Arbitrariness over in US
In a few weeks, the world will usher into a new period. For some time there still will be Donald Trump at the White House, but he will be a lame-duck president, as the Americans say since Joe Biden is now the president-elect. Of course, he was elected only as the president of the United States but if not de jure, is it not a fact that de facto, as the president of the last imperial state, he will be having powers and capabilities that will have an impact on the lives of almost everyone in every corner of the world?
Well, Biden might not perhaps tweet anything like Trump did. I would not think he could use derogatory language like what Trump used in a tweet on the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson. Probably Biden would not boast publicly about his “unmatched wisdom” nor an ability “I say it and he does it” to dictate on other world leaders.
What is clear is, however, not only the White House, the American administration will make a return to legitimacy, superiority of norms, values, and the institutions; democratic governance, which was pushed to a great extent aside by a nepotist and autocratic Trump presidency. Hopefully, the unaccustomed prominence of the “family” over the state organs and the bureaucracy will come to an abrupt end with Jared Kushner-type personalities pushed aside and replaced with career diplomats, bureaucrats with an awareness of state responsibility, continuity in governance, and of course, with luggage to serve only to the American people.
This new era might bring more problems to many of the present-day allies of Washington, while some perennial allies and strategic partners may find an opportunity to patch up Trump-disrupted relations. The NATO alliance, United Nations, World Health Organization, UNESCO, among the others where a nepotist Trump was so critical might make a comeback as major international partners of a Biden presidency. Indeed Biden already declared as his first act in office would be a return to the Paris Climate Action. Unfortunately, after almost two years of bickering, the Paris Climate Action was the latest international collaboration that Trump entirely withdrew. Why? To serve the American industry or to demonstrate his strong nepotist hitch?
Naturally, a Biden presidency might be problematic for some countries, including Turkey, as well. Particularly, if we remember that he was one of the five sponsors of the American arms embargo bill on Turkey, his alleged good web of relations with anti-Turkish lobbyists in American politics, expressed support for Greek and Greek Cypriot positions, and his family connections to an American company involved in Cyprus hydrocarbon exploration are all potential icebergs. Probably far more important than all might be the dedication of Biden, as well as vice president-elect Kamala Harris on freedom of expression, media freedom, gender equality, LGBT rights and rights of the minority groups will play a role in foreign relations, and naturally in relations with Turkey.
Tomorrow, most likely, with claims of pro-Greek Cypriot or pro-YPG policies pursued by the Biden presidency, we may end up in a new crisis in Turkish-American ties. Worse might come under the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the U.S. Congress envisions legislating by mid-December. The NDAA includes sanctions against Turkey, which bought and tested S-400s from Russia. The NDAA is likely to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress. In this case, Trump cannot veto the legislation, and the issue could be the first threat that could poison the Biden era. This issue will be very important in terms of showing how Turkish-American relations will be shaped in the new era. The NDAA involves a budget of about $740 billion, includes vital items such as the U.S. Department of Defense’s planning for 2021, the procurements and spending of necessary military equipment for the U.S. military, and the realization of strategic positioning of troops spread around the world. Section 1292 of the bill calls for sanctions against Turkey, which has purchased S-400 air defense system from Russia. The section, which was added to the 2021 Defense Act at the initiative of Republican and Democratic members of Congress, covers its implementation against Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which came into force in August 2017 with the approval of President Trump and that includes sanctions on Turkey.