With less than three weeks until the 2020 United States Presidential Election, Professor Bruce Jentleson examines foreign policy issues that may bear significantly on the outcome. Amidst a context of key issues including climate change, relations with China and the COVID-19 crisis, this upcoming election has the potential to pivot American foreign policy for decades. Professor Jentleson shows that beyond specific election issues, and irrespective of who wins, there are deeper political dynamics of political disequilibrium, swirling societal forces, and an ‘apart-atop-amidst’ historical shift in America’s position in the world.
This paper critically reflects that America is neither going isolationist nor reverting to the liberal internationalism of the prior era. Instead, domestic politics, broad 21st century geopolitical realities and lessons from COVID-19 all point to the need for a recalibration of how best to play a constructive role globally as well as with allies like Australia and within the Indo-Pacific region.