The Foreign Policy Dimension of the
US Presidential Election
Since the United States occupies a central place in the global system, the 2020 presidential election could be considered an event that may transform the fate of the world. Internationally, it is a world-historical moment as America’s role in the world, and the organization of the global system, is also on the ballot. If Trump wins, the whole postwar liberal order continues to unravel, and democratic and other allies of the US, who are hedging and hoping that the US will return to playing a ‘system role’, will start making other plans. And, if Biden wins, he will have to act swiftly to restore US prestige by reversing Trump’s worst failures. In the words of Charles Kupchan, a Georgetown University political scientist and a former diplomat, “For a President Biden and subsequent US leaders, it’s not going to be going back to the old foreign policy. We are entering an unforgiving period in history. The balance of power is changing.” So, whoever wins the November election, the structural constraints that affect US foreign policy behaviour will remain. China will remain a key rival, relations with which will be complex and contradictory. The disunity among the European allies cannot be neutralised by a new political tone from Washington. Ultimately, the new US administration will face an increasingly diverse and decentralised world in which rival powers vie for power and influence.
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