Tag: Joe Biden

Biden’s ‘Buy America’ policy affects US trade ties, Beijing hints at the possibility of new Cold War
Asia Pacific Focus

Biden’s ‘Buy America’ policy affects US trade ties, Beijing hints at the possibility of new Cold War

On Monday, US president Joe Biden signed a new executive order to focus on enhancing the US manufacturing and industrial sector. The Democratic president signed the executive order to promote the country’s long-standing ‘buy America’ policy. Biden used it to eliminate legal loopholes that limit the federal agencies in providing a favorable push to “Made in America” products. Biden’s order stands in line with his predecessor Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ policy.

While emphasizing about the existing ‘Buy American Act of 1933’, Biden said that the new order would make federal agencies to prioritize buying goods produced on US soil, but “these preferences have not always been implemented consistently or effectively”.

An official from the Biden administration said, “The dollars the federal government spends… are a powerful tool to support American workers and manufacturers. Contracting alone accounts for nearly $600 billion in federal spending.”

“I don’t buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past,” Biden told reporters before signing the order. “American manufacturing was the arsenal of democracy in World War II and it must be part of the engine of American prosperity now.” But Biden’s vision for American domestic industry sparked conflict with one of its biggest trade rival, China.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping called out against Biden’s protectionist policies and warned against the emergence of a new ‘cold war’, if the trend continues. Speaking at the World Economic Forum event, Xi said that nations should adopt a multilateral approach to combat the ongoing economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of promoting reverse globalization, and favoring “decoupling and seclusion”.

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Though Xi avoided directly mentioning US or Biden’s executive order his words made it clear that his nation would not adhere to the dictates of the new administration in Washington. “To build small circles or start a new cold war, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to wilfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement will only push the world into division and even confrontation” Xi said.

Xi added, “No global problem can be solved by any one country alone. There must be global action, global response, and global cooperation.” Besides, the Chinese President proposed the creation of an open world economy, which would “uphold the multilateral trading regime, discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and takedown barriers to trade, investment, and technological exchanges.”

The Chinese leader also condemned the bully behavior employed by one nation to take advantage of others, hinting at US formidable purchasing power. He said, “State-to-state relations should be coordinated and regulated through proper institutions and rules. The strong should not bully the weak. Decisions should not be made by simply showing off strong muscles or waving a big fist”.

Taiwan’s Hsiao Bi-Khim attends Biden’s inauguration, signaling towards building strong ties with the US
Asia Pacific Focus

Taiwan’s Hsiao Bi-Khim attends Biden’s inauguration, signaling towards building strong ties with the US

Taiwan was given the U.S. official initiation on Wednesday (Jan. 20) for the first time since President Jimmy Carter cut off political ties with Taiwan in 1979. Taiwan’s envoy to the United States Hsiao Bi-Khim attended President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony at the Capitol Hill.

At 11 a.m., just ere Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, Hsiao posted a tweet in which she expressed it was an honor to represent Taiwan at President Biden and Vice President Harris‘s inaugural ceremony. 

She also uploaded a video on her official Twitter handle expressing, “I’m extremely honored to be here today on behalf of the government of Taiwan”. She added that “Democracy is our common language and freedom is our common goal. I am looking forward to working with the Biden Administration and improving our common values and interests.”

The preventive protocols enforced amid the Wuhan Covid pandemic may have helped Hsiao’s historic participation. This year, administrators were not given countless invites, rather were just allowed to bring their spouse or family and friend. 

At first, it seemed that Taiwan would not have a presence, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stating that it would be hard for the nation to be represented this year due to the strict limitations put on participation. 

However, on Wednesday, MOFA gave a public statement expressing that Hsiao has accepted an official invitation from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and represents the Taiwanese government in Washington DC.

The Taiwanese Ministry acknowledged that this was the first time that a Taiwanese delegate had been officially having received an invite. The event shows a solid and friendly relation between Taiwan and the US which is based on shared common values.

