Reading into the Upcoming U.S. Elections and its Global Impact

Colonel Zafer Murad

The countries of the world, along with many international organizations, institutions, and economic companies, are eagerly awaiting the results of the upcoming U.S. elections. They view it as if it were a national milestone or an event that impacts the future of any major organization or company. This perspective is natural and logical, given the awareness of the influence exerted by the behavior and approach of the new U.S. president and how they prioritize and classify interests and make important decisions on an international security and economic level.

The debate between the former U.S. president, Donald Trump, and the current president, Joe Biden, hosted by CNN, indicated that Biden’s chances of winning the next presidency are weak and that a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy is on the horizon regarding several global issues. The results of these elections will intersect with the results of the Iranian elections, which might see the success of the reformists through their candidate, Massoud Pezeshkian. Should he come to power, it could ease tensions with the West and possibly lead to a new version of the Iranian nuclear deal, with arrangements in the Middle East to reduce tensions there.

U.S. foreign policies have generally proven to be long-term strategic plans that do not change their core goals and objectives with the arrival of a new president or administration in the White House. However, the strategic approach and execution methods might change, including shifting priorities. Strategic planning must consider achieving a balance between three fundamental considerations: first, the ends or objectives (what must be achieved); second, the means and resources (the available material and moral capacities, encompassing all elements of national power); and third, the ways and methods of using these means to achieve the desired final goals. Methods and approaches are usually altered when they fail or face obstacles, adapting to new circumstances and becoming more effective in addressing current threats and challenges. Therefore, a change in method, evident through certain foreign policy variables, does not imply a change in the ultimate goals and objectives. Bringing Trump back to the White House might aim to change the approach, retract some commitments, and engage in other issues that have become more important and prioritized. It is well known that influencing American public opinion, and thereby the success of a candidate over another, lies in the hands of pressure groups that control the media, influence Congress members’ opinions, and manage political propaganda for various goals, primarily achieving financial profits and gaining more influence in decision-making capitals. Among the most prominent of these pressure groups is the Jewish lobby, which is the most influential and effective in shaping U.S. decisions, although there are also Arab, Iranian, and even Chinese lobbies, all working to achieve the interests and goals of their respective affiliations.

The Ukrainian issue and the support for this country to defend itself against the Russian aggression will be significantly affected if Donald Trump reaches the U.S. presidency. American military and political support for Ukraine is likely to decline substantially, leaving Europe to decide whether to continue its support, which will likely gradually decrease. Europe, in cooperation with the new American administration, will work on finding a logical and acceptable resolution to this war, which has reached a critical and dangerous stage, nearing a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia—something no one desires due to the anticipated high costs far outweighing the benefits for the United States. The current outcomes are considered satisfactory and acceptable for the U.S., as American arms companies have greatly benefited from selling weapons to European countries, securing future armament contracts worth hundreds of billions of dollars for over a decade. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the U.S. increased its global arms exports by 17% between 2019 and 2023, compared to the previous five years, with the U.S. share in international arms trade significantly rising from 34% to 42%. European countries, which doubled their imports of American weapons during this period, accounted for the lion’s share. By involving Europe in supporting Ukraine and confronting Russia, the U.S. economically distanced European countries from Russia, despite their losses in many areas, primarily energy resources. These countries have become more economically and security-dependent on the U.S., ensuring they cannot establish themselves as a military and economic rival to the U.S. in the future. The European economy competes with the American economy in global markets, especially in selling weapons, transport aircraft, cars, and various industrial and agricultural equipment. The euro, as the only competitor to the U.S. dollar, ranks second in global trade after the dollar.

If Trump wins the upcoming elections, he will return to confronting China economically, as a businessman well-versed in economic and trade issues, reviewing the trade balance with China and imposing new conditions. In the military field and the Taiwan issue, he will be more lenient and open than Biden’s administration, despite limited changes in the relationship with Taiwan.

