The world is closely watching unfolding events in the United States in the next few days leading to the oath-taking of Joseph Biden as the 46th president of the United States. The peaceful and systematic transition of one administration to the next has always been a hallmark of the American system of government. But now there is uncertainty because of what happened in the US Capitol last Thursday.
On that day, January 7, a mob supporting President Donald Trump’s claim that he was cheated in the presidential election last November 3 invaded the premises of the US Congress, forcing the Senate and the House of Representatives to halt their debates on petitions to reject the Electoral College vote electing Biden and his running-mate Kamala Harris.
Five people were killed in the battle to stop the protesters who ransacked congressional offices. Over 80 people have already been arrested and charged with assaulting police officers, defacing property, carrying unlicensed firearms, resisting arrest, and other violations.
Last Wednesday, the House voted to impeach President Trump for inciting the Capitol riot, 237 to 197, with 10 Republicans joining all 227 Democrats. The impeachment charge now goes to the Senate which needs a two-thirds vote to convict and the trial may continue after new President Biden assumes office on January 20. If the Senate approves the impeachment charge, President Trump will be banned from public office and thus will not be able to run for president again in 2024 as he has threatened to do.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has now come out with information that armed Trump protesters not only want to disrupt the inauguration rites in Washington, DC, on January 20. The FBI said one group plans to “storm” government offices in all 50 US states on that day.
It is hard to believe that this could happen in the United States on its Inauguration Day, but the mob attack on the US Congress last Wednesday was just as unlikely. Government forces are thus preparing to take quick action in these next few days, but most especially on January 20.
And the threat may not end on that day. It may continue in the coming days and weeks of the new Biden administration. The mob that took over the US Congress, center of American democracy, in utter disregard of government authority, concerned only with their cause and their version of the truth, is not likely to give up so easily.
The world can only sympathize with the new US administration. It already faces so many problems led by the COVID-19 pandemic. It now has to take on the additional problem of mob opposition under circumstances that were not faced by previous administrations. The problem is far from over, with the impending impeachment trial and the threatened inaugural rites.
We and the rest of the world worry over any fighting between nations in the Middle East or South America, lest it spread to eventually affect us. We are concerned even more by the ongoing events in the US lest a weakened US cease to be a stabilizing factor in world affairs.