Joe Biden’s rise as the 46th President of the United States (US) marks a moment of victory for all those who believe in liberal democracy, civilized politics within the rules of the game, responsible leadership, and the inclusion of various social groups, including minorities, in the power structure. Mr Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, stood at the opposite end of all these values — he was illiberal and authoritarian; he was eager to use lies and duplicity and undermine all constitutional institutions to win and then remain in power; and he energized xenophobic politics based on White supremacism.
Mr Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as Vice-President and appointment of the most racially assorted cabinet in US history shows that he understands the significance of consideration. His focus on instituting harder measures to fight with Covid-19 and increase vaccination shows that he will have an alternate way to deal with the pandemic. And with a new economic stimulus — which Mr Biden will have to push through Congress — the task of domestic economic reconstruction will take priority. But his most challenging domestic political task will be heal a divided nation — the fact that over 71 million people voted for Mr Trump is a grim reminder of the internal faultiness.
In any case, alongside domestic priorities, the Biden presidency will have to deal with the most important strategic challenge of the times— the belligerence of China. The appointment of an Indo-Pacific coordinator signals the proceeded with responsibility of the new administration to dealing with China’s desire and investing in regional partnerships in Asia — including with India. But this will be accompanied by Washington’s need to keep up a working relationship with Beijing. Given the relatively bipartisan support for the relationship with India, New Delhi should not be overly concerned about the tactical ebbs and flows in Washington’s policy
for the strategic convergence between the two is obvious. Regardless of concerns that might be communicated about what has come to be viewed as India’s democratic backsliding, Mr Biden is probably going to put resources into the India partnership across the domain of defence, economy, technology, and climate — and perhaps even make a trip to India in the first half of his term. For now, all democrats should celebrate Mr Biden’s win — and the return of the politics of sanity.