COMMENTARY / Rafael Calduch Torres*.
As tradition dictates since 1845, on the first Tuesday of November, the 3rd, the eligible voters of the fifty states that make up the United States will take part in the fifty-ninth Election Day, the day on which the high school Electoral, which will have to choose between keeping the forty-fifth President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, or electing the forty-sixth, Joe Biden.
But the real problem facing not only the inhabitants of the US, but also the rest of the world's population, is that both Trump and Biden are setting out their international strategy at core topic domestically, following in the wake of the change that took place in the country following the 9/11 attacks and whose fundamental result has been the absence of effective leadership of the American superpower over the last twenty years. For if there is one thing that must be clear to us, it is the fact that none of the candidates, like their predecessors, has a plan to restore the international leadership that the United States enjoyed until the end of the 1990s; On the contrary, what they are urged to do is to solve domestic problems and subordinate international issues, which a superpower of the stature of the US must face, to the solutions adopted domestically. This is one of the serious strategic errors of our era, since strong international leaderships that are coherent with the management of domestic problems have historically allowed the creation of points of meeting in US society that cushion divisions and bring the country together.
However, despite these broad similarities, there is a clear difference between the two candidates in their approach to international issues that will affect the outcome of the choice Americans will make on Tuesday.
"The Power of America's example. With this slogan, Biden's general proposal , much clearer and more accessible than Trump's, develops a plan to lead the democratic world in the 21st century based on using the way in which America's domestic problems will be solved as an example, binding and sustaining its international leadership; it goes without saying that the mere assumption that America's domestic problems are not exactly extrapolable to the rest of the international actors is not even taken into account.
Thus, the Democratic candidate , using a fairly traditional rhetoric on the dignity of leadership, uses the connection between domestic and international reality to propose a programme of national regeneration without specifying how this will succeed in re-establishing the lost international leadership. This approach will be based on two main pillars: the democratic regeneration of the country and the reconstruction of the US class average which, in turn, will underpin other international projects.
Democratic regeneration will be based on strengthening the educational and judicial systems, transparency, the fight against corruption and an end to attacks on the media, and is seen as the instrument for restoring the country's moral leadership, which, in addition to inspiring others, would serve for the US to transfer these US domestic policies to the international arena, for others to follow and imitate through a sort of global league for democracy that seems very nebulous to us.
Meanwhile, the reconstruction of the class average , the same one Trump appealed to four years ago, would involve greater investment in technological innovation and supposedly greater global equity in international trade, from which the United States would benefit the most.
Finally, all of the above would be complemented by a new era in international arms control through a new START treaty between the US and Russia, US leadership in the fight against climate change, an end to interventions on foreign soil, particularly in Afghanistan, and the re-establishment of diplomacy as the backbone of US foreign policy.
"Promises Made, Promises Kept!What is Trump's alternative? The current President does not reveal what his projects are, but he does propose a review of his "achievements" which, we understand, will give us an idea of what his foreign policy will be, which will revolve around the continuity of the US trade rebalancing based, as until now, on shielding US companies from foreign investment, the imposition of new tariffs, the fight against fraudulent trade practices, especially on the part of China, and the restoration of US relations with its allies in Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Europe, but without specific proposals.
With regard to security, which Trump treats differently, the recipe is increased defence spending, the shielding of US territory against terrorism and opposition to North Korea, Venezuela and Iran, to which will be added the maintenance and expansion of the recent campaign of actions directed specifically against Russia, with the declared goal to contain it in Ukraine and to prevent cyber-attacks.
But the reality is that both candidates will have to face global challenges that they have not considered in their programmes and that will decisively condition their mandates, starting with the management of the pandemic and its economic effects on a global scale and including the growing competition from the European Union, especially as its common military and defence capabilities develop.
As we have just seen, none of the candidates will offer new solutions and therefore the situation is unlikely to improve, at least in the short term deadline.
* PhD in Contemporary History. graduate in Political Science and Administration. Lecturer at the UNAV and the UCJC.