FAIR COMMENT | Alito Malinao
Although incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump has not yet conceded defeat as of this writing, it is now almost certain that his challenger, Joe Biden, will become the 46th president of the United States. Biden has already surpassed the threshold of 270 electoral votes for him to win.
Some world leaders, including Trump’s friend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have already congratulated Biden. And while some Republican stalwarts have called on Trump to admit defeat, the latter remained stubborn as he vowed to question Biden’s victory in courts.
Biden, a veteran politician having been senator for a number of years and vice president for eight years, will be the oldest president in U.S. history. He will be 78 during his inauguration day on January 20, 2021.
During the campaign, Biden showed some signs of forgetfulness and stammered when speaking. Biden also refused to answer questions from the media. His campaign rallies were attended by only a handful of his supporters in contrast to Trump’s campaign rallies which were mobbed by thousands of his supporters.
But despite Trump’s popularity, Biden won. Even if he has not been formally declared the winner, Fox News, the network that has almost been his mouthpiece, has now declared Biden the winner.
The Philippines would be most affected by the ascendancy of a Democratic administration in Washington. In fact, Biden has already made it clear that human rights would be the core of his foreign policy.
And this will be extremely bad for the administration of President Duterte particularly. We must remember that when former President Barack Obama criticized Mr. Duterte for alleged human rights violations for waging his drug war, the former called the U.S. president a “son of a bitch” for interfering in our affairs. Obama has campaigned hard for Biden and definitely he will be one of Biden’s top advisers on foreign policy.
Thus, it is not difficult to imagine that a Biden presidency will again bring to the fore alleged violations of human rights in the country and, as a result, American aid to the Philippines would be under utmost scrutiny and some may even be scrapped.
But the major change in U.S. foreign policy will be in China. Trump has accused Biden of being pro-China. Under Biden, it will be goodbye to the U.S. strong commitment to support the Philippines in our dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.
During the Obama administration the U.S. policy was for all claimant countries to settle their claims with China peacefully. Under Trump, the U.S. openly sided with the Philippines and has even promised military aid if attacked by China.
The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the U.S. will now be under scrutiny or scrapped under a Biden administration. President Duterte, piqued by U.S. cancellation of the visa of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, has ordered the termination of the VFA but he later withdrew the termination notice.
Elsewhere in the world, there will be several reversals in U.S. foreign policy. Under Biden Washington will reactivate the deal with Iran crafted by the Obama administration but was unilaterally terminated by Trump. The U.S. under Biden is expected to rejoin the Paris agreement on climate change which was also ditched by Trump, reenter the World Health Organization and scrap the putative efforts to reach out to North Korea and probably promote good relations with socialist countries like Cuba.