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Some vestige of decency on offer if Inauguration Day trouble-free: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-01-19 23:36

The "Field of Flags" is illuminated on the National Mall as the US Capitol Building is prepared for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, in Washington, US, January 18, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

No matter how historians finally judge his presidency, the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday will have a place in US history simply for what it marks an end to.

The heavy military guard deployed in Washington in the days leading up to the ceremony shows the extent to which the foundations of its democracy have been shaken over the past four years, with the violent storming of the Capitol building on Jan 6 as the climax.

Rarely, if ever, has the inauguration of a new president been so much at risk. Yet while many senior officials of the outgoing administration have either resigned or are keeping their heads down to avoid getting caught in the fallout from the president's coup attempt, some core members of the administration are still carrying on as before, taking pride in the trouble they can cause till their last minute in office.

And hours before the end of its tenure, even while his impeachment is underway, the president signed an executive order directing US agencies to prioritize removing Chinese-made drones from US government fleets and to assess any security risks.

After seeing many such executive orders issued by the US leader based on similar unsubstantiated concerns, the world's lukewarm response to the latest one speaks volumes about its desire to see the back of the outwardly-strong, inwardly-weak gang of "powerholics" that have now been completely unmasked for what they are.

What awaits the members of the outgoing administration after all the power plays they engaged in over the past four years will be humbling. But they will not be missed and will receive little sympathy given their inability to pause and reflect on their ideological rigidity and its consequences.

It is their anxiety — their lack of confidence in themselves and the country — that has prompted them to openly defy the global rules. And it is the narcissism and paucity of vision and ability of the outgoing administration that have doomed its ruling to ignominy.

Instead of working to address the domestic ills by working with the Democrats or cooperating with China to mitigate global challenges, the outgoing administration aggravated the divisions in the US by pandering to the populist and ultra-right sentiments festering in US society.

Four years on, the image of the US as the global leader is in tatters and the US society is fractured, possibly irredeemably without great turmoil. The administration's pursuit of its power dreams to make America great again has proved to be nothing but a disastrous ego trip.

To ensure an orderly and peaceful power transfer is the administration's last hope of salvaging any shred of dignity.

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