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EDITORIAL Biden’s big-business as usual formula paves the way for a far worse Trump

DONALD TRUMP has flown off to Florida in his last trip on Airforce One. Does he contemplate spending his declining years playing golf or is he most worried about the declining value of his overleveraged assets? Or perhaps the predatory intentions of the New York District Attorney?

No-one outside of Trump’s persistently large base of supporters in the US will feel much sympathy if the the ex-president walks the perp walk in a jump suit to match his complexion, but there is a measure of anxiety in the US elite about his future plans.

Whether the US political Establishment thinks that greater political advantage is served by a war of vengeance against him or, alternatively, that the system can be tweaked to accommodate the forces catalysed by his eccentric presidency hangs in the balance.

But we should pay attention to Trump’s final words as president. As Joe Biden placed his hand on George Washington’s somewhat tattered Bible and swore to uphold the constitution of the United States, Trump spoke of his pride as being the only US president in many years not to have started a new war and that his first priority was always the interests of US workers.

There are millions of workers among his 77.3 million voters.

Trump, or his advisers, chose these words carefully because the new president is perhaps the most consistent cold warrior in the US political elite, while opposition to more wars is a bipartisan issue on which big elements of Trump’s electorate are no less keen than many who nominally stand at the other pole of US politics.

Biden’s State Department team is to be headed by Antony Blinken, who the New York Times says will try to coalesce sceptical international partners into a new competition with China.

One Jake Sullivan is in the frame for the national security adviser job to which he will bring the experience gained as Hillary Clinton’s closest strategic adviser.

On this side of the pond there are willing shills for the continuity of US foreign policy that Biden’s election signifies, and to this they add an almost comical note of sycophancy.

Of Biden himself the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland warbled: “It was tempting to look on this man — solid and seasoned — and imagine that something like normality might return.”

For people on the receiving end of Biden’s ministrations over the years, normality is the unheralded arrival of missile strikes, the destruction of their homes and settlements, the unwelcome occupation of their lands, the deaths and deformities that depleted uranium delivers and the desperate shortages of food and medicine that sanctions impose.

Time marched on in Trump’s time in office and the global balance of forces that Biden has to reckon with has changed since he last held executive office.

What little Trump managed to do — outside of his appeal to the racist right — in creating a distinctive base by raising wages, restoring jobs and tinkering with continental trade — has been swamped by the combined effects of the continuing capitalist crisis and the price of the pandemic.

China has emerged more strongly as an economic rival for global influence and in as far as Trump’s foreign policy efforts ran against received wisdom in intelligence and State Department circles, they illustrate US weaknesses as much as strength.

Biden’s administration is shaping up as a “big business as usual” outfit. If this reassertion of corporate power and imperial foreign policy passes without opposition from the left, then even more resentful and angry working-class Americans will finish up corralled in a Trumpian world yet more poisonous than the one still unreconciled to defeat.


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