The united states is slowly turning inwards from the world. In the last four years since Donald Trump came into power, the United States has been accused of slowly and gradually turning into an introvert from an extrovert, which ruled and influenced the world. Many people have argues that President Donald Trump has irretrievably weakened the international commitments of the United States.
Now, the question arises that under these given circumstances, should the US November elections matter to the world? and if yes, then to what extent?
The American elections have been crucial for the entire world in many ways since World War II. With the presidential campaigning and debates going on, the eyes of spectators all over the world are glued to the election advancements. There are high chances that these rancorous campaigning techniques being followed in the present lead to be the reason behind a gradual and steady erasure of Washington’s international footprint or a gradual renewal of the American global imprimatur.
What if Trump gets re-elected?
Four more years of Trump would bring a more protectionist, opportunistic, and unilateralist America in the hands of the voters. The promise of Trump again would be one of the reasons for the US to retreat into an isolationist shell and becoming even less engaged internationally, especially at a time when the whole world is struggling and is in need of a more globally co-operative and engaged America. Trump’s leadership is known for its unilateralist approach in the advancement of its narrow self-interest and thus, invites very low levels of global support.
Trump’s ideology of quarantining America from the rest of the world is a real challenge globally. He has customized the spirit of isolationism as a combination of victimhood, exceptionalism, and entitlement. With his slogan of “America first”, he has blamed the outside world for each and every problem of the unique United States.
Trump’s America’s developments in the past few years are as follows:
- America has unilaterally withdrawn from the Paris climate accord
- American withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal,
- American withdrawal from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
- American withdrawal from UNESCO
- American withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council
- American withdrawal from World Health Organization (WHO)
- American withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty
- American withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
- The weakening of many multilateral institutions
- The weakening of relationships with long-standing allies, including those in Europe
- Increasing tariffs or fees on imported good from other countries, especially China
- Building a wall on the border between the US and Mexico
The majority of these developments come at a time when the world needs much greater global robustness and integration from a calmer and co-operative United States. Instead of insolation, the world would have welcomed many more multilateral arrangements backed by Washington’s long-term commitment. The new and changing world had posed the requirement of global liaison on a range of critical issues from arms control to climate change, to COVID-19 outbreak to trade negotiations.
What if Joe Biden gets elected?
If Biden were to be called as the President in the coming elections, we may see the US coming back to its original extrovert personality. His manifesto is aimed at making America more engaged with a multilateral posture. But, again, it would cost voters an entire term, or maybe more, to actually witness the changes and a return to status quo ante. It would take an expectedly long time to undo the inscrutable ferocity of the Trump years.
What about the cold war with China? Can we see any strategic treaty or settlement coming up between China and the US?” How differently would Trump as the President and Biden as the President react to the situation?
Since 1990, it is for the first time that any other nation in the world is directly challenging and pointing guns at the United States. The occasion firmly marks the “End of History” thesis. Bernard Baruch, the American financier and advisor to several Presidents, had coined the term “cold war” to refer to the tensions between the Soviet Union and United States post World War II but now, owing to the high level of inter-dependence and globalization this term may sound futile or long lost in its real sense. It is very rare to see such a hostile boycott in the present-day international system. But while the Soviet Union and the US never engaged against each other in violent or aggressive terms directly, the use of force and clash in the Indo-Pacific looks like a real possibility in the case of Beijing and Washington.
One of the few and far moments in the Presidential run is an agreement or any commonality in the viewpoints of both Trump and Biden over an issue. China’s assertion is one such topic where both the candidates are closer in their views than is often recognized. Trump has left no stone unturned in explicitly bashing out China while Biden’s aide, Anthony Blinken, has also said that China is a growing challenge, and that too one of the biggest challenges the US has ever faced.
So, it won’t be incorrect to say that we are still surrounded by the clouds of uncertainty and ambiguity in terms of both economics and politics in the case of both Republicans and Democrats. But out of all the surfaced confusion, one thing that is clear is Chinese influence. Most of the economic models reveal that the decoupling of the global superpowers and potential counterparts will yield massive economic losses. It still looks near to impossible that most China-originated supply chains would be in a capacity to transition out of the mainland even in the next elective session of the United States.
What is more precarious is that this “new cold war” is based on two factors:
- A growing perception that American domination is in deep decline
- China is a nation which can challenge this dominance
Both of these factors are nothing but misperceptions and myths that have historically instigated the building stone of major wars in the history of the international system. When we say dominance we refer to the potential and power the US holds since the end of World war. With time, this potent position may have become unstabilized with the US no more enjoying the tantamount degree of unfettered influence. But again, the decline in America’s powers seems to be vastly exaggerated, especially by the Chinese authorities.
This is factually and statistically proven. The United States is positioned ahead of China in almost every measurable index, be it in terms of economic presence or military influence, or technological power. The same dominance to remain with the same until about 2050.
However, on the other end, Chinese power is also many times underestimated, especially under the authoritarian leadership of Xi Jinping. The erratic behavior of the country hints at Xi’s belief that it is time for China to rule the world for which it has to assert itself across the continent and in the oceans with no consideration given to its reputation being scarred as a “Wolf Warrior”. A face-off between an over-passionate Xi Jinping and impulsive Donald Trump may lead to disastrous consequences. On the contrary, Biden may give way to diplomatic engagement to arrive at a peaceful outcome even on issues that seem zero-sum.
How do both the candidates differ on trade issues?
Needless to say by now, Biden would focus on and bring in the higher potential of international cooperation with other countries. Greater consistency in policies is expected by Biden against the unilateralist approach followed by Trump. However, the already existing international tensions may be heavy on Biden’s plans and strategies. Biden is an opportunist free-trader and is probably highly concerned about altering the decline of the American industry. Biden-Obama bailout of the American car industry during the great recession no doubt has to have a special mention here. Biden’s “Made in America” vision is more inclined towards the provision of subsidies rather than tariffs.
Another point to consider is the probability of China adopting unfair trade practices, which may pose a major threat to US trade. It may also make the reversal of Trump’s tariffs on China difficult unless China undertakes significant reforms.
Apart from this, deliberations and tensions with nations like the European Union may negatively affect the trading capacity of the States. One such example of long-festering disputes is subsidy disagreement to Airbus and Boeing.
At last, the Trump administration has highly enervated its presence in the World Trade Organization, often abbreviated as WTO. He has extensively offended WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.