Keeping a Global Perspective

You might already have made up your mind about who you want to see as the next president of the United States. Not that you have many options. D-Day is less than a week away, and President Obama is already bidding adieu to his staff at The White House, his home for the last eight years. Soon it will be either the Clinton family or the Trump brigade occupying the palace in the capital.

U.S. citizens have devoted a lot of mental energy into determining who deserves their vote. After all, the candidates’ wildly diverging platforms will have major ramifications on many citizens’ daily lives. In this turmoil and concern over domestic issues, though, it’s easy to forget the countless ways that the United States and its commander in chief affect world relations and the citizens of other nations. Other countries’ leaders have already begun outlining their different strategies depending on who becomes the new president, and Trump has already accomplished the building of at least one wall — a diplomatic one between the United States and nations he has insulted and disparaged. Of course, Democratic candidate Clinton’s policies and previous relationships with nations as secretary of state demand to be given close attention as well.

Firstly, immigration, which is a pivotal point of his platform. Donald Trump has been vocal, to say the least, on immigration and the approach he would take toward illegal immigrants coming into the United States. Some goals pertain to prevention, such as increased aerial surveillance, increased staffing, more fencing, and, of course, the wall. But prevention is hardly the main focus. Trump’s primary aim is the immediate mass deportation of all undocumented people, even illegal immigrants that entered the U.S. legally and never left. He also said that he plans to cut federal funding for the cities that have shown leniency to illegal immigrants. Such a plan would create immediate backlash not only among our own populace and the cities and towns illegal immigrants call home, but also among the nations that will face a large, immediate population influx. Clinton, on the other hand, plans to give leeway to undocumented people so that they can attain U.S. citizenship while enforcing detention and deportation of violent criminals. This much more nuanced approach will lessen strain between the US and immigrant nations while protecting the livelihoods of immigrant residents.

The multinational nuclear deal with Iran is one of the most recent and important foreign policy initiatives. Polar opposition on this issue exists between Clinton and Trump, the latter of whom doesn’t ignore any opportunity to bad-mouth the deal. The Republican candidate wants to renegotiate the deal if he gets the chance, in classic Trump style. Clinton, who played a major role in laying the groundwork for the deal’s formation while working in the Obama administration, wants to go ahead with the deal. Her stance is to re-apply the sanctions on Iran if the country fails to comply in any way. There is a high likelihood that Trump’s idea of renegotiation won’t be welcomed by Iran. In this way, Clinton’s agreement to lift sanctions in the event of no bad behavior makes her a better ally. Any sort of agreement or goodwill that can be gained is important in that area of the world, especially in terms of dealing with issues surrounding ISIS and Israel.

Something that is troubling the United States’ trade status is China’s presence in certain international markets, a sensitive matter for whoever becomes the next president. Clinton believes that increasing cooperation with China in the areas that are of common interest to both the countries is the best course of action. This will pacify the anti-U.S. language amongst China’s political lobbies. On the other hand, Donald Trump plans to increase the presence of U.S. military in and around the South China Sea because he sees China as a threat. China, however, won’t simply quietly welcome this action. Clinton has said that her focus in the Asia Pacific region will be to strengthen relations with Japan and South Korea. Trump, meanwhile, is focusing his energy on proving his theory that China is a currency manipulator, and he wants to investigate them for unfair trade practices. Such a bold stance and accusation can easily misfire, causing a loss in trust toward the United States within its trade markets.

During the second presidential debate, a question was asked concerning the candidates’ plans to tackle ISIS and turmoil in Syria. Both the candidates are in favor of coordinating with the Arab countries to fight the Islamic State and establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. Both of them also want to conduct and cooperate toward more military liberation initiatives for cities under ISIS control. However, unlike Clinton, who is in favor of announcing attacks beforehand on humanitarian grounds, Trump doesn’t see any need for prior warning. He sees it only as a signal for ISIS leaders to hide. Such a stance puts civilian lives at risk. He also feels that a strong stand against Russia is necessary at this point of time in the matter of Syria. Clinton, meanwhile, seeks Russian compromise. After opposing the U.S. withdrawal of troops in Iraq, Trump wants to increase U.S. ground forces in Iraq and Syria while Clinton wants to avoid involving U.S. ground forces. She argues that arming the Kurdish and Sunni Arab fighters is a better option. While the potential ramifications of further arming these groups remains to be seen, it does protect the involvement of U.S. lives.

The United States holds a strained relationship with Russia. For one, the United States has condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Clinton plans to reduce Europe’s energy dependency on Russia, which will strengthen European nations’ relations with the United States while alienating Russia. Doing this will also pave way for her plans to increase U.S. missile defense in Eastern Europe. Though Trump’s plan is similar, he focuses more on diplomatic pressure over energy independence. Such diplomatic pressure is difficult, however, when European nations still need Russia’s energy.

North Korea is still attempting to increase its nuclear arsenal, a scary prospect. Both candidates feel that China can make a difference in this matter and can pressure North Korea to cease its belligerence. However, if Trump plans on alienating China by adding forces to the South China Sea, how can he attempt to request China’s aid on this matter?

Other nations look up to the United States when it comes to contributions toward the environment. Clinton has declared that she will abide by the Paris agreement, which limits global carbon emissions. Trump, who opposes the Paris agreement, plans to withdraw from it and remove limits enforced on U.S. power plants. Moving out of the Paris agreement could have terrible repercussions on the climate given that other countries will be spurred to ignore the agreement if the United States chooses to.  

It is not only the eyes of U.S. citizens but the eyes of the world watching this year’s election. World leaders are waiting with bated breath and planning for every possible scenario. While your first concern should be your personal needs and your community, before you vote, think not of just yourself but of the world at large. The lives of seven billion people depend on it.