Obama left as big a mess for Biden as Trump did - YASIN AKTAY

Obama left as big a mess for Biden as Trump did

U.S. elections are, in a sense, the world’s elections. The ironic part is that votes are cast by U.S. citizens only, but everybody is concerned with the results, and the results impact everybody.

The whole world has closely been following the presidential elections where Donald Trump and Joe Biden competed for months like it is their own elections. Everyone is trying to determine a position based on who will win the elections. Of course, China, Russia, and even EU countries are included in this, but most importantly, so are the countries in the Middle East, in the Gulf. In order to become directly involved in the U.S. elections, they did not hesitate to transfer funds to election campaigns through their lobbies in the U.S.

The post-election disappointment of countries that are said to have transferred serious amounts of funding to Trump is obvious from their statements and actions. As much as we said the U.S. elections do not concern us, we are inevitably affected by the positions and stances of other countries. It might be positive or negative, but it will for sure have an effect.

Regardless of who becomes president in the U.S., I generally pay no attention to especially those who say its foreign policy will not change. We had quite a serious experience with the Trump example, in particular, regarding what a leader who is capable of doing in politics when their personality and character are combined with their existing authorities. We thus saw that the presidents, who represent a continuity in U.S. politics, choose to play these roles themselves, and they can change a great deal if they want. Trump has perhaps set an extreme example in this respect. He left no institution or tradition concerning the almost quarter-century-old U.S. administration history left untouched. As a crazy president, he destroyed U.S. domestic and foreign policy norms.

Surely we are not saying he was right in doing everything he had done. There is a deep oligarchic structure in the U.S. that has taken control over the economy and politics. In fact, all the democratic processes in the U.S. consist of a show aimed at hiding the deep power of the oligarchic structure, which famous sociologist C. Wright Mills calls, “The Power Elites.”

Trump is also a man who came from among these power elites. He knows them very well. He was well-versed in all the mechanisms and protocols they developed to continue their own sharing order, and disrupted them. Of course nobody can say that he was revolutionary enough to suggest a new order. However, it is clear that he leaves those elites in a tough position by holding against them the discord sown among them and their plots.

It was an important step demonstrating that a president can do politics within the U.S. system by breaking the numerous rules and practices of the decades-old U.S. democratic administrations, and that the paths of politics are not as entrenched as peviously thought. However, this does not mean that the steps he has taken to do politics are not right. He opened the blocked political channels in the U.S. not in the name of positive values, but on the contrary, in the name of bad preferences.

The xenophobic, racist and anti-global discourses to which he resorted in order to revive U.S. economy and his political influence led the U.S., which already had a bad record, into an even worse path. The procedures he launched in the Middle East made the U.S. an even stronger protector for more Zionist and more Islamophobic dictatorships. He paid no attention to the human rights violations that have become routine practices for countries in the Arab world; only the money he would make was important. He never hesitated to openly state this opportunism. His outspokenness probably even scored points with his own voters. Similarly, he complimented Egypt’s putschist leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in his own way by calling him “my favorite dictator” – even though he did not care what position this compliment would put him in. Very much like when he exposed his disrespectful dialogue with the Saudi king during a party campaign speech.

Against all his objections to the election results, we can surely expect the tremors caused by Trump in U.S. political routines to settle down. We can expect Biden, who was present in all levels of U.S. politics for four decades, to be busy cleaning up the wreck he took over from Trump. Signing some of the decisions – from which Trump had withdrawn – that turned into international deals from day one, and especially signing the decision lifting the travel restrictions imposed on some Muslim countries are promising steps.

The U.S.’s great loss of prestige in the region due to his Middle East and Turkey policies are not the aftermath of the Trump term alone. Throughout the eight-year Barack Obama term, the U.S.’s Syria, Palestine, Arab Spring policies in particular followed a course that negated U.S. values and world leadership claims. If Biden is going to have a strategic policy for his U.S. leadership, he is going to have to deal not only with the wreck left behind by the Trump administration, but also with the one left behind from the Obama, a predecessor from his own party.


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