Taiwan government promised that in the future, the administration will continue to strengthen economic and bilateral ties at all levels and in various sectors with the new US administration “on the current solid foundation, and will further work on deepening the Taiwan-US partnership.”

Biden Promise Shows Shift Towards Quick Economic Recovery Road
Americas

Biden Promise Shows Shift Towards Quick Economic Recovery Road

As Joe Biden was sworn in as the new American dream for a better tomorrow, discussions around his stimulus package are already doing rounds in the political circuit. 

The bottom line drawn is that the seriousness and vow of delivery will entirely depend on the effectiveness of his stimulus package.  According to a former economic advisor to Obama, Biden indeed has a tough task at hand as he is “inheriting among the worst crises a president has stepped into.”

An old saying goes that ‘the first 100 days tests the effectiveness of someone’s leadership’. Indeed, Biden will have all the opportunity to test his from the beginning.  He would need to move in lightening speed, to repair damage and create some immediate buttressing of the fractured economy. Critics feel he has the right experience having worked under Obama as Vice President. 

Reversing the damage course, as soon as he was sworn, he quickly signed off 17 executive orders. They included extending a pause on student loan payments, renewing an eviction moratorium, and rejoining the Paris climate accords.

There is hope when Biden makes announcements about collective strength and desire to bring together the bipartisanship and unite Americans after almost four years of divided chaos under Donald Trump.  According to economists, there is a need for robust input of finances to help the economy to get back on its feet. 

Biden has already introduced a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan last week building on an earlier federal rescue package. The plan includes relief provisions like enhanced unemployment insurance through September, aid to state and local governments, vaccine funds, and new stimulus checks.

Biden has also said he would unveil a second major plan during a joint session of Congress next month to unleash new federal investments into infrastructure, childcare and manufacturing.

Currently, the infection numbers in America have out past those even killed in the World War II, amounting to 4.5 million. Around 10 million less Americans have jobs due to the ongoing corona virus strain on the economy. Much of the economic burden has fallen squarely on women and minority communities, who have suffered larger job losses. Last week, employers have said to have shed 140,000 jobs, not making things any further pleasant that they already are. 

Trump in his final farewell: “It’s been an honor and we will be back In some form”
Americas

Trump in his final farewell: “It’s been an honor and we will be back In some form”

On Wednesday, 8:15 a.m. Donald Trump and left the White House for the final time as president. He landed at the Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where hundreds of supporters greeted Trump. He addressed the crowd on his final departure ceremony as the 45th president of the United States. 

Trump was the first president in the history of the United States to be impeached twice, with a term that witnessing millions of citizens unemployed and 400,000 dead due to the coronavirus pandemic. Inciting an assault on Capitol Hill that stunned Americans, and left five dead, including a Capitol Police official.

As per the Associated Press, Trump stated, “it’s been a great privilege, a truly incredible honor to serve the greatest people in the world, the best home in the world,” before he headed for Marine One, rotors whirring, on South Lawn.

“We love the American public, and once more, it has been something exceptionally special. What’s more, I simply need to bid farewell yet hope it’s not a long goodbye. We’ll see each other soon,” he added 

Trump will be the first president in modern history to boycott President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony. He also wouldn’t partake in any of the representative symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions and the peaceful transition, including welcoming the Bidens over a get-to-know-you visit. 

Trump stated while addressing a small crowd at Andrews base, “This has been remarkable four years.” “We’ve achieved such a lot together,” “I will consistently battle for you, and we will be back in some form or other.” 

Bidding a final goodbye, Donald Trump and Melania Trump boarded the Air Force One and took off for the two-hour trip to Florida as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played on the tarmac.

With ‘tyrant’ Trump’s exit and Biden bringing hopes of Obama-era return, are Iran’s nuclear facilities safe from attack?
Middle East & Africa

With ‘tyrant’ Trump’s exit and Biden bringing hopes of Obama-era return, are Iran’s nuclear facilities safe from attack?

With the exit of ‘tyrant’ Trump, as called by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Tehran is taking a big but careful sigh of relief. Rouhani has called on the incoming president of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to return to JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear deal formulated under former US President Barack Obama. 

