HCHRS’s Sonja Biserko exclusively for "Argumentum"/ US President-elect Biden Is against Any Partition, Which Is Really Good News for WB

By Genc Mlloja

The presidential elections, its results and particularly the failure of President Donald Trump to concede accepting the victory of his challenger, Joe Biden as well as the impact of the progress of these events in the US on the international arena have been some of the topics discussed with Ms. Sonja Biserko, the founder and President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia in an exclusive interview with argumentum.al.

“Trump’s refusal to concede, and the support he is getting from some prominent Republicans is worrying and dangerous for American democracy, as well as his latest decisions to dismiss top people from the Ministry of Defense,” said Ms. Biserko who noted that president elect Biden is preparing for the transition and is creating foundation for his presidency. “His first speech was very wisely and carefully conceived. It was aimed at unifying and healing of American society, relying on traditional family values and resetting the US for the challenges ahead.”

Asked about the pledge of Biden to ‘heal’ the US, Ms. Biserko was of the opinion that it won’t be an easy task because American democracy will not recover easily and soon because of its decline in the quality especially over the last four years.

Further on, the head of the Belgrade-based Helsinki Committee saw in Joe Biden a person who believes in institutions and he will be predictable. “He will bring back decency in the communication but some issues such as China and Russia will be treated along the same line but with more compromise and dialogue. However, nothing will be the same as before.”

According to her, Europe is not the US priority already for some time, but relations with the EU will be reestablished. “He is not against the EU and he won’t undermine it or support radicals like Trump. NATO cohesion will be increased,” said Ms. Biserko.

President Biserko is pleased that Biden has been very active in the Balkans and has deep understanding for the problems of the region, especially Bosnia and Kosovo. She said that the US won’t be back in the region as it has been in 90s but it will act in accordance with the EU. “It will certainly be helpful since most of the population in the region still perceive the US as the only factor to deliver. He is against any partition and that is really good news. Washington agreement will be implemented in some aspects but probably not as a whole.”

In her view American hegemony is over and for some time the US will be engaged with its internal problems and challenges. “It is important that the US becomes once again champion in democracy and human rights. It is long way ahead of us all,” said Sonja President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in the following interview:

-In the first place what did the US presidential election campaign, its result – the landslide victory of Joe Biden, and the reluctance of President Trump to accept the defeat, mean?

-Trump won the elections in 2016 as a result of the already ongoing process which he only crystalized. The US democracy flaws have been going on for long time. Just to remind of Bush Jr presidency (wars in Iraq, Afghanistan.), then Sarah Pelin as a presidential candidate. He damaged the norms and to some extent institutions that Americans have been so proud of. His behavior was erratic and it damaged American democracy and its role in the world. It is impossible to maintain a free society when the leader spread lies without sanctions. The most disastrous is his neglect of COVID19 which affected millions of Americans. However, Trump has destroyed the world that the US laid foundations after the Second World War by intentionally damaging UN and its agencies and international agreement on climate changes, Iran agreement and so forth.  Trump’s refusal to concede, and the support he is getting from some prominent Republicans is worrying and dangerous for American democracy. As well as his latest decisions to dismiss top people from the Ministry of Defense.

On the other side president elect Biden is preparing for the transition and is creating foundation for his presidency. His first speech was very wisely and carefully conceived. It was aimed at unifying and healing of American society, relying on traditional family values and resetting the US for the challenges ahead.

Some commentators believe that Trump’s behavior after being defeated is more matter of his character and narcissism. His inner circle is trying to convince him to concede. But many also express worries because this has never happened in the US history and the Constitution does not have the answer to it.  This is also the sign of institutional breakdown.

-It is being spoken much about Biden’s task to bring the US to normalcy, to rebuild the soul of America and heal it and make a ‘catharsis’ in the divided country.  Is US democracy passing through a transition period?

-Biden’s victory is important for the US but also for the world. However, it won’t be an easy task because American democracy will not recover easily and soon because of its decline in the quality especially over the last four years. Biden is inheriting very polarized society. He will immediately address the COVID19 (already preparing the team) and economy. But it won’t be easy for him to pass his decisions through Senate (Republicans still hold the majority) and in the Congress they lost some seats and some other important positions. On the other side his own party is split on many key issues. He will have to compromise both in his party and with Republicans. It won’t be an easy job.

What does Joe Biden's win mean for the world in general and particularly for Europe, EU and NATO?     

-Joe Biden is a person who believes in institutions and he will be predictable. He will bring back decency in the communication but some issues such as China and Russia will be treated along the same line but with more compromise and dialogue. However, nothing will be the same as before. Europe is not the US priority already for some time, but relations with the EU will be reestablished. He is not against the EU and he won’t undermine it or support radicals like Trump. NATO cohesion will be increased.

-President- elect Biden is very familiar with the Balkans. Do you think there will be a shift in the US policy towards the region, and secondly will the deal brokered by Mr. Trump in the White House between Serb President A. Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister, A. Hoti be affected?

-Biden was very active in the Balkans and has deep understanding for the problems of the region, especially Bosnia and Kosovo. The US won’t be back in the region as it has been in 90s but it will act in accordance with the EU. It will certainly be helpful since most of the population in the region still perceive the US as the only factor to deliver. He is against any partition and that is really good news. Washington agreement will be implemented in some aspects but probably not as a whole.

-President-elect Biden has promised to be different, to reverse some of Trump's more controversial foreign policies related to issues like climate change, international organizations, China, Russia, etc. What impact can such an eventual endeavor have on the world, peace and security?

-President elect won’t have much maneuvering space for the initiative shifts but certainly will be rejoining the Paris Agreement, improve relations with EU, they will be more constructive (on trade, Iran, Middle East). Europe will again have partner and strategic ally but also Europe will have to adapt to new reality and develop its strategic autonomy especially security wise. Biden’s focus will be on the Far East, on the relations with China as a growing contender. It will be his priority as it has been for some time already. His style will be different, rhetoric more diplomatic but he will be seeking answers to the pending issues with China.

-Imbued in traditions of US global leadership that champions democracy and human rights, do you think Mr. Biden can ‘accomplish such a mission’ in a new world which is shifting very fast towards multilateralism in the circumstance of the global fight against the coronavirus plague?  Could it be possible for Mr. Biden and his administration to reset the world order the way he wants?  

-American hegemony is over and for some time the US will be engaged with its internal problems and challenges. I suppose that its military engagements in the world are going to be reduced, certainly won’t be as in 90s after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Biden’s campaign was very much based on human rights and democratic values. State Department will go back to its professional personnel what is already a change in the foreign policy. It is important that the US becomes once again champion in democracy and human rights. It is long way ahead of us all.

/argumentum.al

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