In the past week, we can’t go anywhere without listening to progress or the lack of it, on the 2020 US Election. It is open knowledge that both parties had begun to develop strategies for the Election as soon as Trump took his Presidential Oath in January 2017 if not earlier. In the four years which followed, many financial markets had been planning for a second Trump term. I suspect that China would be smiling in quiet delight if Trump was returned in the election. Early Sunday morning our time, however, news came in that Trump had lost, but predictably would not admit defeat and had vowed to continue the fight, through the courts. Typical Trump, aided and abetted by his Trumpist followers. It is pathetic. How can a world leader or any statesman behave as such? But then I quick remind myself that he would never be qualified statesman ever!
In stark contrast, Biden the reluctant statesman has come in like a breath of fresh air, pledging to be a president who seeks not to divide but to unify, reminding the nation that they are not enemies but are all Americans, and speaking with hope that America has the opportunity to defeat despair and to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. Indeed, Biden has said the right words; and the media constantly reminded us that his deputy Harris had spoken before him. I wonder how Trump would have reacted if Pence had spoken before him on similar occasions.
It is not for me or anyone to surmise whether Biden was speaking from the heart or whether he was really happy personally that he has won the election. History will decide and historians will write about it sometime, but now, it’s for the media to say what they believe they have seen or heard; and for that matter, half of the Americans who had cast their votes or over 70 million of them are still firmly of the belief that Trump should have won or indeed that Trump had won and that Biden had stolen the election. We live in a strange world indeed.
Back to reality, I have always believed that whoever wins the 2020 US Election would unlikely alter the geo-political landscape such that it won’t make any long term difference in the American foreign policy towards China or short tern trade and economic practices. Nevertheless, Biden is perceived as a more reasonable person who has been known to believe in quiet diplomacy and is likely to be more conciliatory in foreign policies if he has his ways. Already, the local chamber of commerce is hopeful that things for Hong Kong would turn for the better; and one hopes so. Biden has portrayed himself as much more human and has already announced that he would make the coronavirus pandemic his top priority and will set up a 12-person task force to deal with the issue head on immediately. The problem is, Trump is unlikely to make things easy or easier for him.
In practice, the rise of China has become unstoppable. This together with an America with dwindling economic power will force America to adopt policies calculated to contain China. This is a game for the big boys. We commoners are there to watch and to stand aside so as not to be injured or crushed by the falling debris or be caught in the crossfire.
Closer to home and to Rotary, the Rotary Action Group for Peace, Hong Kong and Macao Chapter was officially inaugurated last week, beginning with a Rotary and Peace Exhibition at the Rotunda, exchange Square in Central from 26 October to 6 November. The members called themselves peacebuilders of District 3450 and there have been active chat exchanges all the time. Let’s hope these peacebuilders would continue to bring hope to everyone in the District.