Monday, January 25

What can the world expect from the next US presidency?


What can the world expect from someone who has not only been a two-time vice president, under Barack Obama, but also spent many years on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, where he made some decisions that today he says at least regret as the vote in favor of the Iraq war?

For now, and it is already a lot, a change of tone: a return to diplomatic forms, to consultations with the allies, after the bad manners continuously exhibited by a politician who has tried to govern his country with total disregard for the institutions. as if it were your own company.

The first thing to expect from President Biden is the return of the US to the Paris agreement on climate change, the resumption of payments to the World Health Organization, whimsically suspended by Trump, and a return also to the nuclear treaty with Tehran, although surely linked to new conditions on the Iranian missile program.

European governments should not, however, have too many illusions about what the Democrat may be willing to offer in terms of trade: Biden will try to protect as much as he can – as Trump already did, although in a less erratic way and with better manners – to his farmers and their industries.

Subsidies to sectors considered strategic by the Government of Washington, such as the aeronautical industry, will continue with total security, and Biden will continue to protect, as Trump has done, the increasingly powerful companies in the digital sector in that country.

Brussels will have, in turn, to continue to defend itself from eventual distorting measures of competition that Washington may adopt as it has just done now, imposing tariffs of up to 4,000 million dollars on North American imports in response to illegal US aid to Boeing.

Nor has the European Commission wanted to wait for Biden’s inauguration, next January, to act against the multinational online sales company Amazon, which, from this side of the Atlantic, is accused of monopolistic practices, something also The authorities of that country reproach Jeff Bezos’s company.

With regard to China, a less erratic policy is to be expected, more consistent, although equally harsh than that of Trump, who began by courting the president of his great Asian rival and has ended up prohibiting his compatriots from any investment in some thirty companies which he accuses of being related to the Armed Forces of that country.

As Trump recently decided, who blames China for the spread of the virus that ended his ambition to continue four more years in the White House – “the Chinese virus”, as he calls it – both private investors and funds and banks will have to get rid of any stake they may have in state-owned companies such as China Telecom or China Mobile.

Biden has already shown in the past that he is not exactly a friend of China, whose president, Xi Jinping, once described him as a “thug” (ruffian), and it is foreseeable that in new negotiations he will use, as he has come doing Trump, the tariffs as an instrument of pressure to force China to open its market more.

The next occupant of the White House should also show greater interest in the countries of Southeast Asia, in contrast to Trump’s abandonment, which has allowed China to extend its economic hegemony throughout the region with the signing of the new Asia free trade agreement. -Pacific, which represents about 28 percent of world trade and covers a third of the planet’s population.

Although in relation to Africa great changes cannot be expected, at least the rude and racist contempt expressed by Trump will not be repeated with Biden, who came to describe the countries of the black continent as “shitholes” (shit holes) and of course never set foot there.

African governments attach some importance to the Agoa program (African Growth and Opportunity Act), launched in 2000 by President Bill Clinton and which allows thousands of African agricultural products to freely access the North American market.

And what can we finally say about relations with Latin America, another region despised by the Donald and some of whose countries are currently going through a governance crisis with disastrous consequences for their economies?

Biden will undoubtedly show a more respectful treatment than Trump towards neighboring Mexico, although the future Democratic government will at the same time be much stricter in demanding compliance with both ecological and labor standards to avoid dumping practices.

Perhaps it will be more difficult for Brazil with its president Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian Trump. Biden seems more concerned than his predecessor in the White House about the ecological destruction that takes place daily in that lung of the planet that is the Amazon. Will you act accordingly?

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