Significance of the 2020 presidential election in the United States: How will the plebiscite affect political affairs with Germany?

By Yashaswi Bista

Image Credit: BCC

The 2020 U.S. election has been a large part of media coverage and has been debated significantly over the past few months. Americans believe that the U.S. election could change their daily lives and the rights they hold close to their hearts. Every day the election is a worry for them, and as the election date approaches, they become more stressed. However, 4,898 miles Northeast of the United States, Germany holds great value in American politics, particularly the 2020 presidential election. The question is: why would a Western-European country care about domestic, American affairs?

Germany believes that strong values and beliefs are a nation’s pride and happiness. Similar morals are a meaningful way for communities to express themselves through various activities, including sports and cultural food. Countries that share the belief of having a national source of pride believe that a president like Donald Trump strips these core and meaningful sources of pride from everyone in America. His belittering comments and bullying of certain groups in America create an increasingly prominent rift between the different communities, when, in fact, he should be bringing the country together. This has inspired American voters to term the election as “a battle for the soul of America.” The rifts between his people make world leaders reluctant to work with Donald Trump, as working with someone that many Americans do not trust is not particularly appealing.

Donald Trump has backed away from alliances such as NATO and the Paris Climate Change Agreement and rejected the Iran nuclear agreement. Such things make world leaders question what good could come out of backing out of widely agreed solutions to important issues. These agreements have been agreed upon by most countries as the best possible solution for the growing problems in the world, but Donald Trump refuses to comply with them. The President’s actions in these situations have also caused a number of U.S. troops stationed in Germany to decrease, resulting in contentious diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Germany as well.

Germans believe that if the U.S. elects a different president, they could restore the relationship between both countries and help the U.S. agree to treaties or agreements that could benefit the world globally. Even Wolfgang Ischinger, former ambassador to Washington and the chair of the Munich security conference, believes that Germany has lost trust in the United States. He affirms they have lost trust in the U.S. because Germany needs U.S. troops to help keep the country safe. Torsten Riecke, another German official, was interviewed about Germany’s views on how the U.S. has handled issues. When asked if he thought Germans think the U.S. election will make a difference for them, he noted people realize that the Transatlantic relationship has changed under Trump. They realized Germany has been losing the U.S. as an ally in some areas because of him pulling out of some agreements. Moments that this has occurred include: when Trump pulled troops out of Germany and disagreed with the Iran Nuclear Agreement, making Germany feeling hopeless, as the U.S. is a very powerful country and a good ally. Riecke described why Germans rely so heavily on U.S. Troops: “Issues like defense, taking care of Germany’s security, and the latest news that he is pulling out the troops … affects communities in Germany. Germany has to spend more money on defense.”

Germany also believes that it should play a more significant role in global relations to lessen the growing tensions between the U.S. and China. Torsten Riecke described the country outsourcing security to NATO and the U.S. to help. Contrastingly to Trump, there are good relations between Germany and Biden. Many Germans believe that he has great character, and the people of Germany would look forward to seeing him in office representing the American people. If Joe Biden won the election, he could restore German faith in the U.S. and create better relationships with Germany. Most likely, this could occur in other countries as opposed to a Trump government as well. However, some question if this could even happen. Some poll findings reflect deepening doubts about the strength and reliability of U.S. democracy after four years of the Trump presidency.

Ultimately, the 2020 U.S. election has a tremendous amount of policies and issues in danger for everyone, even those that do not live in the U.S. With an election approaching, global citizens fear what Trump will do if he wins. For Germany, global peacekeeping and policies are on the edge of danger.

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