Biden’s inauguration and first steps
On January 20, the inauguration of the new US President Joe Biden took place in the United States. Despite many Americans questioning the integrity of the election and the legitimacy of Biden’s victory, the ceremony took place and he was sworn in as president. Last week, Biden made his first decisions, largely reversing the actions of former leader Donald Trump. In his inaugural address, Biden often spoke of the need to unite. Without naming Donald Trump, he criticized his period in office, calling it dark times. He also said so on his new presidential Twitter: ‘I know these times are dark, but I firmly believe that our best days still lie ahead. If we come together as one America, there’s nothing that we can’t accomplish.`
Among the issues Biden addressed in his speech were the pandemic, the economic crisis, and racial discrimination. Few people came to the ceremony, mostly Democrats and supporters of Obama/Clinton-inspired neoliberal policies. Former presidents Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush Jr. and Bill Clinton (with their spouses) attended the ceremony. Also in attendance was Vice President Mike Pence, who has effectively renounced his alliance with the former president Donald Trump.
Unsurprisingly, one of the first talks of the new US President was with a representative of the European neoliberal establishment, French president Emmanuel Macron. US-French relations have been severely damaged, given that the two countries’ interests in the international situation had been totally at odds. Macron noted “great convergence of views” on multilateral issues and international security in his first call with the new US president.
Biden’s priorities, according to the White House, will be the fight against corruption, climate change, racial justice, the economy, immigration and the restoration of the US’ position in the world. Biden’s inner circle has recently formed: Kamala Harris, Tony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, Lloyd Austin, Avril Haines, Ron Klain, John Kerry, and Jill Biden. Most of them worked in the Obama administration, and many are connected with the military-industrial complex.
In the first days of his presidency, Biden signed several executive orders reversing the decisions of his predecessor, Donald Trump: he signed an executive order to return the US to the WHO, and to return to the Paris climate agreement. The Biden administration plans to extend the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement for five years. Thus, Trump’s attempted pivot to a multipolar world (America First, with the abandonment of the priority of globalist projects and the desire to approach politics pragmatically as a business) has been undone: Biden will try to rehabilitate the style, methods and trajectory of outward focused internationalist policies and neoliberalism.
At the same time, the Democrats do not want to stop there and are taking action to prevent Trump from trying to make his way into big politics in the future: they will send an article of impeachment to the Senate for reading, including accusations of inciting “rebellion” in connection with the January 6 riots at the US Capitol, despite that Trump did not directly call for the attack of destabilization, only asking for his allies to come out for a peaceful demonstration. Nevertheless, President Trump is not giving up: in recent days, he has talked to like-minded people about forming a new political party, according to people familiar with the matter, an attempt to make a permanent impact after he leaves the White House. Mr. Trump discussed the issue last week with several aides and others close to him. He would like to name the new party the Patriot Party.
Terrorist attack in Baghdad
Iraq, fractured and weakened after multiple US interventions, is once again being destabilized by the bloodiest attack in years. The attack was carried out symbolically just one day after the inauguration of the US President Joe Biden. The victims of Thursday’s double terrorist attack in Baghdad were 32 people, with 110 wounded, the Iraqi health ministry said. The twin attacks took place Thursday morning in a market (Tayaran Square). Iraqi security forces pursued the terrorists as they detonated explosive devices, said Yahya Rasul, spokesman for the Iraqi military commander. Thirty-two people were killed and 110 wounded in two bombings in Baghdad, the spokesman’s office said. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Iraq is at a critical moment as it prepares for national elections in October.
Turkey’s defense project success
Turkey has increased funding for defense projects 11-fold in the past five years, Turkish authorities report. Thanks to recent investments, especially those made in the past five years, Turkey’s defense industry will soon be among the league’s biggest players, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said Thursday. The minister added, “we will soon see” the Bayraktar and Anka unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) purchased from Turkey “flying over European airspace” as well as operated by the EU countries. “We started to receive the signals of this with our recent large-scale international sales,” Varank said, referring to the UAV sales made to Ukraine, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Tunisia.
The minister emphasized that the defense industry guarantees the independence of certain countries, stating that the industry also has a great impact on the economy and acts as an engine of scientific and technological development.
Varank also spoke about the funds introduced to finance the needs of entrepreneurs, noting that the ministry has taken important steps with regard to the defense industry’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to him, the ministry has supported 813 defense industry projects totaling about LTL 5 billion through programs implemented through the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK). Ismail Demir, the chairperson of the Presidency of the Defense Industries (SSB) said that given the conditions Turkey faces due to its geopolitical position and foreign policy developments, it is more important than ever for Turkey to have a strong defense capability and defense industry.
These advances are really important for Turkey, which is strengthening its geopolitical and military position in the world – not only in the Middle East and Eurasia, but also in Africa. The topic is especially relevant after political battles with the US, which is putting political pressure on Turkey to conduct profitable and strategically important exchanges in the military sphere.
Elections in Portugal
Portugal’s center-right president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was re-elected, winning 61% of votes. Portugal’s president returned for a second term with victory Sunday in an election held against the backdrop of the devastating Covid-19 surge that made the European country the worst in the world in cases and deaths. Socialist candidate Ana Gomes came in second place with 13%, while third place went to André Ventura, a fresh right-wing populist whose 12% was a big step. For Ventura, these numbers would have been unthinkable until recently. One of the first tasks for the re-elected president will be to pass a new law next month allowing euthanasia. Parliament has passed the bill, but the head of state may try to block it or send it to the Constitutional Court for review.