Kenya: Biden Vows to Repair Relations With Allies As He Takes Over Power

21 January 2021

New US President Joe Biden took over power on Wednesday with a vow to repair broken relations with allies across the world.

In his inaugural speech, Biden, 78, talked of his country emerging from a period of great struggles, citing the economy, rising sectarian differences and the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Here's my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and has come out stronger. We will repair alliances and engage with the world once again.

"We will lead not by the example of our power but by the power of our example."

Biden, whose Vice-President Kamala Harris will be the first female and Black person to hold the office, said he will return to the world to discuss with America's allies solutions for today's problems, rather than deal with the past where mistakes were made. He cited peace and security programmes, suggesting that countries that had traditionally relied on American co-operation for security should expect continuity of those programmes.

Biden suggested the US will return full swing into tackling common problems like terrorism, climate change and general ills afflicting the world.

Yet Biden's "story of hope" speech was mostly focused on his domestic audience, saying there will be "much to repair, much to restore, much to heal and much to gain ... "

He was elected President in one of the most chaotic elections in US history. His predecessor, Donald Trump, refused to concede defeat to the very end, and flew out of town before Biden could take the oath of office. The remedy from Trump's misstep was that his Vice-President Mike Pence chose to attend the inauguration, but perhaps because he is a politician who expects to run for office in future.

Biden's second challenge is the Covid-19 pandemic. With the first cases reported in China in December 2019, the US infection rates have risen exponentially to make America the country with the highest number of deaths, at about 402,000 by Wednesday morning.

Biden asked his audience for a moment of silence in respect of those who have died of Covid-19. But it was a scar left behind by his predecessor, who initially downplayed the impact of the disease, before it became so overwhelming he himself got hospitalised with the virus.

Biden told his audience the answer to America's problems is "not to look inwards." He is taking over a country polarised along party lines, racial biases and economic problems ignited by Covid-19. But he said Americans must unite regardless of background.

"If we do this, our country will be ready and stronger for the future. We will need each other.

"We may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning ... " he said referring to Psalms 30 from the Bible.

Biden was sworn in as former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama looked on.

Trump became the first President in modern history to snub his successor's inauguration. Three others skipped the inauguration of their successors for the dislike of the people who replaced them.

Biden chided Trump for rejecting truth.

"We must reject a culture where facts themselves are manipulated or manufactured ... defend the truth and defeat the lies."

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