America is all set for its upcoming presidential election scheduled on November 3. Donald Trump and Joe Biden emerge as the lead candidate from National Convention held by the Republican and the Democratic party respectively.
The US election is through indirect method wherein people vote for the electoral college consisting of members of the house of representatives and house of senates which in turn elect the President and the Vice President.
Why is US Presidential election important?
It is no mystery that the President of the United States has a considerable impact on global relations and diplomacy. America is one of the economically strong nation dictating most aspect of Globalisation. Thus, every country with bilateral or multilateral relations to America is watching out for the presidential elections.
The USA is dominated by the two-Party system, unlike India, which functions on a multi-party arrangement. The two major parties are Republican and Democratic.
The Republicans follow the conservative policy of strengthening the nations from within, with recent policies of restrictions over immigrants, support for lower taxes, gun rights, pro-capitalism. The Incumbent President is contesting from Republican with his running mate Mike Pence.
The Democrats, on the other hands, are considered to be liberals. Their ideologies often include civil rights, immigration & multiculturalism, climate change, egalitarianism, to name a few. Joe Biden, often called as Barak Obama’s right hand is the candidate of Democrats with Kamala Harris, his running mate. Notably, she is announced as the first Indian origin nominee by Democrats for Vice Presidential post.
Trump administration: setbacks in successes
In the American Presidential system, a president can have two terms; hence Donald Trump become eligible to be a candidate. Trump administration began after Republicans big win in 2016 on the lines “America for Americans” or “America First” thereby mobilizing on account of identity or nationalism. However, his administration faced many backlashes; they are:
- Corporate Tax Reforms: In his tenure, the parliament passed the historic corporate tax that reduced taxation from 35 per cent to 21 per cent. However, critics called it a way to feed the corporates at the expense of the middle class.
- Paris Peace Treaty: The departure of the US from the Paris Climate Accord is an achievement for its economic disadvantages to the coal industry. However, if developed countries stopped adhering the climate accords, it will inspire other nations to opt-out and run the economy on the cost of the environment.
- Immigration: On Immigration reforms, he issued an order banning travel from seven majority-Muslim countries to the USA. He planned to reduce the number of refugees in the country. However, Federal court intervened after which, fewer immigrant visas are allotted with several restrictions.
Concerning Trump wall, he campaigned “to make bigger walls on Mexican borders and make them pay for it.” However, the claim is not a reality yet as the project is in its premature status. He requested the parliament to restrict all immigrants from receiving welfare on the failure presenting of documentation. His draconian defiance towards immigrants has increased violence and hatred against them. Democrats have ridiculed these policies and have questioned over the security of multicultural people in America.
- Coronavirus Pandemic: America, having one of the best healthcare, is currently the biggest hit and hub of COVID-19 pandemic. Oppositions blame Trump for not handling the situation well. Initially, Trump himself refused to acknowledge the existence of the virus, which eventually lead to 7.06 million cases and more than 2 lakh deaths. The effects of the pandemic will play a key critic in the election.
Another uproar within the pandemic was George Floyd protest. He was a black hip hop artist who was killed by a white police officer. This led to “Black Lives Matter” protest in America, and soon the world joined in. The cold reaction from Trump and his government over the same will have a consequence from Black votes.
Joe Biden’s Promises: Reverse the Trump Card
“I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” said Biden in Democratic National Convention. An active member of the American politics since the 1970s, a moderate leader on his ideological stance, the democratic party nominee, Biden wants to undo the Trump-Tyranny of 4 years.
His promises include better handling of the pandemic by providing free test and hiring 1 lakh people to set up national virus tracing programme. The leaders of congress often seen violating pandemic guidelines; he would inculcate stringent rules. By using the Defence Production Act, Biden will increase the development of medical supplies to meet the high demand.
With reversing the Trump card, Biden wants America back into global cooperation and summits. As a Democratic leader, he would seek a re-entry in the climate accords and invest more in green technology. He believes that “The future of America shouldn’t suffer because of the present condition of America.”
Another important promise of Biden is focusing on free education for colleges and universities, as they are tediously expensive in America. He seeks for more robust health care insurance coverage by cutting down on military expenditure which was increased by threefold in Trump government.
The ongoing trade war between US-China has affected the world. India roots for a president best for the American nation and Indian relations. The Trump-Modi duo saw a surge in bilateral matters of health care, technology, manufacturing, military and others.
