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Why 'Brand America' is on ballot in US election

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By Andrew Hammond

Donald Trump and Joe Biden met for the first presidential debate on Tuesday with not just themselves, but "Brand America" itself on the ballot.

With Trump narrowing Biden's advantage in some national polls, in what could yet be a cliffhanger in November, his against-the-odds re-election would send shockwaves around the world. This is because, while Trump is popular in a small number of countries, including Israel, the overwhelming majority of the global public favor Biden winning, as was the case with Hillary Clinton four years ago.

To be fair to the president, he has scored some modest foreign policy successes, including the recent U.S.-brokered accords between the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain with Israel. However, his overall international record is underwhelming, with key initiatives such as his peace gambit with North Korea flatlining four years after he assumed the presidency.

Yet, it is not even Trump's record of foreign policy failure that has hit Brand America (the reputation of the United States) hardest but his wild leadership style and maverick instincts. Indeed, Shashi Tharoor, former U.N. under-secretary general and currently an Indian MP, has asserted that the president's re-election could mean "the end of U.S. soft power" by entrenching "tendencies the world never used........

© The Korea Times

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