By: Alina Issakhanian
During election week, and even in the weeks after, as Americans anxiously waited to see how their favorite candidate would perform, many people outside of the U.S. closely watched with them. Former Vice President Joe Biden received the title of “President-elect” after winning key states in the Electoral College. Although his spot is not fully secured until inaugural day, January 20, 2021, and until votes are recounted, as called upon by the Trump administration, most can safely say that Biden will be our next president.
After the announcement, world leaders sent messages of congratulations to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. It is no question that the results of the U.S. presidential election will have a great impact on foreign policy, international relations, and the overall world, whether that be the environment, COVID-19 response, or economics. While the title of President does not give a person ultimate power over the nation, the president does have much power in guiding and leading a country’s foreign policy, for example.
Leaders from around the globe expressed their willingness to work with Biden and Harris and develop closer ties with the U.S., after four years of Trump’s “America First” foreign policy approach which rejected the idea of globalism.
“Under a Biden Presidency, the United States will shift from a ‘with or without us’ approach to a policy that fundamentally believes the United States can achieve more when we work together with partner nations,” Jason Marczak wrote in the Atlantic.
This “shift” will restore the U.S.’ spot as a “beacon for the globe” as stated by Biden in his victory speech on Saturday Night. A shift in policy and approach has seemingly made foreign leaders more comfortable in approaching the U.S. president. Many leaders and politicians worldwide are already noticing a higher level of respectability with President-elect Biden over President Trump.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, addressed Biden and Harris on Twitter saying, “I look forward to working with you closely as we face the world’s many challenges together.”
This was a rather risky message to send as tensions between China and Australia grow over trade and as Chinese state-sanctioned media, China Daily, has warned Australia that it would “pay tremendously for its misjudgment” if continued support for the US government’s efforts to contain China is shown. Already, this shows how delicate alliances are and how quickly relations between two nations can change.
In regards to China, Chinese President Xi Jinping did not immediately comment on the news but many already knew that no matter the winner, the relationship between China and the U.S. would be at a crossroads as relations between the two nations have reached their lowest point in decades, according to Time. Many hope however that the Biden presidency cools tensions and that Biden rolls back many of the tariffs the Trump administration implemented. The Global Times said that a Biden presidency could “usher in a ‘buffering period’ for already tense China-U.S. relations, and offer an opportunity for breakthroughs in resuming high-level communication and rebuilding mutual strategic trust between the two countries.”
With Biden’s soon-to-be presidency, a better and closer relationship with Canada can be expected as well. Over the last presidential term, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump have clashed over trade. It is expected that the relations between the two countries will improve with a more “ideologically aligned” Biden administration, according to Time Magazine. We can also expect a better relationship between Biden and Trudeau as people and not just as world leaders, based on the positive relationship they had when Biden was Vice-President to President Obama. This applies to many other countries and world leaders as well, as many already have already built a positive relationship with Biden.
“Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is unique on the world stage. We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world,” Trudeau wrote to Biden and Harris in a statement,
Many are also excited about Biden’s plans concerning climate change. For example, Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, whose message focused on the U.S.’ role in the fight against climate change. “Together, we have a planet to save from a #ClimateEmergency and a global economy to build back better from #COVID19. Now, more than ever, we need the USA at the helm of these multilateral efforts (and back in the #ParisAgreement – ASAP!),” Bainimarama tweeted on November 6.
This comes days after the U.S. formally withdrew from the Paris Agreement, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance and calls to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. These hopes in climate change response coincide with Biden’s promise for better climate action, promises to rejoin the Paris agreement, invest in low-carbon technology that would put the U.S. on a path to lower emissions which many see as necessary as the US is the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and a motto of his “science over fiction” referring to the Trump administration’s negative attitude towards science and research.
Another major “win” for many world leaders and citizens is the highly anticipated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. is the world’s leading country in the amount of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Throughout his campaign, Biden has put an emphasis on following public-health protocol and taking the virus seriously while Trump ridiculed him and other Americans for wearing masks. Biden called for Americans to stop politicizing basic public health precautions, like mask-wearing, saying, “The goal of mask-wearing is not to make your life less comfortable or take something away from you. It’s to give something back to all of us; a normal life… The goal is to get back to normal as fast as possible, and masks are critical to doing that. It won’t be forever,” also saying that wearing a mask is “not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together.”
The COVID-19 response has a huge impact on world politics as trade has slowed down, immigration and travel have decreased. Even more, there is now a negative perception of American national stability and democracy. Many countries around the world are worried about the political and ideological split in the U.S. and how their democracy, normally perceived as one of the strongest democracies, will be upheld. However, with Biden’s presidency on the horizon, many have hopes of restoration.