By Carlton Joseph.
America’s Democracy is in serious trouble as Republican lawmakers in Congress question the veracity of the results of the 2020 presidential election. Interestingly, the results of the state governorships and congressmen and local representatives are not challenged- just the election of President Joe Biden. Amazingly, 55 per cent of Republicans believe that Trump’s 2020 election loss resulted from illegal voting or election rigging, even after numerous failed court challenges right up to the Supreme Court.
What is more disturbing is that in a backlash to 2020’s historic voter turnout, and under the pretense of responding to baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities, state lawmakers have introduced a significant number of bills to constrict the vote. To date, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states,. Twenty-nine have passed at least one chamber, while another 26 have had some sort of committee action. Republicans have decided that America needs to return to the Jim Crow era.
Dysfunction in Congress, even in a pandemic, is the new normal. As for Biden’s infrastructure and job packages, Senator Mitch McConnell stated that: “one hundred per cent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.,” clearly indicating that Republicans are not interested in working toward common goals, or in moving the country forward,Their personal interests are paramount.
Let’s look at how this dysfunction might affect Biden’s goal to retain Americas global economic dominance and reclaim its political dominance. Biden’s recent climate summit reasserted America’s climate leadership role. He requested $1.2 billion for the Green Climate Fund that’s designed to help developing countries and promised to repair America’s damaged relationship with the rest of the world. A laudable policy goal but he needs Congress to pass his infrastructure plan to implement it. Unfortunately. Republicans are against it and two Democrat Dixiecrats think his vision is too expansive.
In a bold move, the Biden Administration decided to support the waiving of intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, in defiance of objections from the European Union (EU) and Britain as well as pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The Wall Street Journal declared that this decision may be the single worst presidential economic decision since Nixon’s wage-and-price controls. It claimed that he has destroyed tens of billions of dollars in U.S. intellectual property, set a destructive precedent that will reduce pharmaceutical investment, and surrendered America’s advantage in biotech, a key growth industry of the future and that he has thrown away America’s triumph of innovation and a great soft-power opportunity.
It is amazing how “greedy” capitalists think. Millions of people are dying is “collateral damage” but billions of dollars in profits are their only concern. Profit over people is their mantra. These capitalists might still get their way since support from the White House is not a guarantee that a waiver will be adopted because changes to international intellectual property rules require unanimous agreement.
In another major development, foreign ministers of the G7 nations met in London, and agreed to spend a trillion dollars over the next decade to put the world on a path to sustainable growth. They agreed to pursue the following goals simultaneously: Shift from brown to green energy, the protection and restoration of nature, reducing social inequality, and facilitating the rollout of vaccines in developing nations. Importantly, they agreed that the disclosure by corporations of exposure to climate risk should become mandatory.
From the policy goals agreed upon ,it is obvious that the US has reasserted its leadership role in this organization. Will this show of solidarity move Republicans to work with Democrats to approve Biden’s infrastructure plan? Will Republicans agree to the rapid phase out of fossil fuel subsidies totaling hundreds of billions of dollars per year; ramping up the price companies pay for carbon pollution; and building climate resilience and environmental protection into all development policies?
If Biden’s infrastructure plan is not approved, will America be able to keep its leadership role in the G7? Countering China’s global influence was the main focus of the G7 deliberations, with both countries accusing each other of escalating tensions in the South China Seas. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has accused China of acting in adversarial ways and China claimed that the US has increased the activites of military planes by 40 per cent and military ships by 20 per cent.
Blinken acknowledged that China has the military, economic and diplomatic capacity to undermine or challenge the rules-based order that America cared so much about. He emphasized that America’s “purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down.. It is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to.” He also accused Russia of fuelling global disorder, indicating that “anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and defend it.” I am concerned that America might be considering using its military superiority and risk nuclear war to maintain its global dominance.
North Americans must be wary of such pronouncements and posturing., More important, we need to put things in context. Currently, China is surrounded by approximately 55 to 60 U.S. military bases coming down, from Japan to South Korea to Guam to the Philippines. The Pentagon admits that China’s posture is strategic defense, whereas the US has an offensive rapid forward deployment posture to ensure that this area remains a free zone for its ships. Unfortunately, Biden has quietly adopted Trump’s anti-China policy.
Regardless of the strategic moves the Biden administration makes I am concerned that nothing will be accomplished in this Congress. America’s infrastructure was built decades ago, and economists say that delays and rising maintenance costs are holding economic performance back. Civil engineers raise safety concerns as well, warning that many bridges are structurally deficient and that antiquated drinking water and wastewater systems pose risks to public health.
Democrats have been trying to pass an infrastructure plans since 2008 but Republicans did not support it. They tried again during the Trump administration but it rejected it and built a wall on the southern border.Republicans’ rhetoric of lying and trying to manipulate Americans to keep political power is dangerous. It led to all the death threats that secretaries of state and election officials received in 2020 and finally to the insurrection.
Unfortunately, the Republican party has morphed into a fascist party, focused on tax cuts for the rich and unadulterated self-interest and, marginalizing people of color, through implementation of voter suppression laws. The Democratic party has evolved and now embraces diversity, concern for the climate, healthcare and the welfare of the country.
If Republicans refuse to modernize the country’s infrastructure and embrace the new green technologies, America will become a shithole country. History tells us that empires collapse because of succession problems, military overreach, corruption or political incompetence.
This empire is set to collapse because the racists forces that created it are the same forces that will destroy it. The white supremacy doctrine that is being adopted by the Republican party will fracture the country and lead to fascism or civil war.
Yes, possibly civil war , because people of color are not going to be subjected to abuse in the 21st century. Slavery, Jim Crow and whatever neo-suppression vehicle is created will not be deployed; the country is not going back to the old days.
( Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph whio lives in Washington DC, is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)