Trump is advancing ... please fasten your seatbelts

Trump is advancing ... please fasten your seatbelts

At the conclusion of the debate, the world found itself facing a difficult and perhaps costly reality (File/AFP)
At the conclusion of the debate, the world found itself facing a difficult and perhaps costly reality (File/AFP)
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Joe Biden left the duel with Donald Trump wounded. Age has betrayed him, as it usually does. It was a betrayal at the peak moment and in front of tens of millions of spectators. Biden failed to play the role of the scorer and that of the defender. He failed to prove the goalkeeper’s adeptness. The lights turn a setback into a catastrophe. Public opinion is strict and spiteful and one impression is enough to turn the page of a man, whoever he may be. There is no leniency, no mercy.

Social media is full of cruel, slanderous and wolfish people. Nothing helps the weak in this world, especially if the man was seeking an extension of his stay in the White House. The keys to the world and the leadership of the fleet cannot be handed over to a person with a failing memory.

Biden appeared to be a deeply broken horse before the final round. The New York Times advised him to exit the race. This advice is not simple at all and was followed by similar recommendations. Members of the Democratic Party did not hide their conviction of the necessity of replacing him to avoid an evident defeat. Replacing him at this moment of the battle is not easy. The process itself is complicated, especially if he insists on continuing the journey.

But the replacement option is not impossible, especially if it is the only means to keep Trump away from America and the rest of the world. Many are betting that Jill Biden, the president’s wife, will undertake the task of saving him and perhaps rescuing the party and the country from the victory of a boxer named Trump. Others are expecting Barack Obama to encourage Biden to make this hard decision.

How difficult it is to convince an addicted politician to retire. It is as if you are asking him to accept defeat under the falling autumn leaves. The difficulty increases when the man has spent decades in institutions and positions, culminating in the presidency, and is accustomed to residing in the palace in the company of seals.

How cruel it is for a politician to acknowledge that his role is over and that his time is running out

Ghassan Charbel

How cruel it is for a politician to acknowledge that his role is over and that his time is running out. Power is the mother of all feasts, only a “sick” ascetic can easily abandon it. I remember that one day I went to visit a wise politician who was stepping into his eighties. I told him: “Your excellency, you do not have the right to keep your rich experience out of the hands of readers.” He said the time was not appropriate. I insisted and he replied: “I agree and we will hold several sessions.” I asked him where and he said: “In the presidential palace.” The answer shocked me, and I knew that the palace road was full of traps and was regulated by twists and turns. I saw the “curse of the palace,” in his words.

The debate that the world followed was strange because its results affect the country’s security, stability and prosperity. In the era of successive technological revolutions and artificial intelligence, America has not been able to push a young man into the race for the White House.

The debate promises Americans nothing but deeper divisions. It guarantees nothing but more turmoil in the international jungle. No one is advising America to have a man like Rishi Sunak, who is leading the Conservative Party into a kind of retirement in the next few days. Nor a president like Emmanuel Macron, who squandered the prestige of the republic of De Gaulle, Mitterrand and Chirac with his initiatives and improvisations. Nor a man like the one who is occupying Angela Merkel’s office.

Some people believe that the West’s health is similar to Biden’s. That it is no longer able to run the world and refuses to acknowledge the new economic, military and political realities. The task of any new American president will be more complex than ever before. Russia has changed, as have China and Europe, as well as the regional powers that believe that their role lies in infiltrating the maps of their neighbors.

At the conclusion of the debate, the world found itself facing a difficult and perhaps costly reality. Trump appeared as if he were an American and international fait accompli that would be impossible to avoid. It is not simple for the master of the White House to be a man whose directions are unpredictable and whose pillow is difficult to rest on. This worries enemies and allies alike. Trump is not a son of institutions, in contrast to Biden.

The world has discovered that, in the upcoming election, the Americans may throw a large stone into the international lake, which has become increasingly turbulent. Concern includes European rulers, NATO generals and Volodymyr Zelensky. Will Trump force the Ukrainian president to go to peace negotiations with Vladimir Putin, who cannot return from his Ukrainian trip as a loser?

Calming the czar with a piece of Ukrainian flesh prompts Europeans to warn against repeating the same story of appeasing Hitler, despite the lack of similarity between the two men and the two stages. Trump’s feeling that he is the man of the “deal” does not reassure the Old Continent, which discovered that the sanctity of its international borders had fallen on Ukrainian soil.

Trump’s statements confirm that he does not seriously understand what the Europeans call the “Russian threat.” He believes that the real danger to the US comes from the “factory of the world” — that is, from China. Can the world tolerate American policies based on obstructing Chinese exports and will this policy push Beijing to engage in a borderless alliance with Russia that officially announces a return to the world of the two camps? Can Europe, worried about Russia and the rise of the extreme right, bear the burdens of a world of this kind?

What about the Middle East, which is boiling over the fire of open massacre in Gaza and a potential expanded war on the Lebanese front? What about the “Palestinian state,” which may constitute the only way out to ensure that the “flood” and accompanying wars are not repeated? What about the nuclear dispute with Iran, in which officials may find it hard to conclude any agreement with the man who ordered the killing of Qassem Soleimani?

The debate was exciting. Trump is advancing, please fasten your seatbelts.

  • Ghassan Charbel is editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. X: @GhasanCharbel

This article first appeared in Asharq Al-Awsat.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view