By Mohammad Mazhari 

Biden faces difficult job to rebuild divided America: professor

February 6, 2021 - 10:21

TEHRAN - An American professor is of the opinion that President Joe Biden has a long road to repair the deep-rooted division in America, especially when it comes to structural issues like racism, poverty, and Red-Blue division.

“Biden can undo many of Trump's executive orders - which he is trying to do - but he will have to push legislation through a deeply divided Congress, which will be very difficult,” Professor Ronnie Lipschutz tells the Tehran Times.

Many observers say that Biden’s victory in the November presidential election would not heal the wounds of division in America.

 Donald Trump and his supporters’ efforts to cast doubt on the integrity of the election have further exposed the depth of divisions.

“The invasion of the Capitol may have been, indeed, only the first skirmish in what could turn out to be civil conflict and even war.” “The fact that 74 million voted for Trump and most of the Republicans are terrified of getting on his wrong side, and there will be (already is) a lot of resistance and attacks on Biden's ‘socialist’ agenda,” argues Lipschutz, who is also a president and co-director of Sustainable Systems Research Foundation.

The following is the text of the interview:
 
Q: Do you believe Biden can make a meaningful change in America and contain the deep divide in the society?

A: I am skeptical, notwithstanding his good intentions.  Biden can undo many of Trump's executive orders--which he is trying to do--but he will have to push legislation through a deeply divided Congress, which will be very difficult.  Add the fact that 74 million voted for Trump and most of the Republicans are terrified of getting on his wrong side, and there will be (already is) a lot of resistance and attacks on Biden's "socialist" agenda (if only).  The deeper structural issues--racism, poverty, Red-Blue division-will continue to defy the best efforts to address and change them. I am hopeful but I think we might end up with Obama-plus and not much more.

Q: Do think U.S. foreign policy will change during Biden's presidency when it comes to Arab regimes like Saudi Arabia and the Emirates?

A: It was difficult to see much logic in Jared Kushner's Middle East (West Asian) policy, but he seemed to be pursuing a Sunni-Israeli alliance against Iran as a way of minimizing American involvement.  I am adamantly opposed to pandering to Israel -which has nuclear weapons - and encouraging the Saudis and associates to threaten Iran on that basis.  My hope would be that Biden pursues better relations with Iran, returns to the status quo ante Trump (which wasn't all that great), and breaks up the incipient coalition.  I have not really gotten a sense of what Biden's advisors want.

“I suspect he (Trump) will be tried by the Senate but not convicted and that we will have to deal with him for the coming 4-8 years.” Q: What is Biden's strategy to curb China?

A: Does he have one? The U.S. has lost the most from the various trade barriers set up by Trump (although not that many people are sensitive to that) and they will only drive China to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on exports. 

 What I fear most is that he will be persuaded by the anti-China strategists into rattling sabers in Asia.  Whatever one thinks of the CCP and the PRC, that is not a good idea.  To me, it is reminiscent of German-British relations prior to World War One, and we know what happened there.  And would the U.S. ever go to war over Taiwan (certainly not Hong Kong)? 

Q: Do you predict a revival of the JCPOA? How can the parties to the deal guarantee their commitments? 

A: I think Biden wants to return to the JCPOA, although I'm not sure he wants to return to the original agreement. 

 Obviously, commitments are premised heavily on good faith rather than ever more complicated inspection and reporting protocols. The situation has progressed since Trump withdrew; too - indeed, one might almost say (if one believed in such conspiracies) that U.S. withdrawal was meant to revive Iran's nuclear program so that Israel would be provoked into attacking it.  And it is Israel that should worry everyone, especially if Netanyahu looks to be in trouble before the coming election. 

Q: What are the implications of the impeachment of Trump for America?

A: I'm all for impeachment, conviction, and removal of his right to run for public office ever again.  But that will almost certainly anger his followers and turn him into a martyr.  I suspect he will be tried by the Senate but not convicted and that we will have to deal with him for the coming 4-8 years. 
 That will make many Congressional Republicans extremely anxious about (not) getting re-elected.  And the crazies will be out in force.  The invasion of the Capitol may have been, indeed, only the first skirmish in what could turn out to be civil conflict and even war.



 

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