Cable News Comes back, after 2021 Slump To Start Biden Term
So, where do Fox, CNN, MSNBC stand in their ratings since President Biden took office and the big mouthpiece of former President Trump is gone?
Forbes says Fox is doing better than MSNBC or CNN, though all were in a slump from around Inauguration Day. While coronavirus played to higher ratings, in part, a year ago, last month saw an end to some decline for each from this year compared to last.
Next Up For Biden Administration: Domestic Policy
Seen with $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill passage is a turn towards domestic issues under President Biden’s new administration.
Also, a turn, not all the way, towards opening up again for relations with Cuba, as begun under former President Obama with now-President Biden then second in-command.
With emphasis on domestic spending projects, rather than foreign policy, we can recently see an attempt to focus on issues at home, while still leading by upholding values the US hopes places like Cuba will adopt, on human rights and other issues, in their path to similar first-world development, which is evermore accelerated through globalization.
This angle includes more examples of Biden’s domestic policy emphasis, so far four months through the start of his first term as president. He has met with leaders on gender gap pay equality, as well as pushing social issues for minorities like removing barriers to legal immigration, primarily effecting the large immigrant Latino population coming to the US.
Biden’s assistant for the White House, Juan Gonzalez, one week ago told CNN he saw continued opening for human rights work with Cuba, though never went to far as to claim a new opening with the Communist island nation is possible. He reiterated Biden’s stance of reticence to open diplomatic and economic relations to their full potential while their governing regime violates or suprresses people and their rights the US supports on a worldwide-scale.
“A change of posture towards Cuba is not among Biden’s top priorities,” however, “we are committed so that human rights remain a central pillar in US foreign policy,” he said in his interview with the press, as reported by 14yMedio, a Cuban dissident blog.
Dutch Face down Biggest Challenge of Last Election: Coronavirus Control
With Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the center-right VVD taking his next step in over a decade of government leadership in the Netherlands, the Dutch are concerned more than other European countries regarding their ability to control coronavirus pandemic outbreak. While they believe, according to Rutte’s VVD party leadership, they should get vaccines available this year with precautions standard in the west such as social distancing, case testing, and mask wearing all implemented or encouraged already, the Dutch provide an example of how developed-world countries are now using coronavirus as their largest political bargaining issue to try and tackle, with the Dutch case, voters’ support in helping to win elections, especially.
Such emphasis would remain important for NGOs and world health groups, whom when contacted at Amnesty International’s Amsterdam office for their view of how the government compares globally in combating the viral outbreak, remained silent on if the Dutch were better or worse off, in real terms, compared to others. Also, this pandemic showed Rutte will consider anti-semitic-accused Forum voor Democratie leader Thierry Baudet’s view, — a vocal upstart party among a crowded field with over 30 political parties —, who competed earlier in March on the issue of the pandemic’s handling. Baudet’s party held the VVD was incompetent, and a more relaxed approach to restarting the economy back to normal, as well as highlighting some befits to be gained through a lockdown, is required.
The general public sentiment, as expressed at the polls, along with political analysis of the last election’s policy proposals, shows high likely follow through potential, among newly elected government ministers in the Netherlands. Those with expertise in international relations think in fact the Dutch could be a leader, rather than over-self-critical, on their last election’s biggest, most decisive issue.
Regardless of the effect on Dutch elections, the coronavirus is a hot topic for those voting everywhere during the past year.
The VVD is seen by opposition parties such as Baudet’s Forum voor Democratie as failing the Dutch people in handling the coronavirus outbreak. Yet Rutte clearly demonstrated enough control of this situation to gain confidence for his party’s conservative coalition.
What remains to be answered is how does Rutte, with his VVD party leadership, hopes to change for the better how the Netherlands is handling the coronavirus pandemic, compared to their past efforts before March’s election win?
For example, is the Netherlands especially far forward in their concern to tackle coronavirus as a top priority, and is this last election — seen as a referendum on such, the most important, pressing topic — also reflective of wants by the Dutch voting body politic, in general, from their government at home?
