AFTER the US presidential elections of 2020, Americans and the rest of the Western world can no longer look down on the political exercises of the Third World, including the Philippines. The condescending attitude, especially on Philippine elections, will die down, considering the chaos, charges of cheating, slow count, and legal and judicial interventions both candidates planned, proposed and executed just to stay in the race.
It is with a sigh of collective relief that officials have counted, tallied and called that the presidential race is over, with Joe Biden getting the majority 279 votes as against President Donald Trump’s 214. Now, the American people will just have to close a chapter of their recent history, this raucous political contest just concluded with the Democrat candidate dominating the vote, and becoming the 46th US President.
`Meantime, we in Southeast Asia need to worry less on our citizens being deported or evicted…’
This early, people of Southeast Asia including Filipinos have been speculating on how the new Biden presidency will impact on their lives and the affairs of their respective nations. For us, we can draw much from the deep reserve of Democratic goodwill the government has with this US political party, as we have warm ties with such leaders as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Biden himself.
Among the foreign policy issues Biden has to prioritize, we believe, is America’s relationship with China. Through his policies of decoupling, trade and tech wars with China, Trump succeeded in eroding whatever rapport was existing between the two giant nations when he took over the presidency.
Graham Allison’s book, “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap?,” ushered in the past three years of debate and discussion on the rivalry the US perceives of its relationship with China – a rivalry that China rejects repeatedly with the call for “Win-Win Cooperation” and multilateralism vs. unilateralism, as well as pointing the way towards building “A Community of Shared Future for Mankind.”
President Biden will have to contend with what Allison cited in a recent article, that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now considers China’s economy as one-sixth larger than America’s ($24.2 trillion versus the $20.8 trillion of the US). With the continuing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the huge task of beefing up the US economy, helping big business as well as brick-and-mortar shops, and solving the lack of jobs, Biden will have his hands full and should hit the ground running if he wants to make a difference.
Meantime, we in Southeast Asia need to worry less on our citizens being deported or evicted, and although the US-Mexico border will still be tightly guarded, Trump’s dream of a formidable wall to separate the two nations will most likely remain unrealized.
Biden’s pro-environment advocacy will push some more the Philippines’ use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, thereby benefiting partnerships and joint ventures of PH-US firms producing green energy.
In summary, Malacañang Palace is right in assessing that a new President in the United States will have not much impact on the Philippines, as the White House continues to respect President Duterte’s avowed adherence to an independent foreign policy, meaning, we want to be friends with all nations.