The Indian dilemma . . .
Over the past four years, Donald Trump and Narendra Modi have rubbed shoulders on more than one occasion, with the U.S. and India now closer on military and economic terms than ever before. A Biden Administration may cause tensions between India and the U.S. on issues such as Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act. Still, New Delhi and Washington are likely to rekindle collaboration on climate change issues and resume talks on immigration and trade. Some have expressed concern that a Biden Administration, which is expected to take a more diplomatic approach to China and the Indo-Pacific than its predecessor, could risk the current Indo-U.S. friendship. But the balance of political opinion is that the American election's final result will not unravel the existing U.S.-India friendship.
Japan’s Pragmatic PM Suga . . .
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s relationship with President Trump began as non-existent, but ended in a warm bromance. And that may be an indication of things to come under Prime Minister Suga, who spent years as Abe’s ‘right-hand-man.’ Suga will be keen to continue the current positive relationship with the North American superpower, and would likely visit Biden earlier in the new year should Biden capture the White House. Japan’s close economic and security relationship with the U.S. leaves little room for Japan to show indifference. Suga may have an opportunity to raise a discussion around the U.S. joining the CPTPP if Biden is confirmed.
Domestic issues and China relations will inform future U.S. engagement . . .
Like India and Japan, countries throughout the Asia Pacific consider domestic issues and their relationship with China as part of their calculus in interpreting the U.S. election and their future engagement with the U.S. For example, Biden may be favoured in South Korea for his potential to ease trade relations with China, end threats to remove 30,000 U.S. troops in Korea unless Seoul pays more, and support closer South Korea-Japan ties. But there are also concerns that Biden could freeze relations with North Korea. While views on Trump and Biden differ throughout Southeast Asia, in 2021 the region will be dealing with a U.S. that has lost ground and respect in the Asia Pacific over the last four years.
- Asia Media Centre: Asia perspectives on US Election 2020
- CNN: What India thinks of the US election
- The Diplomat: Southeast Asia braces for US elections and a possible second Trump term