Concerns Among American Allies: US Dependability Questioned Regardless of Trump or Biden’s Victory

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With the likelihood of a Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch in the U.S. presidential race increasing, America’s allies brace for uncertainty.

Concerns mount over a potential second term for Trump, with existing tremors of instability raising worries about the dependability of the U.S., regardless of the election outcome.

A divided electorate and congressional gridlock could distract the next president from addressing global challenges, from Ukraine to the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron bluntly asserts America’s focus on self-prioritization.

During the first Trump administration, the relationship between the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Europe, faced significant strain.

Trump criticized leaders of friendly nations like Angela Merkel and Theresa May, while praising authoritarians like Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin. He expressed skepticism towards organizations like NATO, questioning the U.S.’s financial contributions. Trump suggested encouraging Russia to act freely towards NATO countries failing to meet financial commitments and proposed replacing foreign aid donations with loans.

Biden has emphasized support for Ukraine as a top priority and moral obligation. However, his proclamation of “America is back” on the global stage post-2020 election has faced challenges. Congressional Republicans have obstructed additional military assistance for Ukraine, and U.S. influence has struggled to mitigate conflicts in the Middle East.

Thomas Gift, director of the Centre on U.S. Politics at University College London, predicts a consistent trend towards a multipolar world where the U.S. no longer holds unrivaled superpower status, regardless of the election outcome.

Allied leaders generally refrain from directly commenting on the U.S. election, acknowledging it as the American people’s decision. They recognize the necessity of collaborating with the eventual winner and are quietly establishing connections with candidates’ political teams, according to Richard Dalton, a former senior British diplomat.

However, many European NATO allies express concerns about the declining reliability of the U.S., prompting discussions on increased military spending and preparations for a U.S. absent alliance.

Bronwen Maddox, director of Chatham House, highlighted the underestimation of Trump’s destabilizing impact, which could persist if he wins reelection. Maddox cited Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, resulting in Iran’s progress towards nuclear capabilities.

Despite Biden’s criticism of Trump’s Iran policy, he hasn’t improved relations with Tehran, allowing Iran to assert itself in the region.

Former UK ambassador Dalton predicts slightly worse prospects for the Middle East under Trump, with limited divergence on key issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran.

Palestinians urge Biden to temper support for Israel amid Gaza conflict casualties, while Israeli hard-liners believe Biden’s stance is already too restrained. Israel’s national security minister Ben-Gvir insists Trump would provide stronger support for Israel. Both allies and rivals of the US refrain from openly expressing preferences for the election outcome.

During a 2019 White House meeting, Trump and Erdogan established a close relationship, yet US-Turkey ties were tense throughout his term.

Trump’s administration expelled Turkey from the F-35 project due to its purchase of Russian missile defense systems, and he threatened to damage Turkey’s economy.

Professor Zhao Minghao equated both candidates to “two bowls of poison” for China.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov doubts significant change in US-Russia relations under Trump or Biden, noting deteriorating ties since Bush’s era. China’s relations with the United States remained strained under Biden, continuing Trump’s tough approach.

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