In a televised cabinet meeting aired on Wednesday, Rouhani said, “the ball was in the US court now.” 

Rouhani added, “If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact. A tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign.”  

The outlook of Trump towards Tehran is no secret. Trump withdrew US from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) on May 8, 2018. This was followed by series of sanctions slapped on Tehran, crippling it economically. In fact, many in the Gulf region anticipated that Donald Trump might act on his earlier plan of launching military strike on Iran’s nuclear plants, during the last days of his presidency. At one point in November, Trump was reportedly talked out by his advisers from launching a military strike on Iran to create “maximum pressure”

But incoming president Joe Biden has made his intensions of rejoining the nuclear deal pretty clear, provided Tehran assures of complete compliance and following of the deal pacts. This would mean reversal of sanctions and economic support to Tehran. 

But does this mean that now Iran’s nuclear facilities are safe from any attack? Definitely no! 

Iran is concerned over its ambitious plans of creating ballistic missiles arsenal as well as civilian nuclear activities. Israel, the hard-core enemy of the Islamic Republic, sees Iran’s nuclear programme a threat to its existence and has repeatedly urged global leaders to take action against Tehran. In response, Iran has maintained that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. But its recent uranium enrichment boost has set up red flags. 

Iran is a tough target to track – geographically, accessibility, and strategic location of its nuclear plants. It is a high possibility that over the years Iran has made its underground nuclear facilities practically impenetrable. But experts suggest that its not impossible. 

An expert on arms control, and associate fellow at International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Mark Fitzpatrick says, “Iran’s facilities are not impregnable. The one at Natanz is vulnerable to precise bunker-busting bombing, maybe taking two precise hits: one to dig a crater and the other to burst through it or at least to shake the delicate machines enough to put them out of commission.”

Assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, godfather of Iran’s nuclear programme, by US, is enough to dent ego and development of its nuclear programme. Furthermore, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency has been active in Iran and has been carrying out operations to impact and neutralize its nuclear programme. 

As long as Iran is under suspicion of carrying out secret development of nuclear warheads, there will always be a possibility of it being under attack. 

Tehran urges UN Watchdogs Not to Write Redundant Nuclear Details
Middle East & Africa

Tehran urges UN Watchdogs Not to Write Redundant Nuclear Details

Tehran urges UN: On Sunday, Iran asked the United Nations’ atomic watchdog to abstain from writing redundant details on Tehran’s atomic program, a day after France, Germany, and Britain declared that Tehran has “no tenable civilian use” for its advancement of uranium, the state TV reported. 

The report cited that Iran’s atomic department had requested the International Atomic Energy Agency to try not to give away details on Iran’s atomic program that may confuse the global community.

It is vital that the global nuclear energy agency abstains from giving out pointless details and forestall misunderstanding in the population, the statement added. 

On Saturday, Germany, France, and Britain pushed Iran to ease off its programs to produce uranium metal, pronouncing it “the most recent planned infringement” of the 2015 atomic agreement with international leaders. 

On Thursday, the IAEA stated that Iran had informed them about installing machines for the manufacturing of uranium metal. Tehran maintains its arrangements to direct innovative work on the uranium metal program to continue research and development on uranium metal making as a part of its plans to design an enhanced type of fuel.

The statement added that the uranium metal is a common product in the production of uranium silicide, a fuel utilized in atomic reactors that is more secure and has more power than uranium oxide-based fuel, which Iran is producing. 

Iran’s FM Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday discarded the allegations by France that Tehran was currently developing its atomic weapons, calling it an absurdity. French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that Iran was developing its atomic weapons and it was dire that Tehran and Washington rethink the 2015 atomic deal, Journal du Dimanche published in an interview on Saturday.

Zarif censured France, Germany, and Britain for failing to fortify the agreement since 2018 when the Trump administration withdrew from the atomic deal and began imposing economic sanctions on Iran.

However, the U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has ensured that if Iran strictly adheres to the rules of the agreement, then the US will think about returning to the atomic deal.

