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Biden vs Trump foreign policy

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THE outcome of the US presidential election in November will have a significant global impact. Will it mean more of the same or usher in changes in American foreign policy? Will it bring an end to the disruptive effect that the Trumpian approach has had at an unsettled time in international affairs?

With elections just over three months away, Democratic contender Joe Biden has a two-digit lead over President Donald Trump whose approval ratings have plummeted due to his mishandling of the pandemic and a weakening economy. This lead will likely narrow as the campaign advances with the race expected to be close. An unusual election in the midst of the continuing pandemic means greater unpredictability especially in view of Trump’s efforts to set the stage to challenge and delegitimise the outcome if he loses.

It would be instructive to consider how different the foreign policy approaches of the two contenders will be, based on what they have said or done so far. Foreign policy cannot of course be divorced from the domestic situation. If foreign policy is a reflection of the internal strength and cohesion of a country, the US is no exception to this. Trump’s divisive and combative leadership and his controversial policies on race and policing have left his country in a state of disarray, division and dysfunction. This has damaged America’s reputation and global standing and eroded its soft power — weaknesses that will be reinforced if Trump is re-elected. A Biden presidency will seek to heal these internal divisions and try to reverse its deleterious fallout on America’s global image. That would represent the first fundamental difference between........

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