Ongoing US woes bound  to affect us

Published January 16, 2021, 12:09 AM

by Manila Bulletin

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.