US-Canada initiate work towards policy alignment as Biden takes over US Presidency
Americas

US-Canada initiate work towards policy alignment as Biden takes over US Presidency

US-Canada initiate work: One of the closest allies in the American history, have initiated policy alignment discussions to prepare groundwork for the new presidential era. Joe Biden would be officially succeeding Donald Trump as the US next president on January 20. Interestingly, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was among the first few leaders who acknowledged Biden’s election win and congratulated him for the same. 

“It’s very much a tradition that the Canadian prime minister and the U.S. president meet very quickly to be able to talk about all the tremendous things that we can do together,” Trudeau said in an interview to Reuters on Thursday

The Canadian leader has been looking forward to the beginning of new era in the US political history with the end of Trump’s reign, who following his Canada visit in 2018 called Trudeau as “very dishonest and weak”. 

On the contrary, the Liberal Canadian Premier shared close ties with former Democratic President Barack Obama. In December 2016, after Trump’s election win, Biden, Obama’s vice-president, passed the progressive torch to Trudeau on a visit to Ottawa.

“The world’s going to spend a lot of time looking to you, Mr. Prime Minister, as we see more and more challenges to the liberal international order than any time since the end of World War Two,” Biden said.

It would be a golden period for US-Canada ties as Biden and Trudeau share common vision on various issues. Though the biggest hurdle between the two would be around Biden’s economic policy which is focused around “buy America” policy.

“I do think that he’s been pretty clear around some of the aspects of his economic policy that are a little more protectionist than we would want to see,” Ambassador Kirsten Hillman told Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

During his campaign, Biden committed to launch a $400 billion investment to promote US-made goods and said “when we spend taxpayer money, we should buy American products”.

Biden’s economic policy could be a bone of contention with one of the US largest trading partner, as Canadian economy is highly dependent on Washington, which imports about 75% of all Canadian goods exports.

“We are both focusing on, first and foremost, combating COVID, ensuring the safety and health of our citizens, respecting science…There’s a lot of alignment on climate policy…So, I mean, the list is long of policy coordination,” Hillman said.

Hillman added that both the leaders, share great camaraderie and common understanding over various issues. “So that is definitely going to be an asset”.

Biden announces ‘American Rescue Plan’ to heal ailing economy and the pandemic crisis
Americas

Biden announces ‘American Rescue Plan’ to heal ailing economy and the pandemic crisis

American Rescue Plan: On Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden announces a $1.9 trillion Covid plan called the ‘American Rescue Plan’ to help fight the profound human crisis by accelerating immunizations and siphoning out monetary assistance to those battling with the pandemic’s financial aftermath. 

The president-elect praised Congress for passing the $900 billion package in Dec 2020 and he stressed that more action is required promptly to help fight the ailing economy.

The American Rescue Plan legislative proposal would meet Biden’s objective of managing 100 million immunizations by the 100th day and advance his goals of resuming most schools by the spring. It will also help balance the economy and aid the coronavirus crisis.

Biden proposed a $1,400 stimulus for Americans, which on top of $600 gave in the latest COVID-19 bill would carry the all out to the $2,000 that Biden has called for. It would likewise boost unemployment benefits and a moratorium on removals and foreclosures through Sept.

The U.S. administration has approved two different vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and Moderna vaccine for emergency use. Both require a two-shot. Up until now, over 10 million individuals have got the first shot. 

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer stated that passing a coronavirus relief bill would be the main goal when Democrats take control of the Senate. 

More than 385,000 people have passed away due to coronavirus in the U.S. On Thursday, the weekly unemployment claims jumped to 965,000, a signal that rising infections are forcing businesses to lay off workers.

Under Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package will include $415 billion to zero in on battling the pandemic, over $1 trillion in direct stimulus to families, and $440 billion to aid business amid the growing economic crisis.

The plan incorporates funding for $1,400 in additional stimulus checks to Americans who are fit for them, adding to $600 checks previously passed in Dec; and an increase in additional weekly unemployment aid from $300 to $400, The Hill detailed. 

