MANILA - Bringing together the United States will be a challenging task for President-elect Joe Biden after the disruptive presidency of his predecessor, an analyst said Wednesday.
Biden faces the daunting task of solving the COVID-19 crisis and stimulating a battered economy, international studies professor Renato De Castro of the De La Salle University told ANC.
"The American nation has never been divided like this since the eve of the American Civil War in 1860," he said. "Those are really challenging elements he would have to face as he takes over on Jan. 21."
The US has had more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country in the world.
De Castro said outgoing President Donald Trump, who lost to Biden in the presidential election in November, drove a wedge among American people.
"Past American presidents had done efforts to unite the country. This outgoing President has done everything to divide the country," he said.
"This is something extremely difficult for Joe Biden to unravel this division that has been created by no less than his predecessor Donald Trump."
As Biden inherits a deeply divided America, De Castro believes the president would need to depend a lot on his advisers.
"He will not be an active, positive President which is in a position to initiate a lot of programs. He will possibly I will call passive. He will have to rely on his advisors," he said.
"His task will be more of a caregiver [and] not somebody who will initiate new efforts given the fact he represents the establishment [and] given his age."
Asked what the incoming Biden administration will mean for the Philippines, he had this to say.
"In terms of relationship, especially under this administration, I'm not very optimistic. For one thing, this will not be business as usual," he said.
"You have Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and also of course the personal inclination of Joe Biden [on] human rights issues, rule of law, adherence to international law will come out. Those are basically red flags for this administration."
The Duterte administration has been criticized for alleged widespread human rights violations and persistent impunity due to a heavy-handed focus on countering national security threats and illegal drugs.