Int’l Aspect of US Elections Role, Status & Consequences

Even though the presidential elections of the United States of America is an internal issue of power transfer within the US, nevertheless, due to several reasons, it is believed to be an incident with an impact far beyond sheer national frameworks.
16 October 2020
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Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour

Even though the presidential elections of the United States of America is an internal issue of power transfer within the US, nevertheless, due to several reasons, it is believed to be an incident with an impact far beyond sheer national frameworks. This US election is not just an internal issue but in fact, an arena for foreign actors to engage. The US election is the manifestation of the country’s challenging global position and international actors seek to direct its consequences.


The US presidential election has drawn the most of the attention of the specialists of political affairs. Despite the fact that this election is all about power transfer within the US, yet due to several reasons, it is considered to have a greater impact far beyond national frameworks. The presidential campaigns are going on and despite various assumptions, its final result and outcome is shrouded in both obscurity and certainty principally because of US President Donald Trump’s infection with COVID-19.

One of the most significant features of this year’s election is its international aspect. The 2020 election might be the most internationally important of the US elections during contemporary history.

But how such a feature could be analyzed? In order to respond to this very question, ‘the role of international actors and issues’, ‘the global position of the US’ as well as the worldwide aftereffects of the current election should be studied which will be elaborated upon below.

 A) The Role of Int’l Actors & Issues

It is evident that almost every international actor holds a specific stance towards Biden and Trump. Holding on to their frustration, and sometimes even hatred, towards Trump, most European actors hope that Biden would take over the power. But their stances what is important is that some non-American actors, despite their stances, have joined the election campaigns in favor of a specific candidate. The top of such actors is Netanyahu, the prime minister of the Zionist regime, who turned his remarks at the annual UN General Assembly into a pro-Trump election address. His comrades in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf are not only praying for Trump’s reelection but are actually taking practical measures to in this respect. Establishing explicit political relations between the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain with the Zionist regime, which is one of the components of Trump election Team’s project, is meant to demonstrate Trump’s achievements in the field of foreign policy while his government has been the less fortunate of all in this area during America’ contemporary history. Moreover, one of the pre-election objectives being sought through establishing relations between these countries and the Zionist regime  is making a target of some Evangelical Christians of the US who held specific approaches towards the Zionist regime.

In addition to these foreign actors of elections, Trump’s government attempts to take advantage of every single issue in foreign policy to garner votes. What the Trump's government is carrying out in Afghanistan is undoubtedly in favor of his election campaign.  For Trump, the fate of Afghanistan or the American soldiers fighting in this land matters not; what matters to him is how he could use them to ensure his victory in the upcoming elections.

Highlighting the role of international factors in campaign speeches should also be noted. Anti-Chinese and Anti-Russian sentiment and emphasizing on the destructive role of these two actors in the process of elections indicates another international aspect of the US elections. But what must be taken into consideration amid such actions and reactions, is the international position of the US and its association with the elections.

 B) US Int’l Position

What goes on in the US is the manifestation of the country’s position in the international arena. In fact, during the past decades, very infrequently the US suffered from so much division and extremism in the society and among the elites as compared to what is going on today. The US has become bipolar and Trump’s victory in 2016 was a clear indication of such bipolarity. Nonetheless, such bipolarity has a strong association with issues of foreign policy and international relations and that is the imbalance between the US military and economic power with that of the approval of its behavior by the international community. The culmination of mistakes and errors the US has made on the international level over the past few decades, some of which had fundamental origins and consequences, has led the country to the lowest position in terms of public approval even among the allies and members of the western family.

Inside the US, this incident along with the country’s internal, particularly social, developments has not only altered the political equations entirely but has specially created turmoil in the psychological situation. One of the main components of Trump’s campaign plans focused on the psychological and emotional revitalization of the country which has resulted in quite the opposite. A combination of his opinions, language, and conduct, has brought shame to an overwhelming share of the US public. Therefore, this is not just an internal issue; it is greatly associated with the position of the US in the world. With the incidents that have taken place during this round of elections, the US international opinion has dropped more than before, yet the global impact of such election should not be undermined.

 C) Int’l Consequences

The international consequences of the US election could not be precisely elucidated prior to announcing the results; however, its qualitative and quantitative effects couldn’t be underestimated. Moreover, these consequences must be studied and examined from different perspectives. In this respect, what has been less elaborated upon is the globalization of the political technology of America’s election process. Political technology refers to a range of tools, mediums, and solutions which the two competing parties use to win.

The main feature of such technology is the broad use of ‘media’ throughout the elections process while ignoring ‘political content’ which has apparently become a global trend. Besides, there is discourteous, disrespectful speaking which has become commonplace in the US campaign debates during the past years and is also becoming globally a typical phenomenon.

The issue raised above indicates the necessity of heeding to another international consequence of the US elections, that is the efforts of the international actors to reduce the impact of the US elections on their political fate. This varies from country to country and depends on the political, economic, and social capabilities of each actor in minimizing the effects of the US election.

After all, the US election is not just a domestic event but is an arena for several foreign actors to engage. The US election is the manifestation of the challenging global position of the United States, and international actors seek to direct the outcome of this election.

(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)

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