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Trump’s Potential Return Already Impacting U.S. Relations With Allies and Adversaries

Former President Donald Trump and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un.

The prospect of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s return to the White House is already influencing global geopolitics, shaping the decisions of both allies and adversaries of the United States. This shift, as explored by Foreign Affairs, reflects a recalibration of strategies by world leaders in anticipation of the changes a Trump presidency could bring.

The concept of the “Trump put,” akin to a financial term from Alan Greenspan’s era, is emerging in international relations. This concept suggests foreign governments are delaying decisions, expecting to negotiate more favorable deals with the U.S. under Trump’s potential leadership. Conversely, some are developing a “Trump hedge,” preparing for scenarios where his return could lead to less favorable outcomes.

A case in point is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy in the Ukraine conflict. With Trump’s earlier promise to swiftly end the war, Putin might be inclined to prolong the conflict, hoping for a favorable resolution under a Trump administration. Meanwhile, European allies, particularly Germany, recall Trump’s skepticism about NATO and are considering bolstering their defense capabilities independently, moving away from reliance on U.S. support.

Trump’s stance on environmental issues also impacts global climate change initiatives. His “drill, baby, drill” approach contrasts with current efforts to transition away from fossil fuels. This divergence is causing countries to reassess their commitments and strategies in addressing climate change.

In the realm of global trade, Trump’s “Tariff Man” persona and protectionist policies are causing apprehension about the future of international trade agreements. His previous actions, such as withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and imposing tariffs on Chinese imports, signal a potential upheaval in the global trading system if he returns to office.

Moreover, Trump’s hardline stance on immigration, including his plan to “close the border” and initiate large-scale deportations, is causing concern among nations about the implications for global migration patterns.

These geopolitical shifts underscore the significant differences in foreign policy approaches between the Democratic and Republican parties. The uncertainty surrounding the 2024 U.S. presidential election is leading countries to prepare for a range of scenarios, each carrying its own set of geopolitical consequences.

As nations around the world observe U.S. politics with a mix of apprehension and anticipation, they recognize that the outcome of the election will not only determine the next U.S. president but also shape the global geopolitical landscape.