U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden accepted his party’s nomination last week with one of the most powerful speeches of his career. It was different from previous conventions because of the COVID-19 concerns. It was a virtual Democratic convention that unified around Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris. Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and even some Republicans made speeches during the convention.
Obviously, after Biden introduced Harris as his vice presidential candidate, everyone responded differently to the decision. Capping the joyful response from the Democratic Party, the Biden-Harris campaign announced that they had raised $26 million in the 24 hours after declaring his vice presidential pick – the latest development revealing that his own campaign and the reaction campaign against U.S. President Donald Trump have converged. As far as I can see, Harris is a threat to the Trump campaign, as the president started targeting Harris on Day One. It will be interesting to watch Vice President Mike Pence and Harris debate during a televised face-off on Oct. 7.
The 55-year-old senator is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. In 2003, she served as the district attorney in San Francisco and then as the attorney general of California. Known for her sensitivity to civil rights and her identity as a lawyer, Harris's announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day regarding her presidential candidacy attracted notice. After ending her presidential bid, she kept good relations with Biden and his team. In fact, Harris’s candidacy as vice president is unsurprising, for she had been seen as the No. 1 candidate for the last three months.
Biden’s subsequent statements in March 2020 were significant: “The most important thing is that it has to be someone who, the day after they’re picked, is prepared to be president of the United States of America if something happened." In four years, Biden will turn 81 years old. Many in the U.S. believe that Biden will take office for one term and leave the office to Harris. Of course, Biden and Harris’s first term and their level of success will become clearer when the time comes.
What I mean is that Biden did not introduce Harris as his vice presidential candidate for nothing. He has chosen a vice presidential candidate who will support him and help defeat Trump. We can clearly see that Harris is a long-term investment. Why not? At one time, Obama was not even given a chance because he was African American, but he ended up leading the country for eight years. It wouldn't be surprising if Harris became the first African American and Indian American woman to lead the country one day.
Harris' foreign, Turkey policy
Harris was one of the members of the Intelligence and Homeland Security Committee in the U.S. Senate and in particular, one of the prominent senators in the congressional Russia investigation sessions. She voted against increasing the defense budget and stated that she did not want the American Army to be involved in many places abroad. Stating that she cannot be silent about what has been done to the Uighur Turks in China, she also asserted that Trump's heavy quotas for China are wrong.
She has stated, as Biden has, that arms sales to Saudi Arabia should be blocked, and she reacted to Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder. She also stated that Israel is an important ally and that she sides with the two-state solution on the matter of Israel and Palestine.
The only conspicuous statement by Harris on Turkey was about the alleged Armenian genocide. It should not come as a surprise, given that she is a politician representing California. Since a powerful Armenian diaspora lives in California, many politicians in the state have made statements against Turkey. Harris has said that it is wrong of Trump to decide to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and was heavily critical of this. It is important to remember that Biden and Harris would support PKK/YPG terrorists in Syria.
We have seen many discrepancies between what is being said during presidential campaigns and what happens after the candidate takes office. If Trump gets reelected, there will not be any changes to bilateral relations. If Biden and Harris get elected, it will not be an easy process for Turkish-American relations; however, I believe that sincere communication and open diplomacy are always a solution to problems.
In 2011, Trump donated $6,000 to Harris to support her campaign, and now he is slamming her. While she was criticizing Biden harshly for racism last year, she now works for Biden.
This is what’s called politics. You never know what tomorrow holds.
Soon, we will see Harris in the spotlight more than Biden. She is ambitious and has a lot of supporters due to her powerful speeches at the podium. If the elections go as the Democrats wish, it could be said that Biden has even paved the way for Harris’s future presidency.
*Senior foreign policy expert, a 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient