PEJOURNAL – Richard Anderson Falk, who is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University noted: ” Future of US constitutional democracy at risk as never before. “
“There is no doubt that the internal realities in the US are quite frightening at this stage, and that a contested election might be the spark that sets the country aflame. It is difficult to predict what forms this violence would take, and whether Trump would incite unrest, or at least fan its flames, as part of his challenge to electoral results that voted him out of power,”
Here is the full text of the interview:
Will US foreign policy towards the Middle East change with the possible change of US president? What about US policy toward Iran?
While it appears as if Biden will be elected, dark clouds of uncertainty hover over the American elections as never before in the country’s history. The possibilities of a paralyzing constitutional crisis and serious civil strife cannot be excluded. At the same time, if Biden enters the White House, US foreign policy will not change dramatically, at least in the beginning.
Biden is elected, and a proper transfer of political leadership by Trump, then it is likely that in the short run US foreign policy toward the Middle East will be moderated, but not fundamentally changed.
Some experts warn that the US is on the edge of political unrest and riots. What is your taking on it?
There is no doubt that the internal realities in the US are quite frightening at this stage, and that a contested election might be the spark that sets the country aflame. It is difficult to predict what forms this violence would take, and whether Trump would incite unrest, or at least fan its flames, as part of his challenge to electoral results that voted him out of power.
If this were to happen, widespread right-wing violence could occur with very mixed efforts to exert control over lawless behavior verging on domestic terror, and undoubtedly accompanied by massive responses from the left side of the political ledger, involving both peaceful protests and more radical actions throughout the entire country. The future of US constitutional democracy could be at risk as never before, or at least not since the American Civil War of the early 1860s.
How will the US political and security structure react to any possible unrest?
Many expert observers believe that the responses of governmental authorities and police forces will depend on whether the presidential election is being seriously contested by Trump, and conceivably also by Biden. The prospect of serious unrest seems also less likely if the results are one-sided in Biden’s favor, a so-called landslide victory, which would weaken arguments that the election was ‘rigged’ or ‘stolen,’ and make the losers less motivated, except some extremists, to cause civil strife and property damage.
Much depends on how Trump handles defeat, and whether he can gain support for an electoral challenge from the military leadership of the country and from the US Senate, which will still be under Republican control from November 4th until inauguration of the president on January 20, 2021 even if control of the Senate is lost, as the outcome of the election is not given immediate effect.
In your view, how will each state deal with these possible unrests?
The US is a federal country with 50 distinct jurisdictions for handling ‘law and order’ issues, and great variations in behavior regionally and depending on which party controls the machinery of government in these sub-state units. There is also a Federal layer of law enforcement that can be invoked by the national government, giving the White House a means to counteract behavior within any of the 50 states that it opposes. As there is very little past experience, there is little understanding of how the aftermath of the election will be handled in the US, and this should worry not only Americans but the world.