Converging crises that have hit the world, particularly the USA, have given rise to populists and supremacists.
This according to South Africa’s former ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool, who on Tuesday addressed the Cape Town Press Club on the impact President-elect Joe Biden could have on South Africa.
With President Donald Trump leading the country, Rasool said the Covid-19 pandemic, a recession and racial tensions, while not confined to the US, brought several problems to the world’s most powerful nation.
“It has awakened supremacists globally and it has challenged non-racialism all around the world. You could not have presided over so many deaths and millions of infections and not have [an] answer for it. You could not have presided over the conflagration on the issue of race and not answer for it,” he added.
Rasool said the US, given its consequential role globally, could not afford any instability.
He added: “You cannot have a revisionist power in the Oval Office and therefore you need to ensure that anyone who follows and thinks that this is the trajectory, it must be tempered. Many people are very worried and everyone says 72 million Americans voted for him. Then you can say, but 81 million people voted for the alternative. Some say its still close. Others still say that they can’t believe that 72 million Americans found this acceptable.
“We must ensure that the world does not suffer contagion from the superpower that was populist, extremist, and supremacists. We need to ensure that in the UK, there is a moment of recoil (and the same in France). We have to radiate from Washington a sense of accountability.”
Last month, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said the uncertainty in Trump refusing to concede losing the elections was unsettling for the world.
Biden won the popular vote and received the 270 electoral college votes needed for a win, ascending to the Oval Office along with Kamala Harris as his vice president.
Rasool said Trump’s policies had also negatively affected trade with most of Africa.
“The kind of trade war with China is not desirable for South Africa, for Africa and for the world. We may not export many things directly to the USA, but export quite a few things as Africa through China to the USA. For as long as China has good access to the US markets, under favourable conditions, we have good access while we are still primarily exporting commodities.
“If [we] don’t yet have the capacity to add value to our raw materials, then someone who does have some of it, can then be a conduit for our goods that eventually ends up in the USA. A US-China trade war is inhibiting China’s ability to accept exports from Africa and South Africa and that is part of the slowdown in the continent’s growth,” he said.