If I were Joe Biden – By Martins Agbonlahor

That Joseph Robinette Biden won a decisive electoral victory is no longer news, the consequence being that he would be sworn in as America’s 46th president this week. A man who had withered the storm in American politics, Joe, like the biblical Joseph had dared to dream – and the rest is history. As the Biden team roll out the drums and the cymbals in celebration, Mr President-Elect must not lose sight of the enormity of the task ahead – which I see as gargantuan, but not insurmountable.

Firstly, the Biden administration should do everything possible to restore hope amongst the American people, as many are visibly hopeless, emotionally destroyed and traumatised due to events they had witnessed these past four years. Trust for state’s institutions is also at its lowest ebb not to mention race relations which have been totally destroyed as a result of Donald Trump’s policies, not to mention his falsehoods, deceits and chicaneries. The coronavirus pandemic too, is another area to be looked into, as it has infected over 24,000,000 million American lives with over 400,000 deaths. This is alarming to say the least and may actually have spiralled out of control due to Trump’s lethargy and his insistence that the virus had been a ‘common flu.’ Trump’s other conspiracy theory mantras may have also encouraged people to view the virus with suspect and for that very reason, maintain a non-compliance posture. While all efforts should be geared towards tackling the virus, Biden’s $20bn Plan to initiate a mass vaccination even while he hasn’t fully assumed leadership, is a welcome development and in fact appear to corroborate our local Bini adage that ‘a child who would grow into an untiring, energetic farmer can be spotted when a bush path is being cleared.’ So, way to go, Joe!

Another area is foreign policy. And rather than heap up every imaginary sanction on Iran as is Trump’s wont, I would, if I were Biden, invite Iran to the negotiating table ensuring that their previous compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation deal reached in 2015 is resumed. It was Trump who destroyed that deal immediately he assumed power with no just or justifiable reason and with no alternative deal in place. Spurred on by Israel, Trump has developed a somewhat nightmarish perception of Iran so much so that he talks Iran, eats Iran and drinks Iran. I suspect he lifts his pillows before he sleeps to ensure Iran isn’t hiding there! In this same vein, I would, as Joe Biden, remove the over half-a-century embargo placed on Cuba. These people – the Cubans – have gone through horrendous suffering and intense pain, their rickety infrastructure and way of life destroyed by this strangulating embargo. While the lot of Cuban-American politicians and their cohorts see delight in extending this policy thinking it hurts Cuba’s communist leaders, this isn’t the case. Only the country’s poor masses feel it. Even at that, why should the younger generation of Cuba be punished for a policy executed over six decades ago undermining the fact that the country is presently opening up to the outside world? Curiously too, why is this asphyxiating embargo not extended to Communist China and even Japan which once destroyed the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbour? Why has Trump intensified further restrictions on this little Island nation while at the same time hobnobbing with North Korea’s evil communist regime, praising the country’s “rocket man” to the high heavens even in the face of that country’s frequent tests of deadly international ballistic missiles? Isn’t these double standards? As events have shown these past sixty years, Cuba’s ‘sin’ is not in embracing communism, but for daring to stand up to the goliath in the north and maintaining its sovereignty in stubbornly refusing to be one of America’s own “backyards.” This is the time the incoming US administration should rescind this policy and unscrew the suffocating screws Donald Trump and his henchmen had tightened around the necks of poor Cubans.

One could go on if only space and word count would permit, but Joe Biden should consider strengthening ties with the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) in view of the body’s genuine efforts at combating the current pandemic. Trump’s idea of pulling the US from the body with effect from July this year should be addressed forthwith to counter his spurious and unsubstantiated claim that “W.H.O is under China’s firm grip and control.” The incoming Biden’s administration should also aim towards readmitting the US into the Paris Climate Accord which Donald Trump has since rubbished. If I were Joe Biden, I would also look into the issue of the US-Mexico border wall which the out-going Donald Trump had characteristically claimed would “stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into the US.” How feasible has this construction been? The Israeli-Palestine conflict should of course be on my table, were I to be Joe Biden. Like any rational individual, I support a two-state solution as the only viable option even though Donald Trump has done everything diabolical to imperil this vision, including the introduction of his preposterous, one-sided “Deal of the Century,” meant to discredit, deflect and derail the two-state option.

My recommendations seem a tall order, but no! President-Elect, Joe Biden has a rich array of able lieutenants, tried-and-tested technocrats as well as a cream of intelligent policy makers to make things work. In this vein therefore, this writer shall be on hand again after Biden’s first hundred days in office to gauge his performance through an honest appraisal.

Agbonlahor is a journalist and author based in Manchester. His new novel: Another Poor Cow – the Dangers of Tradition in Rural Nigeria is available in all online bookstores.

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