During the election, it looked like not only Americans were awaiting the results of the election. It felt as if all eyes were on us as citizens from around the world were watching from afar. Many hashtags were trending on Twitter, like “#Please America”, which was trending in the United Kingdom, along with "#VoteHimOut". Most of the tweets internationally can be summed up as the rest of the world watching the United States with intrigue and worry, like watching a car crash about to happen, while others were confused about America’s voting system. World leaders were mixed in their reactions, with some calling for patience and others claiming Trump had beaten Joe Biden, like the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša who tweeted to congratulate President Trump for winning before all votes were officially counted. Australian Senator Penny Wong tweeted “Americans have voted in historic numbers in this election. They deserve to have their voices heard. The democratic process must be respected, even when it takes time. It’s in Australia’s interest that America remains a credible, stable democracy”.
So when Vice-President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump to win the presidency, it was also met with a lot of mixed reactions. Like my friends, colleagues, and many other Americans, I was quick to celebrate Biden’s victory but was curious to know how other countries would react and what this would mean for foreign policy. I believe it is important to consider what a win for Biden or Trump means for the rest of the world. During Trump’s four years as President, he was close with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who according to the Washington Post, wasn’t challenged in his interference with his reported bounties on American troops in Afghanistan and had an interest in cooperative diplomacy on controlling nuclear weapons. Even though Putin has remained silent on the election results, there will be a change in the US-Russia relations, and a Biden win will increase tensions between the U.S and Russia. Meanwhile, a Biden win for EU countries means the backing of NATO and the EU, and defense against Russian aggression, and more effort to improve U.S-EU relationships. Although Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay says it will not change relations between the U.S, it is possible that Turkey may stand to lose more than most countries from Joe Biden’s win as it is expected that he will go against President Erdogan’s foreign military intervention, who is reported to have launched a counteroffensive against the Syrian government and escalating Ankara’s involvement in the war by declaring war against the government according to The New York Times and stand to lose due to their close cooperation with Russia. During Trump’s presidency, the U.S-Chinese relations plunged even lower as both countries hit each other with trade tariffs, conflicts over technology, security, and diplomacy. However, it is not easy to say that a Biden win would help improve relations, as he too is critical of China’s policies, especially on China’s military ambitions and violations of human rights. In Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, the prospect of a Biden victory may be good for the region as many have that it is likely Biden would rejoin the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is the trade agreement between Trans-Pacific countries.
However, it is early and with Biden not yet in office, there is no telling how his presidency will affect foreign relations. A lot could happen with foreign policy with Trump still in office, but as many foreign leaders were quick to congratulate him on his win, it may seem to most leaders of the world that his transition to presidency will help restore U.S foreign policy.