International relations at stake in this election

Zach Dumais, Contributing writer

The 2020 election is imperative to the direction that the United States will take into the new decade.

The U.S. will adopt a widely different perspective towards the outside world based on who is chosen as president. To begin with the incumbent, Donald Trump, has used an “America First” approach in regard to his foreign policy decisions.

This approach is not new, but it was adopted most recently by Trump when he hit the campaign trail in 2015. According to the White House, the “America First” policy can be defined as “putting the interests and security of the American people first.”

It appears self-explanatory, but based on Trump’s actions as president, the “America first policy” is nationalistic in all but name. Actions such as withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear Iran agreement, the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization (WHO) were justified by Trump’s assertion that such actions were in the best interest of the United States.

According to the USA Today, in October 2018, Trump claimed to be a nationalist. This has major implications for his foreign policy if elected to a second term, because Trump would likely attempt to withdraw the U.S. from the global stage even further. One of the ways he has proposed to do this is by withdrawing the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

U.S. citizens can expect for Trump to continue this kind of foreign policy if reelected, which could further alienate allies and aggravate adversarial nations. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy can be most easily explained as the exact opposite of President Trump’s.

According to CNN, Biden’s most immediate foreign policy concerns are reversing the actions that Trump has taken. This includes rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, the WHO and the Paris Climate Accord, along with other agreements that Trump has withdrawn from.

Biden also claims that he would be stricter on countries like Russia, China and North Korea. According to CNN, Biden claimed that Trump has been too lenient on them by “embracing every autocrat in the world.”

Biden believes that Trump has given too much credibility to leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin by engaging with them diplomatically. CNN also stated that Biden has not offered details as to how he would accomplish future goals, but he has pledged “to end support for the Saudi Arabia-led Intervention in Yemen” and withdrawal of the United States military in Afghanistan.

The American people can expect Biden to adopt a more globalist approach if he is elected. The United States likely will regain a central role on the global stage compared to Trump’s withdrawal. This policy could negatively affect the United States because it would mean that it would be obligated to abide by international agreements, which would require resources such as money and overseas military obligations.

This policy could also have positive effects with better relations with allies.

It also would allow for the United States to cooperate and compete with other nations in a variety of industries which would likely lead to economic growth and prosperity for most nations. The people of the United States are tasked with an important decision on Nov. 3 which will have global ramifications.

Personally, I believe Biden has the stronger argument.

With that being said, I do not believe that either of these candidates have an ideal foreign policy. The U.S. was intended to pursue democracy, liberty and self-determination which neither of these candidates truly represent. It was not intended to wield authoritarian power over the globe or engage itself in the personal matters of other countries.

I believe that the United States can engage in international affairs positively if the right leadership is chosen, but based on the records of the two candidates, I do not believe either is ideal. Both candidates have blatantly meddled with the affairs of foreign countries which should not be tolerated by the people of the United States.

For example, both candidates authorizing (directly or voting in favor of) military action overseas almost arbitrarily, is not the ideal leadership the United States needs in terms of interacting with the world. People in other countries should have the right to self-determination and liberty just as the United States was founded on. The United States is a country that was created on important and unique ideals but how can we be the protector of these values when we don’t follow them domestically or internationally?

Based on the options, however, Biden has a better proposed policy because he has encouraged more positive international cooperation, which is a step in the right direction.