The upcoming elections in the United States of America will be essential in deciding the direction taken for international relations in the next few decades. It will not be an overstatement to call this election the most important of the century. The effects of the economic downturn of 2008 gave rise to the long suppressed right wing within US politics eventually leading to the election of Donald Trump. The four years of Trump’s presidency has seen major polarisation on the issues of race, public policy and foreign affairs. This has been a direct consequence of the president’s effort to maintain his popularity amongst the far right which has not only led to destabilisation within the American society but has also led to various disputes in the international arena. Unlike his predecessor US diplomacy, during Trump’s presidency has been more focused on the cult of his personality rather than consensus building.
This crisis in international relation/ has been further problematised due to the ongoing global pandemic. The yet unknown economic and human cost of the pandemic are sure to require united and careful decision making in the international arena. Moreover the process of coming out would require strong political leadership, something that has not been exhibited by Trump as the USA keeps plunging deeper and deeper into crisis in relation to the global pandemic. This has coincided with protests against police brutality and racial injustice. This instability is reflected in the declining popularity rating of the president and the rising popularity of his opponent Joe Biden.
The Trump presidency has been polarising and controversial which may or may not result in his re-election. The Biden campaign has managed to move beyond the individualistic nature of the president’s by coming up with structured policy agendas that are more reflective of the needs of the present times. While Trump’s diplomacy has been seen as abrasive, Biden has emphasised on alliance building to ease the crisis. On the domestic front Biden has vowed to do everything possible to promote the rights of the minorities and the marginalised. As mentioned earlier this approach of Biden has allowed him to move away from a battle of personalities and focus on policy issues that have large scale impacts on both the domestic and international issues.
More importantly in the context of India, Biden has said that if he wins the November elections, a high priority for his administration would be to strengthen the US’ relations with its “natural partner” India, according to a report by news agency PTI. Upon being questioned about the India-US relations during a virtual event on Wednesday, Biden said that the US needed India as a partner in the region for the safety of both the countries, the report added. Hence it remains to be seen how the 2020 USA elections will affect India and her interest in South Asia.