty remarkable how quickly the former guy’s footprint has shrunken.” Ask people to whom politics means more than etiquette though, and the change in news cycle is less welcome.
The Guardian was keen to highlight that Trump’s foreign policy was “a threat to peace”. However, the day that Biden’s administration airstrikes Syria, the same paper published a piece titled “From Syria to China, dictators are still getting away with murder” with the subheading reading ”…we can’t rely on the glacial pace of international law to provide justice”.
The destruction of Syria started under Obama, aided by the rampage of ISIS kitted out with US guns. Under Trump, billions of dollars continued to be spent taking Syrian lives. Biden’s continued actions of “de-escalation”, as a pentagon spokesman termed it, is a continuation of the stance of all American presidents in living memory, and has received full Republican support.
Biden’s VP Kamala Harris seems to have forgotten her empathy from 2017 when she publicly lamented “70% of all Syrian refugees are women and children”.
February 23rd was the day Biden opened his first migrant facility for minors.
Trump’s presidency came with a relentless stream of photo-ops and public performances from Democrats who claimed to stand strongly against this mistreatment of poor migrants, mainly from Latin America.
The primary cause of this human flow, let alone the USA’s decades-old atrocious responses, is American empire. Countries in the region that don’t obey Uncle Sam are regularly subject to economic warfare, anti-democratic coups and imported violence.
Sanctions and covert operations responsible for the impoverishment of millions from countries such as Cuba and Venezuela have been maintained under Biden. Defendants of Biden’s continued imprisonment of migrants have claimed he needs more time. Yet not a step has been taken to remove the empire’s foot from the neck of Latin American economies. To claim that there must be time to allow a White House response to the White House’s continued aggression is absurd.
Finally, the domestic victims, US workers, who were given the abysmal choice between the performative red and blue mortal enemies.
Coronavirus, as in many liberal capitalist counties, has run rampant. Consistent, and deserved, was the condemnation of Trump’s lack of support for the people he was supposedly hired to serve. A key point of the Democrat’s campaign was the assurance that much-needed financial support would be parachuted in to the millions of Americans who were economically devastated by the virus.
Yet, whilst the moves to unleash violence on Syria smoothly passed through government, Republicans and Democrats claim that one another are too difficult to provide relief checks. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats publicly support this move, their ability to find the vast common ground that US voters have on the matter appears to be almost non-existent.
Biden’s electoral promises of minimum wage hikes and rapid economic relief are quickly fading into hopeful memories.
A weight is surely lifted from many American’s shoulders by the removal of a character from the White House whose flippancy towards many lives was so unashamed. Yet, aside from the rhetoric, most people’s lives have had to continue holding onto the economic edge as others fall into the chasm of poverty.
The former anti-colonial president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere pointed out “Yes, we have one party here. But so does America. Except, with typical extravagance, they have two of them.”
To the millions of Syrians who’s lives have been destroyed by American bombs, their impoverishment is not made better by the performative wokeness of the commander-in-chief and his vice-president. Those who continue to flee economic warfare in Latin America will find little consolation that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez used to take solemn photoshoots outside the immigration prisons they’re now locked in. And whilst the new President may not be giving orders to white-nationalist groups like the Proud Boys, the police he helped craft the framework for continue to keep millions of working-class, disproportionately black, Americans in cages.
So, after yet another grand American story of a two-man showdown, the capitalist system beats on as voters push against the current. Biden, nor Trump, are a break from the past.
Mali Kakembo, is a member of the YCL’s Wales district