New job for Kamala Harris: Diffusing racial tempers

Biden also wants his deputy, a professional attorney committed to human rights, to address the underlying causes of migration — including poverty, violence, climate change and government corruption

It is quite courageous of the US President Joe Biden, to ask Americans, “come to terms” with the darkest moments of their history. Instead of wrapping the social diseases, whether it is the issue of giving justice to the Black or the challenge of migration from the Latin America, the people must be ready to confront them. Their resolution is only possible by tackling them in a just and transparent manner. Biden’s recent visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a century ago an aggressive white mob had burned the city’s business centre, “Black Wall Street”, to the ground, killing hundreds of Black Americans, is one his attempts to end the unnecessary racial confrontation. Similarly, his administration has also decided to focus on the volatile migration, which needs a short-term as well as long-term solution for avoiding a large scale human tragedy on the US-Mexico border. Biden has entrusted these two formidable assignments to his Vice President, Kamla Harris, a professional attorney committed to human rights.

It goes to the credit of Biden that he accepts Kamala Harris has to face difficulties in the Senate, especially from some Republicans who need to shed off their concept of the white supremacy.  On the migration issue, she has to work overtime to help the hapless migrants collecting on the US-Mexico border. A larg number of them include uncared children, teenagers and women frequently looted, violated and even become victims of human trafficking. She has to adopt “bold and innovative” approach in tackling this challenge. The provisions of USD 700 millions assistance need to be used with care. It may help migrants in Mexico, but much more funds on long-term basis may be required to economically rehabilitate the three countries of Northern Triangle of Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It is, perhaps, the only solution to discourage migration to America.

Biden, who has chaired the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee for more than a decade, knows that being an open society his country is vulnerable to foreign influences. Most of the Americans attribute to the flare up of the racial in 2020 to the Chinese proxies. Their penetration in the Black Life Matters (BLM) movement amidst the pandemic has shocked the country’s civil society. The growing presence of the Chinese navy in the Latin America too has caused serious concerns in the US establishment. There are ‘Doubting Thomas’s’ about Kamala Harris’s capacity to tackle these tasks, but her admirers led by Biden himself are convinced that she would succeed in restoring the ‘essence of American democracy’. Unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump, who was ready confront the Chinese and others, Biden is evolving long-term approach of strengthening the American state instead of repeating ‘noisy’ rhetoric.

The Biden administration appears to be preparing to assert the two centuries old Monroe Doctrine. It was designed in 1823 to oppose European colonialism in the continents, but US strategy needs to be made effective by economically empowering the countries of the region, if the USA has to counter the presence of China. The then US president, James Monroe, had asserted the doctrine of separating the spheres of influence in the New World and the Old World. However, the intent and impact of the doctrine has been redefined in the 20th century, by the successive presidents, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

The Chinese agenda:

The American studies have identified five dimensions of the Chinese military and economic initiatives in the region, humanitarian, peacekeeping, military exchanges, arms sales and donations, and technology transfers. During the past one decade, the Chinese Navy’s hospital ship, the Peace Ark, entered the Caribbean to assert the country’s soft power. It was a follow-up of the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, since 2007. Those trips have taken the USNS Comfort to ports of call in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to provide care to thousands. However, there is a little difference that he American medical team did not interact with the armed forces or the civilian officials of the host countries; but the Chinese focus on these institutions.

Biden is quite aware of the Chinese policies. If Trump had opened the lid of the Chinese penetration in America’s key areas, from real estate to academia and newspapers, Biden has begun a massive corrective programme in domestic and foreign policies to checkmate the country aspiring to replace USA as a super power, that too without compromising civil liberties and freedom. In this context, the role of Kamala Harris becomes both crucial and sensitive.

The powerful Biden-Kamala Harris team has adopted a symbolic straight approach on the issue of ensuring voting rights to the Black in Tulsa. Biden’s emotional meeting with the three remaining surviving of the massacre, Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis and Lessie Benningfield Randle, who are in the age  between 101 to 107 years is just the reiteration and assertion of America’s plural society. His statement was quite loaded, when he stated, “The Tulsa Race Massacre has been long neglected and glossed over in history books. I come here to help fill the silence. Because in silence, wounds deepen”. He also referred to the rally of the white nationalist rally of 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Kamala Harris is to get adequate support of Senate for extending financial and legal supports to the migrants. She may look into the Indian financial package given to Bangladesh. India’s soft credit line to the neighbouring country was to tune of one billion USD; and in addition to it, Indian assistance included a one million USD grant to improve financial delivery systems. It has not only discouraged migration from the eastern neighbour, but the economic growth of Bangladesh is highest in the region, including India.

There is yet another ticklish issue in the American society that is the existence of the Knights of the Golden Circle. It is a secret society campaigning for a new country, where slavery would be allowed.  The white supremacist may endorse this campaign to include some of the southern American states, Mexico, Cuba and a number of other countries of the region and most of the islands in the Caribbean. Earlier, this secret society was to bring these countries under the USA, but the Knights changed their position: the Southern United States should secede, forming their own confederation and then invade and annex the area of the Golden Circle to vastly expand the power of the South.

It shows that countries like USA and India have to continuously work for maintain their respective ideals to face unprecedented challenges from authoritarian regimes, whether they use religion for their existence or some other rhetoric.