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Joe Biden’s stances and proposed policies on Pakistan-US Ties, Islamophobia

Joe Biden's stances and proposed policies on Pakistan-US Ties, Islamphobia
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With decades of political experience under his belt, Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for United States President, is running for the position for the third time.

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania state, the 77-year-old began his political career in 1972, when he was first elected to the US Senate from Delaware state. The presidential candidate has considerable experience in foreign policy and was the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee twice in his career. He has also served as the chairperson of the Committee on Judiciary.

Biden, who mocks Trump’s ‘America First’ slogan as ‘America Alone’, aims to restore the country’s position as a global leader.

Here we take a look at Biden’s stances and proposed policies on Pakistan-US Ties and Islamphobia that not only concern the US but the rest of the world.

Joe Biden’s policies on PAKISTAN-US TIES

Biden has not yet stated what policy he would adopt towards South Asia. His stance on Pakistan in the past, however, may provide some clue to his approach towards the country as well as the region.

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  • In 2007 he termed Pakistan “potentially the most dangerous country in the world”.
  • During his campaign for vice president in 2008, Biden had reiterated the position, saying “I promise you, if an attack comes in the homeland, […] it is going to come from Al Qaeda planning in the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
  • US drone attacks on Pakistan saw a 631 per cent increase during the Obama administration, of which Biden was an integral part as the vice president.

His past stance aside, shifting dynamics in South Asia would also impact Biden’s foreign policy, if he is elected president. Unlike Trump, Biden has said that while he would reduce the number of combat troops in Afghanistan, he would not withdraw US military presence.

Last year, during a debate between Democratic presidential candidates, Biden had said: “We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to air lift from and to move against what we know.”

Analysts believe that the US may get closer to India in order to counter China’s growing influence in the region, which would, in turn, impact Washington’s relations with Islamabad — one of Beijing’s closest allies.

India, which maintained a neutral stance until it got involved in a conflict with China at the disputed border in Ladakh earlier this year, would probably welcome closer relations with the US.

At the same time, Biden’s open condemnation of Indian actions in occupied Kashmir post-August 5, 2019, the passage of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and treatment meted out to the Muslim population has probably annoyed India as much as it pleased Pakistan. A policy paper on his agenda for Muslim-American communities, published on his election website, said that Biden was “disappointed” by New Delhi’s implementation of the National Register of Citizens and passage CAA.

With regards to occupied Kashmir, Biden’s policy paper stated: “Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmir. Restrictions on dissent, such as preventing peaceful protests or shutting or slowing down the Internet, weaken democracy.”

In August, Biden campaign’s foreign policy adviser Antony Blinken had said that the Democratic nominee will raise the Kashmir issue with India.

Joe Biden’s stance on ISLAMOPHOBIA

The former vice president has denounced Islamophobia, which he says “far too often overshadow(s)” the contributions of Muslim-Americans and has promised to “work closely” with the Muslim community and address its “legitimate concerns”.

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In his Agenda for Muslim-American Communities, Biden acknowledged the challenges faced by Muslims in the US and has listed the areas he would work on. These include:

  • Protecting constitutional rights of Muslim-Americans
  • Overturning Trump’s Muslim Ban “on day one” as well as work on legislation that would prevent the passage of such laws in future
  • Addressing increasing hate crimes against the Muslim community by “fix(ing) long-standing issues” with how the cases are dealt with by government authorities
  • Prohibiting people convicted for committing hate crimes from buying or owning a firearm
  • Addressing policies that “single out Muslim-Americans and cast entire communities under suspicion” will also be addressed
  • Confronting Islamophobia “head on” and honour contributions by Muslim community
  • Restoring the White House Eid celebration tradition
  • Filling vacancy of Muslim-American Liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement
  • Appointing a special envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation as part of Biden’s aim to “restore American leadership” by global engagement
  • Ensuring that there is Muslim representation in all federal agencies under his presidency
  • Dedicating resources to ensure Muslims and mosques are safe from Islamophobic attacks
  • Ensuring provision of basic rights, including that of worship to prisoners, including Muslims and helping in rehabilitation
  • Speaking out against rights violation of Muslim communities across the world including discrimination against Uyghur Muslims in China, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
  • Ending the war in Yemen as well as Trump’s “blank cheque for Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses”
  • Speaking out against Israeli settlements in Gaza and annexation of lands in the West Bank

It is also pertinent to remember that the Obama administration, in which Biden served for eight years, has little to show for its efforts to combat anti-Muslim sentiment.

In its eight years in government, the Obama government rained down bombs on Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — all Muslim-majority countries. In 2016 alone, US dropped at least 26,171 bombs.

Drone strikes under the Obama administration were much more frequent than they were under the Bush government, which started the so-called ‘War on Terror’. Not only did it fail to end wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama’s government led military intervention in Syria, Libya and Yemen, all of which have led to a destabilised

Middle East and arguably led to the rise of the militant Islamic State group.

According to some reports, however, Biden had urged then President Obama not to intervene in Libya or threaten Syria with retaliation for using chemical weapons.

Source: Daily Dawn

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