Immigration remains a top policy flash point, one which Geert Wilders of the PVV took ahold of to stand up to Rutte as his main, more conservative, challenger, for leading the new government dissolved months ago to make way for new takes on coronavirus — and more — by Rutte’s VVD party.
“Rutte’s victory was never really in doubt. Rather than validating his record, voters have rallied round the flag in the hope his managerial skills can navigate them back to normal.”
However, said an opinion by the BBC, “the spread of votes paints a picture of a polarised nation, divided over Covid, culture and the Dutch future in Europe.”
Ukraine Fears Russian Troops Buildup
This news broke on CNN Monday morning, when Eastern Europe became a source of tension in global geopolitics, again, a sore area for some years now with Russian expansionist tendencies viewed wearily by the US, Canada, and Western Europe.
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, sent troops and himself into a bunker, under threat of Russian invasion. Russia had massed troops on Eastern Ukraine’s border, raising calls by Zelensky to prepare his country for war. Earlier, he had asked for US weapons sales to help build his own military strength up, and is currently under military protection in a high-security bunker, though still accessible to western press news media reporters. The US State Department, in a flashback to the winter of 2014, when Russia took over Crimea, said worrisome signs pointed to further involvement by Russia in its smaller, Western neighbor. That also means the White House has begun to look at geopolitical strategy involved behind Russia’s advance, and aims to answer if Zelensky is overly concerned by the appearance of military intimidation by Russia. Such a troublesome question, raised by many think tanks and policy experts, could come back to haunt the US if seen as failing in support of an important buffer to Russian incursion elsewhere.
Middle East and Africa Hard Hit By Coronavirus; Late To Adopt Vaccine Use
Over a year ago, the Middle East and North Africa was declared a particularly vulnerable potential hot spot, which broke out in a heavy, severe rash of cases of coronavirus. One expert, at the DC-based policy think tank Brookings Institute, gave his analysis when the virus first broke out, and agreed those governments’ regional follow-up on how the vaccine is being treated there was an area stressed by citizens concerned for their own health; also, a reason why these regions are worse off than others from the pandemic, is their governments’ lack of action, and leaves open how the US can help, along with the UK and other Western nations, to mitigate an area seeming to be one of the most difficult to control. Ranj Alaadin, a Brookings fellow, said the vaccine may be widely available there, still, soon enough, for the feature article on the Middle East and North Africa facing down one of the worst areas with infection from the coronavirus over the past year since its peak outbreak. Some US foreign policy makers, so far, may also be in contact on more ways to go forward, if they believe this is wise, on implementing successful strategies from other countries in areas such as these where governments lack initiative or clear policy priorities to address a major issue for all states alike, worldwide.
“Already, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been hard hit, with Iran emerging as an early global epicenter,” said a March, 2020, article from Brookings. What signs show now is unpromising for better results combating this viral outbreak. Yet, if outside intervention works, there could be hope for relief sooner.
Just why North Africa, along with the Middle East, is especially hard hit during coronavirus, is indeed in part a lack of proactive government action in these regions, which led to more severe outbreak of the pandemic than other areas around the globe, say some experts.
One question on many minds is will North Africa and the Middle East continue to see delayed widespread use of the vaccine, if this is likely in the near future, or is there availability and/or distribution and development hindered by local governments’ policies and relations to the West, in particular?
Why there are areas like North Africa and the Middle East where local populations remain more prone to pandemics, is due in one way, to environmental conditions, or something more akin to a combination of lack of resources, government action, and precautions such as no social distancing increasing the virus’ spread.
Last, some would query where would the US see the pandemic solved first within these regions, and why? An answer could help guide future US diplomatic efforts in relevant countries, and build working relationships among ethnic and religious groups otherwise less accessible for resolution of future conflict and exploitation of Middle East oil. Blockage of the Suez Canal by a container ship, crippling a large portion of international shipping, one week last month, could be one area of a kind that could benefit from working with these regional governments on areas of mutual concern going forward, both for the US, as well as others often at odds with them.