Santos, from all accounts, was a complete fraud ~ he had lied about his education, his religion, his personal history and his professional credentials. In 2011, Santos had admitted to committing a cheque fraud in Brazil.
With President Joe Biden having decided to seek re-election in 2024, and with Donald Trump emerging as his most likely rival, the immediate future of a nation in terminal decline appears to have been decided, for the prospect of either of these men ruling the United States until 2028 is not particularly edifying from a global perspective, and not just because of their age, significant though that factor may be. Neither man is unlikely to take measures to ease tensions in the Indo-Pacific or to bring relations with China on an even keel.
There may be differences in approach towards Russia, for Mr Trump has always been ambivalent towards the Kremlin, but by the time the election comes around, things may have changed significantly in Ukraine. The Middle East peace architecture that Mr Trump sought to create now lies in tatters, not because of anything President Biden did, but because he was outflanked by Beijing. Ties with Europe which the incumbent has made the cornerstone of his foreign policy may get a little frayed by a Trump presidency, but not enough to upset the applecart. But these are details.
The larger picture that will present itself is based on the events of the past six or seven years, which give the world sufficient material to make realistic assessments of what either of the men could bring to the table post 2024. And that is not a particularly sumptuous offering. Certainly there is nothing to suggest that America will grasp the leadership of the world with both hands and set a brave new course, or be able to wrest back the initiative from a resurgent China.
On the contrary, presidencies conducted by men in or approaching their 80s are bound to be compromised, notwithstanding the health endorsement Mr Biden made a part of his announcement to run. As of now, Americans do not seem very enthusiastic about the President seeking a second term, and that enthusiasm will be dampened further by the announcement that his running mate will be Kamala Harris, whose record as Vice-President has been less than stellar. The question is important because the Vice-President automatically succeeds an incapacitated president. While observers expect the Democrats to rally behind Mr Biden and Ms Harris, that position may change should the party come to an unsatisfactory assessment or if some other prominent Democrat chooses to throw his or her hat into the ring.
That leaves the question of domestic challenges, where despite President Biden having outlined the upcoming battle as one for the soul of America, the dominant issue will remain the question of women’s rights, especially abortion rights. The Democrats drew unexpected support in last year’s midterm elections, and the Republican nominee will have to ensure its traditionally conservative flock stays together.
A Biden-Trump contest is guaranteed to be acrimonious, and there will be allegations and counter-allegations flying around, further dividing the polity. America needs a new President in 2024, and will for that reason get one. The rest of the world cannot be thrilled by the choices that seem to be on offer.