In the Middle East, a primary area of American influence and interest, the U.S. will not abandon or allow its influence to decline. Despite multiple adversaries and ambiguous relationships there, the U.S. seeks temporary settlements to avoid or delay military confrontations. Regarding Gaza and the war between Israel and Hamas, the matter is settled and will not await the U.S. elections. The Netanyahu government, contrary to what is said, has achieved some goals, primarily destroying Gaza and plunging Palestinians there into a cycle of destruction, misery, and poverty for at least ten years. This government understands that eliminating a resistant ideological organization like Hamas is complex and nearly impossible. The current efforts aim to create a reality where Hamas’s popular base revolts against its leadership and withdraws its loyalty. The release of hostages is the last of Netanyahu’s government objectives, which, as usual and planned, will lead to forgetting the crimes and violations committed, and a new government will come to repair the chaos caused by Netanyahu. It should be noted that maintaining internal Palestinian discord is a strategic interest for Israel, outweighing any proclaimed victory over Hamas. Israel is unlikely to eradicate Hamas’s political thought and military doctrine, opting to keep it weak, relying on new internal Palestinian conflicts in the “day after” the war ends, allowing it to evade commitments to Palestinians and the two-state solution. Israel benefits from fueling and exacerbating contradictions in its Middle Eastern surroundings.

In the northern front, Israel seeks a new agreement that alters the reality and offers more guarantees, which is hard to achieve through diplomacy alone, requiring substantial effort and a “military campaign” to impose a new field reality, followed by political negotiations involving the U.S. The latter aims to keep the anticipated confrontation, which seems inevitable after the Iranian election results and the Rafah operation conclusion, within controlled limits to avoid a full-scale war. This confrontation will likely involve intense remote strikes, targeting command centers, officials, sensitive sites, and vital installations, causing significant destruction, possibly with a limited or deep ground invasion. Israel is preparing to engage in this round with full military and technological capabilities, and it is a mistake to consider it mere psychological warfare. Israel, politically and morally defeated, needs a significant action to restore its regional prestige and rebuild its army’s shattered reputation. Despite the exhaustion and losses suffered by the Israeli army, the likelihood of waging war on Lebanon remains high. Israel’s main dilemma is “neutralizing” Hezbollah’s vast rocket-launching capabilities in the initial, surprise strike similar to 1967, likely relying on its full air and missile capabilities (Global Fire Power ranked Israel 17th globally in 2024, with 612 various combat aircraft). However, Israel knows Hezbollah’s military capabilities are extensive and advanced, employing surprising and unexpected methods, preparing for the worst, reassured by the significant American military presence and Western reinforcements in the region. Both sides know this war won’t eliminate the other; it’s a new, imposed bloody standoff to display each side’s strength, aiming for minimal losses and focusing on the nature and terms of the eventual agreement, likely under UN auspices.

Protecting global supply chains and trade in the Red Sea is crucial, not just for Israel and the U.S., but for most world countries. Currently, there’s no solution to prevent the Houthis from targeting Israeli and Western interests in this sea with their advanced military capabilities. While the U.S. administration believes these attacks will cease post-Gaza military operations, escalation remains possible if Israel wages war on Lebanon. In such a case, the “Guardian of Prosperity” coalition might become ineffective, necessitating a new mechanism to resolve this issue.

Almost everything happening globally is linked in some way to U.S. behavior and foreign policy, wielding many tools of dominance and influence in world events. Simultaneously, the U.S. offers attractive and innovative models of self-critique in foreign policies, acknowledging errors across successive White House administrations. An example is Iraq, where it admitted failure in empowering the new authority and establishing a neutral or friendly regime. Similarly, in Afghanistan, the sudden and “shameful” withdrawal, according to U.S. officials, led to Taliban’s takeover. This likely scenario will repeat in the Ukraine issue after exhausting all conflict management tools and methods. The problem is these colossal mistakes’ repercussions are borne by other parties and countries, resulting in very costly and irreparable consequences.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.