When the pandemic hit a year ago, some people panicked. They flocked to stores to stock up on supplies, buying up millions of rolls of toilet paper and other household essentials. Later many regretted those decisions and suffered what psychologists and marketers call “buyer’s remorse.”
Millions of Americans made another decision last year that they may be beginning to regret; they voted for Joe Biden. After one month, there are signs of voter remorse syndrome. After the Hillybilly failed coup, the Biden administration finally took over the White House, millions of Americans enjoyed a sigh of relief, lots of hopes for a new beginning and for getting America back on track. Biden promised a major new deal on his campaign trail; the country had suffered from two pathogens: Trump and COVID-19. Biden’s major challenges are fixing the economy, getting a grip on the pandemic, following the science on climate change, and again taking a leading role on the international stage, standing up for human rights and freedom. Unfortunately, the first month of the Biden administration has been long on symbolism and short on substance. Over 40 executive orders have mainly revoked Trump’s disastrous ones. There have been a lot of firsts: lots of diverse political appointments; the first Black woman elected on a national ticket, the first Native American to lead the Interior Department, the first Black secretary of defense, the first Latino to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the first Hispanic heading White House security, the first woman heading the U.S. intelligence community.
But in America now, we need diverse ideas, not diverse people with the same ideas, Obama, our first black president had the same establishment idea, sided with wall street instead of the poor and the oppressed blacks, generated lots of voter remorse. We voted for him for major change, he was the only change.
Like many Americans, Biden was not my first choice, but we had no choice, really. The Democratic party bosses decided it is enough to change the white House, not America. We voted for him to get rid of the racist, misogynic, divisive Islamophobic Trump, who banned Muslims from coming to America. Now Biden has lifted the ban when no one wants to come to America anymore. Fixing disappointing Obamacare, raising the minimum wage, closing Guantanamo — all are still Biden’s big promises. Biden, No Trump isn’t enough, and you aren’t Obam either, American people who voted for you, won’t give you the same pass, we are watching!
Last week the Biden administration, which wanted to make human rights a cornerstone of foreign policy, published the long-awaited intelligence report that implicated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in the killing of journalists and dissident Jamal Khashoggi. However, Biden caved in and stopped short of punishing the prince, the man who ordered the killing. Business as usual, If Trump saved the M.B.S’s ass, Biden saved the prince’s neck. Biden called the ailing Saudi king to assure him of America’s special relationship with the kingdom. The Biden administration justified its decision — or no decision — with the tired old rationalizations and justifications that the U.S. has been using for decades to give the medieval monocracy a pass on human rights violations.
As the New York Times reported, the administration “concluded that it could not risk a full rupture of its relationship with the kingdom, relied on by the United States to help contain Iran, to counter terrorist groups, and to broker peaceful relations with Israel.”
The 35-year-old unstable Saudi prince will be with us for a long time — longer than Uncle Joe, for sure. Biden has started his Middle East foreign policy with an illegal bombing in Syria and the sale of $200 million in weapons to General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, of Egypt — another dictator who came to power on a tank, toppled the first civilian-elected president in Egypt, committed the biggest massacre in Egyptian modern history, has over 60,000 political prisoners, including my young nephew, and is killing and imprisoning journalists while kidnapping dissidents’ families’ members to put pressure on them to stop their activities abroad.
The paranoid general eliminates any political space for Egyptians ruling with absolute impunity, which left the space to extremism. el-Sisi still our favorite dictator. giving him billions of dollars to keep peace with Israel while waging a war on his own people. As was reported in the Washington Post “The Biden administration is struggling to reconcile two inescapable truths about Egypt: It’s an important friend and ally of the United States. And it has a repressive government that violates basic human rights.” However, Biden is now allowing another murderer, MBS, off the hook. The crown prince is waging a devastating war against impoverished Yemen, killing thousands, starving millions. MBS has been supporting and bankrolling Arab dictators’ wars against their people. America has been kissing so many Saudi princes for 80 years, now they have their frog to kiss. It is OK with Biden because MBS might be normalizing relations with Israel and letting Saudi women drive.
Americans use the mantra of human rights, democracy, and freedom only against our enemies — China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, etc.
For apartheid Israel, and our friendly dictators in the Middle East, we seem to look the other way. Anything else is too costly, given our addictions to oil and Israel.
Ahmed Tharwat, host and producer of the local Arab American TV show “BelAhdan with Ahmed,” writes for local and international publications. He blogs at Notes From America: www.Ahmediatv.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ahmediaTV.