Law and Peace – what now after the US elections?

by Karl-Jürgen Müller

Not only in the United States but also on this side of the Atlantic, the US election campaign (the president, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the senators were newly elected) and the vote counting have received enormous media attention. Now it seems like Joseph Biden has won the election for the office of US president.
  Not only on the other side of the Atlantic, but also on this side there was little objectivity in many statements. In the US this went so far that television stations stopped broadcasting a press conference of the incumbent after a short time. On this side of the Atlantic, the media “sympathies” were even more clearly forgiven. Attempts to at least take seriously the position of the previous incumbent and his doubts about the legality of the election process were rare and could be found almost exclusively in so-called alternative media. “Trump must go” was the widespread slogan in the “mainstream”.
  Moreover, if Joseph Biden, his team and thus also the forces active in the background should assert themselves as the new rulers, they will most likely want to carry out a radical dismantling of the previous incumbent; for the continuing great support for Donald Trump in large parts of the US population is a thorn in the side of these people. Glenn Greenwald, US investigative journalist and certainly no friend of Trump, who in 2012 reported extensively on Edward Snowden’s findings for the British newspaper “The Guardian”, prophesied: “[The media] are going to continue to say, not maybe Trump or at least his movement, still pose this existential threat […] they’re going to inflate it wildly so that any questioning of Joe Biden, even with Trump’s out of the picture, is still going to be depicted as endangering American liberty, as helping fascism, as serving the agenda of the Kremlin, and the need for censorship, as a result, is going to be accepted by more and more people.”1 Greenwald himself, after personal experience, assumes that there is only one way to work independently as a journalist in the USA: with one’s own medium.

So far, Biden has made no statements regarding war and peace

Serious political considerations of what one or the other candidate’s presidency would have meant or will mean, not only for the United States but for the world, were hardly discernible. And when it came to factual issues, then only for specific topics. Agenda-setters were and are very influential circles. Examples: Biden and the program to combat climate change. Biden and the international organisations. Biden and his relationship to EU-Europe.2 

War and peace were not part of it.

It is a truism to say that the world must somehow get along with a US President Biden. Some will add that the new president should be given 100 days probation in office. And in EU-Europe many responsible politicians hope for less disagreements and more influence in the world – now again together with the USA.

With “best intentions” into the Third World War?

Meanwhile, many in the USA still have a claim to world power for their country alone, the US is still far too highly armed, the bellicosity of this state and its military-industrial complex has still not been broken, the dollar domination and the hard will to preserve it is still there and the world situation is still too tense to wait until mid-April next year, not least due to the pre-Trump US foreign policy – especially considering the following quotation by the internationally renowned historian Niall Ferguson:
  “‘Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes’ is a line from Virgil, usually translated as ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.’ I feel the same way about Democrats when they make uplifting speeches full of promises about billions (sorry, make that trillions) of dollars to be spent on public health, education, health care and infrastructure.
  If there is one man I can readily imagine – inadvertently, of course, and with the best of intentions and the most uplifting of rhetoric – turning Cold War II into World War III, it is the self-anointed heir of Roosevelt, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.”3

The demands on the new US President must be made now

If the other part of the world was in a state of political alertness and reason, then in the coming days and weeks decisive demands would have to be made from the new US President – also if, contrary to expectations, the new President were to be the old one again.
  These demands would have to focus on law and peace. The formulations of the now already 75-year-old Charter of the United Nations and international law still offer a sufficient basis for this. A new President Biden would have to give an answer to what Niall Ferguson has formulated. In his election manifesto he omitted concrete statements on this core question. But we know from the previous candidate of the party which Joseph Biden is a member of how she would have wanted to act: in Syria, in Libya, in Ukraine, against Russia. What does Mr. Biden say about this?
  During the election campaign, Biden sharply attacked Russia and its president and spoke of Russia having to pay a “price” for its behaviour. “There is no doubt about his critical attitude towards the Kremlin,” wrote the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” on 10 November 2020.
  And can he be expected to solve the escalating conflict with China by improving bilateral relations at eye level?
  On 8 November 2020, Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations affiliated with the Democratic Party, advertised an essay by Joseph Biden from the March/April 2020 issue: “Why America Must Lead Again. Rescuing US Foreign Policy After Trump”. The advertising text itself then reads: “In Foreign Affairs earlier this year, presumptive President-Elect Joe Biden set out a plan for restoring the United States’ position of global leadership.” This does not sound like a world of equal states. And then there are European voices like this one: “The world needs American leadership” – according to an editorial in a major Swiss daily newspaper on 7 November 2020.

What can the responsible citizen do?

But unfortunately the other part of the world is not in a good state either, at least not the part of the world that is particularly keen on close relations with the United States. The daily stream of messages and the real challenges of everyday life also prevent taking a moment for real reflection. Not to mention the courage and confidence it takes to make the world a little better in many small steps.
  The “influential circles” mentioned above have their own agenda. They will most likely get along well with a US President Biden. We will probably see this clearly in the coming weeks and months. Large sums of money have been spent for Biden’s election success. It is therefore probably not very promising to expect constructive impulses from these ranks. Moreover, this hope would not only be futile, it would also be incapacitating. Law and peace are too important a matter for all people to be left to others.
  The US itself has many domestic problems. The effects of the Corona pandemic in the country, for example, are devastating. The Americans will be happy if their new government devoted all its attention and energy to these problems. There is really no room for foreign policy adventures.  •


1  Cited from „Wegen Trump alles Mass verlieren. Glenn Greenwald hat mit Edward Snowden die NSA-Affäre aufgedeckt. Nun warnt er vor Auswüchsen in amerikanischen Medien“ (Losing all sense of proportion because of Trump. Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden uncovered the NSA affair. Now he warns of excesses in American media); in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of 9 November 2020
2  It already looks like Biden will support the EU in the Brexit negotiations with the UK, weakening the position of the British Prime Ministers
3  Ferguson, Niall. “Wird auch der freundliche Joe Biden Krieg führen?” (Will friendly Joe Biden also wage war?); in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of 31 August 2020

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