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The world waits for November | HT Editorial – editorials

No United States (US) presidential election will be watched as closely by non-Americans as the one that will take place just less than 100 days…


No United States (US) presidential election will be watched as closely by non-Americans as the one that will take place just less than 100 days from now. In the past, US candidates argued about differences in domestic policy and had almost indistinguishable stances on foreign policy. The Republican incumbent, Donald Trump, and the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, are almost polar opposites on almost every major issue whether at home or abroad.

A second-term President Trump will feel even less shackled by the niceties and traditions of the past in pursing his domestic and international agenda. The multilateral system, whether in trade or security, will struggle to survive another five years of “America First”. His willingness to batter China economically and diplomatically will probably be enhanced, but may become even more unilateral and erratic than it has been so far. A Biden administration will resurrect much of the postwar consensus, especially in regards to the US alliance structure, and bring the US back into the climate fold. However, on China and even trade, the difference will be more in style than in substance.

The real task of a President Biden — who has favourable poll numbers at the moment — would be to restore the legitimacy of the US establishment with its citizens because that, more than anything else, is what is undermining Washington and empowering Beijing today. And that continues to be Mr Trump’s biggest failure. Whatever his forceful responses towards China, and many of them are ones India has reason to be pleased about, he has done remarkable damage to the US internally. What Mr Trump is encouraging on the streets of Portland, Oregon, in a strange and unfortunate way has geopolitical consequences in the Indo-Pacific.

Published by
Ananthamurthy

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