FRANK ISLAM, is a noted philanthropist, an entrepreneur, investor who heads the FI Investment Group in the USA. He was a member of President Biden’s finance team and contributed and raised funds for Biden’s campaign. He played an instrumental role in his campaign. He wa also part of the delegation of former President Barack Obama during his first official visit to India. Frank is originally from Azamgarh, left India when he was only 15 years old to pursue his dream and now is a successful entrepreneur in America. He was the founder and CEO of the QSS Group. An alumnus of AMU, Frank received his Bachelor and Master Degrees in Computer Science from the University of Colorado. Frank Islam donated $2-million for the Frank and Debbie Islam Management Complex at the AMU and also donated Rs one crore for a state-of-the art auditorium at AMU’s Mass Communications department. In an interview with MOHD NAUSHAD KHAN, he said President-elect Joe Biden’s victory means America is back at the world stage as a benevolent player.
It was a historic win for Joe Biden and historic elections for America as well. How would you like to respond to that?
I agree with you. It’s truly a historic win for President-elect Joe Biden. As of now, he has won 50.8 percent votes, while Trump received 47.4 percent. It is the highest margin of victory by a challenger in 88 years. Many votes are still being counted in a number of states, including large and mid-sized states such as New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland, all reliably Democratic. When the counting is over, Biden is likely to receive around 80 million votes and 306 Electoral College votes. That, in my opinion, is landslide territory, especially when you consider that the Biden campaign did not do door-to-door canvassing and did not address large public rallies. That’s a first in American election history. President Donald Trump lost big time in spite of knocking a million doors a week and addressing dozens of huge public rallies. The Biden victory is historic at so many levels. I can go on and on.
What is the meaning of Joe Biden’s win for America and the world at large?
Let me answer the second part of the question first. For the world, President-elect Joe Biden’s victory means America is back at the world stage as a benevolent player, which it has been throughout most of its history. The United States will rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO), the Paris Agreement and a number of other multilateral pacts and agreements from which it exited during the Trump years. Rejoining WHO will have a significant impact right away, as we fight coronavirus, the largest health crisis in more than a century.
For America, President-elect Biden’s victory means a course-correction of its politics and priorities. A number of Trump initiatives such as the so-called Muslim ban and war against the environment will be thrown out right away. The country will be a welcoming place for immigrants once more.
Can we expect that under his regime India’s relation with America will scale new heights?
India-U.S. relations will once again be centered on not just strategic interests, but also trade and commerce. Under Trump, America clubbed India with China and Russia as a group of countries that is undermining American economic interests. That will change. The incoming administration will abandon most of Trump’s protectionist policies. Another big plus for India will be the lifting of H-1B visa restrictions. President-elect Biden has said that Trump’s crack down of the H-1B visas, which are used by U.S. tech companies, is hurting the U.S. economy.
Biden was a champion of better relations with India much before the country became a Washington favorite. He has engaged with New Delhi for decades, first as the powerful Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then as the vice president of the United States. No previous American president entered the Oval Office with such expertise on India.
United States President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to be a president who will act as a unifier and not a divider how important is this message for the world leaders?
President-elect Joe Biden’s promise to unite the country will have a much bigger impact domestically. In the past 46 months, Donald Trump has not served as the president of all Americans. Instead, he focused only on throwing red meat to his conservative base. At no point during his tenure has Trump had the support of more than 49 percent of Americans. Biden, on the other hand, reached out to the people that did not vote for him in his very first speech after he was declared the winner.
On the foreign policy front, many of Trump’s policies did not have the backing of a majority of Americans. For instance, in 2018, three-fourths of Americans told pollsters that they favor immigration. So, from the perspective of world leaders, when they deal with Joe Biden, they will be dealing with a president whose views are more in line with that of a majority of Americans.
Do you think there is going to be a significant change in foreign policy of America under his presidency?
Yes, I believe there will be significant changes in the U.S. foreign policy under the incoming administration. During the campaign, President-elect Joe Biden vowed to reverse many of Trump’s controversial foreign policy decisions. For example, Trump more or less disengaged major NATO allies, including Germany. He courted many of America’s adversaries, most notably Kim Jong-un of North Korea. Human rights, which have been one of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy under successive administrations dating back to President Jimmy Carter, ceased to become an issue for Trump. The United States will re-engage with friendly nations and re-enter many of the multilateral organizations and agreements, including the World Health Organization and Paris Agreement. The country will also adopt a less protectionist approach when dealing with its bilateral trade partners.