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The World After Trump vs. Biden

With US voters deeply polarized and the world facing a mounting array of shared threats, the presidential election on November 3 is arguably the most globally consequential ever. At stake is not only whether the international system could withstand four more years of President Donald Trump, but also whether his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, could regain the world’s trust if he won.

In this Big Picture, former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel fears that Trump’s re-election would endanger both America and the world, while a prolonged US political crisis triggered by a disputed result would be a global disaster. Eric Posner of the University of Chicago therefore warns against writing Trump off on the basis of current opinion polls, and urges Biden to make the president’s demagoguery a theme of his campaign.

Cornell’s Kaushik Basu hopes that a victory for Biden and his vice-presidential running mate Kamala Harris will restore America’s global leadership and herald a new era of inclusive internationalism. Moreover, Julia Azari of Marquette University thinks Harris will benefit these efforts by being an active governing partner, continuing the pattern set by several recent US vice-presidents.

But Jean Pisani-Ferry argues that several of Trump’s “America First” policies – especially America’s economic decoupling from China – will likely outlast his tenure. And just as the world should not rule out another shock victory for Trump, notes Yuen Yuen Ang of the University of Michigan, nor should it assume that Chinese President Xi Jinping will remain in power indefinitely.

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