The 45th President of the United States, Donald John Trump, was no politician. Before his swearing-in on 20 January 2017, Trump had never held a position anywhere within the US government. When the Democratic Party chose the Empress of the Beltway, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be their standard bearer in the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes, Trump’s victory was foreordained. The grandees of the Democratic Party, used to bowing and scraping before the big donors as well as party royalty such as the Clintons, failed to tap into the immense discontent that was simmering within the voters at the way in which insider cabals had subverted so much of policy. Unlike Vice-President Kamala Harris, who came up through a track less than lily white (graduating from Howard University rather than from Harvard), Barack Obama had come up through the same track that was familiar to his mother and her parents, those who with love and care saw to the development of the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from the US for decades. Obama met their expectations many times over, and even his family though marriage could not disguise the reality that he was in essence in upbringing and education part of a world different from that which too many of his fellow citizens were used to as a consequence of their often deep tans. The consequences were that there was no Voting Rights act nor significant Civil Rights legislation attempted during his stay at the White House. That the charming and charismatic Michelle and he were the elected residents of the world’s most recognized abode seemed sufficient. It has now fallen on Joe Biden, the son of Irish immigrants, to seek to advance the civil rights agenda that was last put on a fast track by Lyndon Baines Johnson before he lost himself in the quagmire of the war in Vietnam, where the US stepped into the space vacated by the former colonial power, France, and to its surprise, was seen not as a liberator but as an oppressor the same way as France had been before being thrown out of Vietnam by Ho Chi Minh. Closet segregationists within the Democratic Party are seeking to derail President Biden’s Civil Rights and Social Justice agenda, and should the 46th President of the US allow them to do so, he will forfeit what could turn out to be a magnificent legacy. The current President of the US has shown a commitment to Civil Rights and Voting Rights that was difficult to discern in his political career till now. Being in the White Hose appears to have freed the better angels of Joe Biden, and all power to such a process.
Biden would burnish his legacy further were he to ameliorate the situation in Afghanistan. From almost the time Trump stepped into the White House as its lawful occupant (and disregarding the efforts he has since made to occupy that structure again in an unlawful manner), the 45th President was focussed on getting a second term. When politicians (and that was what Trump had become) devote all their energies towards winning the next election, they are on track to lose, as Donald Trump did in 2020. In a reaction to the Outsider, voters in the US voted in unprecedented numbers to elect into the highest office the quintessential insider, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. Sadly, he has repeated some of the worst mistakes made by his predecessor, among which was the craven decision to run away from Afghanistan with tail between the legs and panting for breath. US troops are not needed to fight the Taliban and its associates Al Qaeda and other extremist groups. What is essential is the necessary equipment, as well as air support from within Afghanistan. In particular, the Afghan military must hold Bagram and other important bases across the country. The US military does not deserve the ridicule it is getting from across the world at the Iraq-style visuals of Taliban irregulars frolicking in military vehicles that were abandoned by US troops that not just the Taliban or patriotic Afghans but people across the world see as fleeing in panic from the battlefield. When Defense Secretary Llyod Austin next visits a country outside NATO to seek a military alliance, behind his back there will be sniggers at his chutzpah in assuming that anyone could have confidence in US promises of security after seeing the pell-mell withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Afghans do not need US troops on the battlefield. They need support from the air, including through extensive use of Predator and other deadly drones. They need Joe Biden to pull away from the Medusa tunes of the likes of Zalmay Khalilzad, who was instrumental in installing the Taliban in power in 1996 and seeks to repeat that in 2021 through the Doha process, in which the Afghan government was treated as an outsider and the real outsider in a fawning fashion. The Taliban has not changed, and it needs to be defeated on the battlefield in the manner it was by the US-Northern Alliance in 2001. This can happen again, dismaying Beijing and Rawalpindi, but winning the gratitude of the people of Afghanistan, who do not wish for the dark days of 1996-2001 to get repeated. The security of Afghanistan is vital for the security of the entire world, and it is time President Biden woke up from his Trumpian fantasies and understood and acted on this.