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The Ripple Effect: Assessing How the US Presidency Will Shape Global Dynamics

by Ravi Srivastava - 20 May, 2024, 12:00 472 Views 0 Comment

Unprecedented Election

The US is scheduled to elect its new dispensation early next year. Elections will be held to elect the 47th President of the United States of America in November 2024. The US is a multi-party democracy, yet the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are the two main contenders for the coveted post. President Joe Biden from the Democratic Party and Mr. Donald J Trump from the Republican Party almost stand nominated now. The results are expected to be declared in January 2025. Though the voting is still a few months away, the election process is heating up like never before. In many ways, the current US election is unprecedented, with many suggesting it to be the last hope for both highly anticipated contenders.

A look at the incumbent President, the 81-year-old Democratic Party’s nominee, reflects the challenges concerning advancing age. It is said, that if elected, he will likely be struggling to keep up with the pressures of the US presidency. The issue was greatly discussed during the last election of 2020 and most likely will be exploited as a weak spot by a younger and flamboyant competitor. On the other hand, the expected nominee from the Republicans Mr Donald J Trump would be the only second ex-US President after President Stephen Grover Cleveland to yet again seek re-election for the Oval Office. Another extraordinary issue has been his ongoing trial in multiple cases wherein he is flipping between court hearings and campaigning.

At Stake

The US as the sole superpower earns that global standing owing to multiple factors prominently its massive economy, its GDP at almost $27,000 billion is equivalent to the next three leading economies clubbed together. Its annual defense spending at $916 billion is equivalent to the next ten countries clubbed together and almost one-third of the global defense expenditure. Its annual budget for grants and aid at $51 billion is bigger than the GDP of the world’s 100 poorest countries. It has the highest R&D investments at 2.8% of GDP. Its per capita income is the highest in the world, making it very attractive for skilled workforce desirous of migration. Annually almost 3 million people migrate to the US, this figure is the largest in the world.

The current elections are also extremely challenging as far as America’s domestic and global outlook is concerned. There are serious internal upheavals that have rocked US domestic polity; some of these relate to health care, inflation, gun violence, climate crisis, and cyber security. Even the US domestic policies impose grave challenges on global fronts. The US immigration policies hurt many aspiring individuals across the globe, and its decision to cut down lucrative        H-1B visas severely impacts entrepreneurs and skilled persons from across the world from working in the US. Its decision, to impose strict security measures like putting a ban on a popular Chinese app is likely to put $8.75 billion business immediately out of operation.

Its policies for aid to various countries often remain the sole hope for survival for them. Its domestic laws for sanctioning individuals, organisations, and countries like Leahy Law and CATSAA severely impact its international relations. Similarly, the global financial markets closely follow the US Fed policy measures for their next cue. All these factors make for a constant global vigil on America, its policies, and its leadership. The US through various intriguingly crafted alliances almost dominates the Global security matrix. Its capacity to decisively influence any conflict across the regions is unmatchable, although this has earned it the notorious adage of a ‘global policeman’!

Contrasting Approach

The US President is also the supreme commander of its armed forces thus exercising enormous global influence. This authority makes the presidential position extremely envious and challenging at the same time. The personality, therefore, one carries makes for dynamic influence over crucial decisions, wherever the discretionary powers are vested with. This is where nominees for the President of the United States post are scrutinised by the larger global audience.

It would be worth looking at the vision of both these leaders towards global challenges especially where the US is playing a major role. To get a feel of the contrasting approach both these contestants have, we go back to the last transition of power at Capitol Hill. Mr. Trump as President strongly advocated for the ‘America First’ approach, asking its historic partners to shoulder the responsibilities in proportionate terms. It had created an upheaval in NATO when he demanded, that the two percent defense spending targets be met by member states. He decided to go and meet the North Korean leader in an effort that evolved more out of his gut feeling than a logical diplomatic progression.

Developments indicate the approaches of both leaders will likely remain mutually different even this time around. The biggest challenge is the ongoing wars in Ukraine and West Asia. While President Biden has been seen offering billions of dollars worth of assistance, Mr. Trump felt he could bring the Ukraine war to an end within 24 hours! The views on China carried by Mr Trump are rather straightforward, in 2018 he initiated a tariff war on Chinese imports. However, in comparison, Mr. Biden believes in subtle diplomatic negotiations. This has been the cornerstone of President Biden’s foreign policy. While many feel President Biden has given a long rope to Israeli leadership in the Gaza war, Mr Trump has simple and clear advice for them – “You have to finish up”!

Global Scenario

There is a clear understanding in the world capitals about the varied personalities of whoever finally occupies the high office. President Joe Biden is considered a person characterised by even temperament and flexibility. Whereas, in a Presidential Historians Survey held in 2021, Mr. Trump ranked lowest on these parameters among the US Presidents to date. However, he is credited with risk-taking aptitude. At the cost of speculation, it can be expected the world will be at the edge if Mr Trump carries on with his flashy foreign policies. On the other hand, we may not quickly see an end to the global ordeal with the subtle approach of persuasiveness being displayed by the current dispensation. It will be a situation hemmed with certain compromises whoever gets to hold the baton. It will thus be in the larger interest that a patient hearing be made part of all solutions.

The hanging fear of dangerous developments appears persistently high. There is a crucial need for global leadership now than there has ever been in the last few decades. The intervening time by which the US voters return its 47th President in January next year will prove very crucial for the US. It also sets clear demands on major powers to step up and not keep looking for prompts to ensure the global order. Their abhorrence with the adage of ‘global policeman’ will be only justifiable, if challengers can stand up, respond, and remain prepared to absorb any fallout by themselves. Else, whether anyone likes it or not, they only become cry babies who would then continue to need a ‘guardian’ for themselves.

Ravi Srivastava
The writer has varied experience in the security paradigm and is a keen follower of global geopolitics. His work has been regularly featured in national publications. Visit newsanalytics.in to access more articles from the author.
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