American-Indian standpoint could reduce Chinese influence on the global economy. Biden- Harris pair has been supportive of Indian trade-commerce. However, if elected, we may see a concern over Kashmir as Kamala Harris has been outspoken on the human rights issue of J&K.
The national polls by several media see a tough tussle between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Nonetheless, popular polls don’t matter as it is the electoral college which decides the President. With the recent death of Ruth Ginsburg, a harsh critic of Trump government, one has to wait and watch for America’s fate.
Escalation Of COVID-19 Cases Across The Globe
The United States, India, and Brazil have the most confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. There are very few locations that have remained undisturbed.
Since the middle of last year, confirmed cases have been increasing. Although the actual scope of the first outbreaks in 2020 is unknown because testing was not generally available at the time. The 100 million COVID-19 cases were discovered at the end of January, over a year after it was first diagnosed. As of 6:30 p.m. CEST on July 30, 2021, WHO has received reports of 196,553,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,200,412 fatalities. A total of 3,839,816,037 vaccination doses has been delivered as of July 28, 2021.
After reaching a record high of over 0.9 million cases on April 28, 2021, new daily instances of the coronavirus continued to decline, reaching a low point on June 21, when over 0.3 million cases were reported. Since then yet, there has been a global increase in cases. On July 15, 0.53 million daily cases were reported, and over three million new cases were reported in the second week of the month. As of July 15, 188.9 million patients have been recorded worldwide. The transmissive Delta form accounting for most infections in 111 countries. Most instances were recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Colombia in the last week. With the steepest increases in Zimbabwe (72%), Indonesia (44%), the United States (38%), Bangladesh (35%), and the United Kingdom (30%). Many Asian nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, have reported many daily cases. However, the spread was under control.
The number of new cases in Indonesia has been on the rise, with each day seeing a significant increase over the previous day. Indonesia is now the new Asian epicentre, with 56,757 cases recorded on July 15; India reported 39,000 patients on the same day. COVID-19 fatalities are high, according to WHO. After decreasing for nine weeks, with the highest increases in Africa and Southeast Asia. COVID-19 fatalities worldwide surpassed four million on July 7. The last million deaths occurred in under 90 days, the lowest time interval for every one million deaths ever recorded.
High vaccination coverage has been shown in the United States and much of Europe to lower fatalities and even hospitalizations. For example, United Kingdom rises in incidence. There has been fewer hospitalizations and deaths over 87% of the adult population, as they are vaccinated with one dose and over 67% with two doses. In the United States, the increase in cases is concentrated in states with low vaccination coverage, with unvaccinated people accounting for most deaths. Over 55% of Americans have received one dosage, and 48% are completely immunized. It shifts the focus back to improving vaccination coverage and achieving global vaccine equality to avoid fatalities and the spread of dangerous strains. Some nations debate a booster dosage. Even though many African countries’ healthcare professionals have not been completely vaccinated, booster injections have begun to be given to patients with weakened immune systems in Israel.
In comparison, booster shots have been ruled out in the United States for the time being. With vaccine shortages reported in many Indian states. Even among the vaccinated, rigorous adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour is the only option to postpone and mitigate the consequences of a third wave.
This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. But the global numbers continue to grow. The Delta variety leads them to well-vaccinated regions such as Western Europe and the United States, low but rising infections. This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. Vaccine doses have been given to over 4 billion individuals globally (52 for every 100 people), yet the discrepancy is striking. More than 80% of the population had at least one shot in some wealthy nations. In contrast, the proportion is as low as 1% in many of the poorest.
Why Taliban Could Not Control Panjshir Valley In Afghanistan Yet?
Taliban took over Afghanistan last week, and Panjshir valley in the north is the last hope for the people of Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban.
As it was 25 years ago, there is still a part of Afghanistan that tries to oppose the Taliban; it is the Panjshir valley. The villages that rebelled against the Soviets and Taliban’s, it is now that they’re fighting against the spread of the Islamic Emirate.
Valley Of the Five Lions, also known as Panjshir Valley, is in Northern Afghanistan, 150 kilometers north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. Due to its location in the Hindu Kush Mountain range, the Panjshir Valley is only accessible through the narrow Panjshir River; this makes it easy for forces defending. Panjshir is also famously known for emeralds. It has been the base of operations for the Taliban since the 1990s. Since it was never under their control, the area has become a key target for the US-led forces.
