Joe Biden’s inauguration last week was the most heavily guarded in memory: Washington’s entire National Mall was fenced off; numerous military checkpoints were set up; and 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed to prevent the public from entering the city center.

An American scholar reportedly said that Biden was inaugurated “in a military camp that’s indistinguishable from the Green Zone.” He was referring to the fortress-like area of central Baghdad set up after the Iraq War. But Washington was no Green Zone of 2003-2004. The real Green Zone was surrounded by thousands of huge concrete walls. The barricaded city of Washington was almost a paradise compared to the 2004 standard in Iraq.

Having said that, this year’s Inauguration Day was unprecedented in many ways. It is, however, neither because the outgoing president would not join the inauguration ceremony, nor because the new president did not see him off after the inauguration ceremony. Rather, the speeches the two presidents made were most intriguing.