On 7 February 2023, US President, Joe Biden, delivered his annual State of the Union Address. It contained important lessons for the leadership of the Islamic Ummah.
Indeed, it is upon the leadership of the Islamic Ummah to continuously monitor, study and develop stances, towards major developments, events and addresses, regarding the international scenario. It is a requirement of the Deen of Islam because it is a global Deen, whose dominance must be established. Thus, the Prophet (saw) commented on the accession to the throne of Persia. In following the example of the Prophet (saw), Abu Bakr (ra) took a stance over the superpower rivalry, between Persia and Rome, even before the establishment of the Islamic State. The vision of the Islamic people of power is of a global reach. It precedes the Dawah to Islam, and Jihad to remove material obstacles, in the way of the spread of Islam.
So what lessons can we learn, from the State of the Union Address of President Joe Biden?
Lesson 1: US China rivalry
In contrast to the heavy mention of China, in last year’s State of the Union Address, China had reduced mention this year. Commenting on the downing of the Chinese balloon, Biden stated, “as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.” Thus, Biden asserted his strong man reputation to the US electorate. He also indicated progress in the aggressive containment of China within its region. Indeed, the US has built India as a rival, set Japan upon the path of aggressive militarization and bolstered the anti-Chinese stance of Taiwan.
The lesson for the people of power in the Muslim World, is that Biden has withdrawn from the Muslim World, to refocus on China. Previously, US demands to “do more,” came with financial support. Now the US demands to “do more,” are to be done at the financial expense of the Muslim World.
The lesson for the people of power in Pakistan is that the US is now backing India heavily. In order for India to rise, Pakistan is to be curtailed. The curtailing includes embroiling Pakistan in a wasteful conflict, with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Persistent alliance with the US is driving Pakistan towards greater harm.
Lesson 2: US Economic Crisis
At a time of a collapse, or near collapse, of the global capitalist economic order, Biden attempted to reassure his electorate of progress on the economic front. Biden indicated that the economic misery is behind the US, saying, “two years ago, our economy was reeling.” However, in reality, it is still reeling. The US public remains in hardship, with economy as a key concern. Overall, 75% of Americans say strengthening the economy should be a top priority this year, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted between 18-24 January, 2023. 60% consider reducing health care costs as a priority, whilst 49% consider improving the job situation as a priority. The American public continues to express negative views of national economic conditions. Just 21% rate economic conditions as excellent or good.
The lesson for the people of power in the Muslim World, is that the US is itself in a fragile economic situation. It can no longer spend lavishly on its interests in the Muslim World. It will delegate to the local regimes, and insist they pay from the pockets of the Muslims. It turns a blind eye to the rising anger on the Muslim street, against the rulers for their economic failure, and will not bail them out.
Indeed, the likelihood of change in the Muslim World has increased. Anger against the rulers is now outweighing fear, of their brutal tyranny. In this situation, the regimes are stuck between being heavy handed, which worsens the anger, and leaving alone, which creates space for revolutionary, radical change.
Lesson 3: US Political Fragmentation
Biden mentioned the deep bipartisan divide in American politics, between the Republican and Democrat Parties, whilst portraying it as being behind him. He stated, “we’re often told that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together,” whilst adding, “Democrats and Republicans came together.” However, despite Biden’s claim, American politics is deeply divided on party lines, crippling its decision making, including decisions over the Muslim World.
On the domestic front, states controlled by Democrats legislated laws against oil companies, while states such as Texas, which is controlled by Republicans, included green industrial companies on their blacklist. States controlled by the Republicans ensured the spread of a culture against immigration and immigrants, to incite their white American electorate, whilst states controlled by Democrats, spread the culture of welcoming immigrants, to bolster their immigrant electorate. Deep bipartisan conflict also continues over the right to bear arms and abortion.
In foreign relations, the division cripples US decision making. Previously, the contacts of former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, a Democrat, undermined the Trump administration’s pressure tactics against Iran. Recently, the Republicans provoked Saudi Arabia into reducing oil production, which weakened the pressure of the Biden administration upon Russia.
The lesson for the people of power in the Muslim World, is that the US is reducing in its global effectiveness, due to the bipartisan conflict. It is leaving a vacuum in the Muslim World. That vacuum cannot be filled by the current Muslim political medium. The current rulers and politicians are blind imitators of the Western economic and political order. They are incapable of independent thinking. That is why they appear stranded, abandoned and at a loss, in these, difficult days. The US has withdrawn from them, whilst they face crises on all fronts. Moreover, the Western treatments to the problems, that they had faith in, are worsening the situation. They need out-of-the-box solutions, but their personal interests, in the current order, prevent them from making real change. This vacuum remains to be utilized, for real change in the Muslim World.
So, let the people of power consider these three lessons, carefully. It is clear that the US is weaker than before, as are the rulers of the Muslims. There is a vacuum in leadership. Now, this vacuum can only be filled by a new generation of politicians and rulers. They are those leaders who do not consider themselves subordinate to the ailing US. They consider their Deen is superior, whose superiority cannot be surpassed. They consider politics as looking after the affairs of the Islamic Ummah, domestically and internationally, by the Islamic Shariah rulings. They alone can rescue the entire world from the deep abyss that the US dug for it, in its greed and arrogance.
If the people of power have learned their lessons, they will withdraw their support from the old and failed political medium, in order to establish a new political medium, that of the Khilafah (Caliphate) on the Method of Prophethood. It is then that the Islamic Ummah will return to its glory, whilst the weakness of the so-called major powers of the world, will be fully revealed.
[وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُون]
“The wrongdoers will come to know what ˹evil˺ end they will meet.” [TMQ Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:227]
Musab Umair – Wilayah Pakistan