Around 150,000 people live in the valley, and the majority are Pashtuns. The valley’s ethnic majority is Tajik. The area’s history has made it the base of operations for the Taliban. Panjshir has never been captured by the Taliban during their earlier rule, nor by the soviets. The resistance, therefore, chose to base its operations in the area due to its history.
After the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, a civil war broke out in the country. Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was the most notable anti-Taliban fighter, led a group of militants to fight against the separatists. He was eventually killed by al-Qaeda terrorists in 2001, just two days before the 9/11 attacks.
Following the father’s footsteps, Ahmad Massoud, the son of legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud, declared the start of armed resistance against the Taliban forming in the Panjshir. The Northern Alliance flag has been raised in Panjshir province, confirming the legitimacy of this movement, officially back since 2001. The National Resistance Front (NRF), based out of the Panjshir Valley, led by Ahmad Massoud and the former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, leading an anti-Taliban Movement.
The Panjshir Valley stands tall against the Taliban under the leadership of Ahmad Masood. Resistance movements have begun with the formation of the Northern Alliance. Bernard Henri Levy, the French philosopher, spoke to Ahmad Massoud on a phone call and quoted saying, “I am the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, and surrender is not part of my vocabulary.” The Resistance has just begun; this is just the beginning.
The Washington Post published an op-ed on Wednesday in which Massoud reiterated his plea for help, asking the United States to supply his military with arms and ammunition. “The United States can still be a great arsenal of democracy” by supporting his fighters, he wrote.
Since President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, Saleh has declared himself as the interim president. The Taliban has been massing its forces near Panjshir. The Salang highway has been closed. He further tweeted that the militants are avoiding any confrontations with the enemy forces.
India Takes Rein Of UNSC For August
As per procedure, India received the Presidency of the UN Security Council for August this year. The three major points that the Indian Presidency aims to focus on are maritime security, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism policies.
What is the UN Security Council?
The security council is a body of the United Nations responsible for international security and peacekeeping. The body settles disputes and identifies unwanted threats and aggressions against member States.
There are 15 Members as a part of the council. They are obligated to abide by the decisions made by the Security Council. Out of these, there are five permanent and ten non-permanent members, India being a part of the newly elected non-permanent contingent.
India is currently serving as President of the UNSC for August and is expected to do so again in 2022. They succeed France who previously presided in July this year. The order of Presidency succession is decided alphabetically. Each member gets a fair chance to preside over the peacekeeping body.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first Indian PM to chair a meeting of the UNSC.
India in UNSC
India has joined the UNSC for the eighth time as a non-permanent member, serving a term of two years. The last time India was on the council as a member was in the year 2011-12, during the Middle East Crisis.
In the August meetings this year, the primary concern is said to be that of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and mortality. India also aims to bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC and hence a high level of involvement is expected.
India plays an important role in the UNSC as it along with other members of the G-4 (Brazil, Japan, and Germany) are insisting on an expansion in permanent membership for countries. They want the permanent seats to be offered to countries other than the current five that hold the veto power, giving India a chance to display its potential at a global level.
India has previously chaired the counter-terrorism committee at the UNSC and introduced the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ for terrorism globally. They also successfully establish the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF).
This time around, India aims at improving maritime security and peacekeeping while returning to the counter-terrorism policies establish worldwide.
India’s efforts as President in August 2021
India is expected to organise three high-level meetings for the three topics that they have decided to focus on (maritime security, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism). A traditional breakfast of PRs was held by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T S Tirumurti. Along with the normal breakfast, Tirumurti put a display of Indian grains with items exquisitely prepared with those ingredients. A treat of Alphonso mangoes was also included in the breakfast. Tirumurti also presided over all meetings of the UNSC on day one.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of the UN Council virtually, while external affairs minister, Jaishankar will chair the meetings in person.
S Jaishankar expressed opinions on the opportunity to preside over the UNSC for August via his Tweet, saying that India looks forward to taking over the Presidency of the Global Organisation for the month.
As we take over UNSC Presidency for August, look forward to working productively with other members.
India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law. pic.twitter.com/kPRGnFOz87
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 1, 2021
Indian PR Tirumurti also thanked their predecessor France and announced the takeover via his Tweets while expressing his elation on the occasion.
— PR/Amb T S Tirumurti (@ambtstirumurti) August 1, 2021
India began their eighth term on January 1 this year. This non-permanent arrangement will span for two years, giving the possibility of another Presidency in late 2022. India has been grateful for its turn in chairing the UNSC and hopes to make decisions and resolutions that will be beneficial to the Indian Foreign Policy and countries around the Globe.
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