As the challenger, Biden would take correctional steps towards Trump's moves which are considered contradictory to the country's fundamental characters
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Joe Biden has been chosen President-elect of the United States after his monumental win in Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral colleges on Saturday (November 7, 2020), according to media outlets reporting the votes.

Real-time data gathered by the Associated Press through early Monday shows that Biden and his mate, Kamala Harris, have won 290 electoral votes, while their Republican rivals, Donald Trump and Mike Pence, have garnered just 214 electoral votes.

A roughly blue-and-red balance over the U.S. map shows there has been no skewed distribution of votes between Democrats and Republicans across the state, but the popular votes tell a different story with Biden leading over Trump with about five million votes.

About 75,404,182 ballots, as many as 50.7 percent of the total figure, have been cast in favor of Biden-Harris, while 47.7 percent or 70,903,094 ballots have gone to Trump-Pence -- and, the numbers will increase as there are some states that have not called their races yet.

Biden and Harris addressed the nation in the evening after their victories were announced. Their supporters gathered in Wilmington, Delaware — Biden's home state — to watch the victory speech.

"The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season — a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America,” Biden asserted.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), through his official social media accounts, congratulated Biden on his win and posted pictures of them shaking hands.

"My warmest congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on your historic election. The huge turnout is a reflection of the hope placed on democracy," Jokowi said in a tweet.

"Look forward to work closely with you in strengthening Indonesia-US strategic partnership and pushing forward our cooperation on economy, democracy and multilateralism for the benefit of our two people and beyond," he added.

Returning to multilateralism

Biden is likely to adopt a totally different approach from the outgoing President Trump in the context of national politics as well as international relations, both bilateral and multilateral, Ahmad Khoirul Umam, an expert on international relations at Jakarta's Paramadina University, projected.

"The leadership of Biden would be such a total evaluation and correction of the approach and leadership managed by Donald Trump," Umam told ANTARA in Jakarta on Sunday (November 8, 2020).

Trump, during his four-year term in office, has been an erratic figure and his moves have been really unpredictable, he observed. The outgoing President has also displayed nationalistic, inward-looking foreign policy leanings, and "does not have much respect on the values of the U.S political tradition”, he added.

Observers are awaiting what stance Biden will adopt on managing US multilateral relations in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear safety, as well as the global response to climate change. These are the same yardsticks on which Trump has drawn much flak.

In July this year, when the COVID-19 outbreak hit the country really hard, the Trump administration announced that the United States was withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO) and accused the body of failing in terms of transparency and being too dependent on the Chinese Communist Party.

On May 8, 2018, Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear pact, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and opted to put sanctions on Iran — a decision that further stressed their relations.

On June 1, 2017, a year after assuming office, Trump announced his country's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, a deal signed in 2015 by countries across the globe to fight climate change with commitments on reducing carbon emissions.

According to the United Nations' rules, the state had to wait until November 4, 2019 to begin its year-long process of withdrawal. Exactly one day after the voting (November 4, 2020), the United States was officially out of the Paris pact.

Biden responded to this by stating his willingness to rejoin the Paris Agreement if elected. He made similar promises concerning the WHO and the JCPOA.

"As the challenger, Biden would take correctional steps towards Trump's moves which are considered contradictory to the country's fundamental characters. Biden would also (help the US) return to liberalism traditions as he said in his campaign vows on the liberal policies restoration," Umam noted.

"I believe, on the fastest route, the United States would first consolidate its post-World War II traditional alliance and strengthen international cooperations, particularly on COVID-19," he forecast.

Indonesia among China-U.S.

Just days ahead of the election, Trump's Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had paid official visits to some Asian countries, including Indonesia. In Jakarta, Pompeo had met President Jokowi, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, and attended a religion harmony forum organized by the Ansor Youth Movement.

Speaking at the forum, in front of some figures from the Nahdlatul Ulama (one of the biggest Islamic organizations in Indonesia), Pompeo had touched on the issue of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, and described the Chinese Communist Party as “the gravest threat to the future of religious freedom”.

China, whose economy and politics have grown at a fast pace, especially compared to the rest of Asia, is considered the biggest reason behind the U.S. pursuing close relations with some key states in the region, including Indonesia.

"Strategic benefits in several regions are more likely to dictate foreign politics behavioral patterns of the United States. The most significant threat across Asia-Pacific for now is not North Korea, or Iran, but indeed China," Umam emphasized.

Umam said that China has been always ready with its maneuvers in the region, after expanding its influence, both in economy as well as politics, over Asian countries.

For instance, Indonesia, which has declared itself a non-claimant over disputed areas in the South China Sea, is still reporting unpleasant territorial interference from China in Natuna waters, he explained.

“China has turned from the charming offensive strategy to the alarming offensive strategy. And, that is what Indonesia should remain aware of; while one of the main powers to face Beijing’s maneuvers in this context is Washington," he noted.

"Under the Biden administration, we are hoping that the U.S. would manage its presence to strengthen the bases of the state's influence over several regions, including South East Asia," he added, referring to the US serving as a balance to China's influence.

However, amid the conflicts between the two powerful countries, Indonesia cannot deny its interest in one of them, Umam said. Thus, Indonesia's free and active foreign policy would benefit from maintaining the independence and balance.

Biden is now projected to build a new and different America during his four-year leadership. And Indonesia, should be prepared for any possibilities and opportunities that may arise, Umam said.

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Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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