On Thursday evening, Biden announced that he is anticipating to work with Congress and act on the legislative promptly, calling for unity as the nation facing the double whammy of the coronavirus and economic crisis.

EU urges Iran to reverse its decision on uranium enrichment
Middle East & Africa

EU urges Iran to reverse its decision on uranium enrichment

Uranium Enrichment: ran should reverse its decision to enrich uranium up to 20% if it wishes to save the 2015 atomic agreement, the EU said on Monday. EU showed concern about reports from the U.N. atomic watchdog that Iran had continued enriching uranium and it would keep attempting to recover the global atomic deals that limited such activities. 

Addressing columnists in Brussels, EU representative Peter Stano stated that Iran’s activities “will have genuine ramifications with regards to atomic restraint.” 

Iran as of late educated the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding its arrangements to expand enhancement to 20 percent, levels unheard of since the atomic arrangement was struck. Whereas, Under the current atomic deal, Iran is permitted to enrich up to 3.67% of uranium.

In 2018, President Trump declared that the United States was unilaterally pulling out from the JCPOA agreement and has reimposed many economic sanctions on Iran.

Critics state that this move by Iran on uranium enrichment might be an endeavor to give it influence in future dealings. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that the move was “completely reversible” if other accomplices in the deal went along as well, without explaining. 

The US President-elect Joe Biden has stated that he hopes to restore the nuclear deal, Borrell and other nations would welcome such a step. 

“At this difficult situation, Iran’s activity additionally risks subverting endeavors pointed toward expanding upon the current diplomatic means. We ask Iran to shun further acceleration and rethink this policy immediately,” Borrell stated in his assertion, delivered late Monday. 

Despite Iran’s breach of the nuclear deal, the IAEA has announced that Tehran proceeds with giving auditors full access to its atomic sites — an important reason the signatories suppose it is worth preserving.

US Secretary of State planning to announce new Iran-Al Qaeda ties
Middle East & Africa

US Secretary of State planning to announce new Iran-Al Qaeda ties

Iran-Al Qaeda ties: The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is planning to publicly blame Iran for its ties with Al-Qaeda in Tuesday’s speech, as per The Reuters.

Pompeo plans to utilize the declassified US intelligence in the statement, The Reuters reported, referring to “two people acquainted with the issue.” He is expected to reveal details on Iran purportedly shielding Al-Qaeda leaders and supporting the terror organization, the report stated. 

During the National Press Club meeting in Washington on Tuesday, Mike Pompeo is expected to make some allegations in his speech. Pompeo has blamed Iran for its ties with the Al-Qaeda before, however, without providing any proof. 

There are a few doubts about openly examining the data among legislators and the intelligence community, the report added. 

The announcement might probably complicate the situation of President-elect Joe Biden’s objective of reconnecting with Tehran over the nuclear deal. 

The White House has attempted a year-long campaign against Iran by withdrawing from the 2015 atomic deal, imposing heavy sanctions, and assassinating the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. 

Pompeo’s speech could include information on the killing of Al-Qaeda’s second in command in Tehran in Aug 2020, stated by Israel. 

The New York Times revealed in Nov 2020 that an Israeli agent completed the attack on Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah in the direction of the US. Abdullah was charged for being one of the main conspirators of decimating assaults on two US consulates in Africa in 1998 and a 2002 assault on an Israeli-owned inn in Kenya.

Iran has completely denied the allegations and accused Israel of killing its top atomic researcher, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

It’s vague why Iran would shelter al-Qaeda members. Iran is a Shiite state and has battled with Al-Qaeda, a Sunni jihadist group. Experts revealed to The New York Times that Iran may have sheltered members of Al-Qaeda to forestall assaults in Iran or to permit them to lead operations against America. 

Joe Biden has stated that if Iran recognizes the terms and conditions of the nuclear deal, then we would think of rejoining the nuclear deal. However, Iran has welcomed America’s stand, but only after they remove the imposed economic sanctions.

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