An even bigger sigh of relief
The sigh of relief we heaved when Joe Biden won the USA Presidential Election pales into insignificance beside the sigh we are now heaving for the Democrats control of the Senate. That, and the gratitude we must express for the fact that, at last, we have a black Senator. In spite of all the attempts by the current President to overturn the election result, despite the unholy show of force on Capitol Hill, American Democracy has come through. Not unscathed, it must be said, but still robust and working. God’s in his heaven even if all’s not yet right with the world.
The rocky ride to this glimpse of sanity has been to politics what Covid has been to socialising. Shocking, isolating, confusing, you could go on for a long time about the impact of the last four years on the lack of cohesion and moral equipping for the fastest changes any humans have ever had to deal with. It was only four years but it was a critically important four years and it was needlessly squandered on vanity, self-interest and idiotic public behaviour the like of which even our most creative writers and producers could not have invented.
The work to be done by the President-elect and his team is daunting. Just repairing and re-establishing the relations between Washington and the individual States is a formidable task. I doubt the United States will emerge much like it was four years ago. From an outsiders point of view making America whole again will be a tough and long drawn out job. The cloud over the Biden Presidency is the number of votes cast for Trump. They speak of ignorance about the state of the world. They speak of short-termism in a way we have not seen until now. They speak of the sort of despair that drives people into self-harming decisions. They say that much is wrong – and most people have different views of what it is.
Beyond the shores of America, the world’s biggest economy is key to the financial and commercial recovery of the west. And the west has to unite – notwithstanding Brexit, now rightly described as the worst decision made by a single nation since WWII. The ideologies of China and the west have to be proved to be able to live side by side or not. Delicate diplomacy plays an important part in the world’s daily rapprochement. It cannot play any effective part when only one side moves the goal posts at whim and repeatedly gets away with it. Nobody wants a war but I, for one, do not want to spend the rest of my life “laying low” like Jack Ma, Not even if I had his wealth.
If reuniting the USA is daunting, reuniting the western world must seem doubly so. But democracy is a decent, ‘live-and-let-live’ process which must, at all costs, be kept available to those who want it. Clearly it needs updating and I don’t see any political party of stature addressing this urgent task. Authoritarianism is very effective in a money-making sense but anyone can make money if they are allowed to shoot the competition. And research and control are a mockery if authorised bodies are refused admission to the countries they need to participate.
While D. Trump incites division and hatred in the USA, the rest of the western world waits for leadership in dealing with the massive problem of China. In light of speedy technological developments, the problem cannot wait much longer. Absent a do-able solution, the situation will drift towards war, though whether of a physical kind or of a cyber kind is not yet discernable. We have had two World Wars. They should have taught us the folly of waving a piece of paper saying ‘Peace in our time’. Time itself is becoming increasingly truncated and peace is no longer definable as the absence of military hostilities.
Mr Biden has his agenda.
Let’s hope he addresses it quickly.
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