US election: Europe on tenterhooks

Trump and Biden wooed the last undecided voters this weekend. Biden is still leading in the polls, but his margin has now shrunk in some states. Trump has even overtaken him in Iowa, where he was ahead for a long time. Commentators outline the ramifications of the election for Europe - and warn that things won't automatically be all right again if Biden wins.

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Novi list (HR) /

Hoping for a new beginning

The whole world believes much will change for the better if Biden wins, Novi list surmises:

“Everyone expects new, more cooperative impulses from American policy if there is a change of power in the White House. People are hoping for less autism, egocentricity and rash decisions - and more willingness to cooperate with Europe and everyone else. This is necessary because the world is in a deep economic, health and climate crisis. In the absence of closer international cooperation all states and nations will certainly perish, and even faster than before. And if by some miracle Trump remains president, even he will have to change his policies.”

hvg (HU) /

This virus, too, will remain with us

A single election cannot change all that much in this world, warns hvg:

“With his good political instincts the billionaire from New York marshalled the anti-elitist discontent that has been building up for many years in the world and the US. Brexit, illiberalism in Central Eastern Europe, Bolsonaro's Brazil, Erdoğan's Turkey and the Midwestern states of the US that support Trump under any circumstances are all signs of the fact that the virus is too deep-seated to be healed by a change in the White House. Like a latent infection, Trumpism can continue to exist without Trump - even if the name of the man in the White House is Joe Biden.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

If Trump wins, there would be no stopping him

Kathimerini's editor-in-chief Alexis Papachelas is concerned that the incumbent could win:

“A Trump win would be a big surprise. So would his arrogance, for it would mean he had been able to win despite the huge obstacles and his Covid-19 infection. There would be no stopping him this time. Whatever foreign policy decision he might make, there would be no obstacle big enough to stop him. As a key European leader has said privately, 'a second Trump term would likely mark the end of the West as we've known it.' A Biden administration on the other hand would be a lot like a pre-Trump style presidency; pretty much the classic American establishment on autopilot.”

Ria Novosti (RU) /

Sweet-and-sour temptation

Ria Novosti assumes that the EU states will continue to become more politically independent of the US even if Biden wins the election:

“The policy of aiming for a certain geopolitical and military independence is now fashionable in Paris and Berlin. Under these circumstances Brexit is manna from heaven for the EU leaders who do not want to bow to Washington again. For if London (which liked to act like the overseer of the US in the European political prison camp) is not present, France and Germany can move all of the rest of Europe towards more sovereignty. The Europeans, however, are celebrating this process in a typically sweet-and-sour, cynical style.”

eldiario.es (ES) /

Vote also setting the course for the EU

This is the most important US election for Europe in decades, US political analyst Gustavo Palomares comments in eldiario.es:

“The decision that emerges from this election will affect the main points of the EU's political, social and strategic objectives as set out in the White Paper on the future of Europe presented by the European Commission with 2025 as the reference date. Issues such as the global fight against the pandemic, how to deal with the post-Brexit situation, the reform of NATO, the fight against jihadism, the new immigration, asylum and refugee policy. ... All these (and many other) issues will be decisively influenced by whether Trump remains in the White House or not.”

Snob (RU) /

China has replaced Russia

In Russia there is a debate about how - and if - the US election will affect the tattered relations between the two countries. Hardly anyone sees a chance for a thaw, but the question of how important the US considers Russia to be nowadays remains. Snob explains:

“For every US administration, China is and remains the number one foreign policy problem. Obama was the first to describe China as a challenge, but it was Trump who began a general policy of confrontation with the Beijing regime. Both he and Biden will continue to pursue this course. Putin's Russia, with its sad demographic trend, backward economy and corruption, is no longer the main topic at the White House. But it's still important enough to secure second, third or fourth place.”

France Inter (FR) /

Trump's allies already pulling away

In a phone conversation attended by reporters on the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu refrained from overtly backing Trump's bid to re-take the White House. A number of Trump's allies are already turning their back on him, columnist Pierre Haski notes on France Inter:

“They're positioning themselves for the future that a Biden presidency could bring. Even more surprising was to see Vladimir Putin defend Joe Biden and his son Hunter on Sunday. ... The most crucial aspect here is that he obviously wants people to know. ... These leaders feel the wind is changing, and if Biden wins, they don't want it to be said that they worked against him in the home stretch. Boris Johnson, who has linked his image and part of his strategy to the good fortune of the American president, prefers to stay silent, because he knows that a defeat for Trump will be read as a defeat for him.”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

The world won't suddenly be better without Trump

Even if Biden wins this won't mean the end of all the global problems and Europe can't expect the US to do all the work, Diário de Notícias comments:

“Many Europeans believe that if Trump is defeated, the world will be the convivial place it never was. Consumed by their fanatical hatred for the American president, they don't want to accept that they need to make decisions, especially about China, and to take responsibility for the risk management of their own borders. Trump didn't invent Putin, he didn't create the tensions in the Middle East or the ambitions of Iran and he did not nurture China. Hatred of Trump is a state of mind, not a policy.”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Alleged "election meddlers" have opposing goals

According to US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Iran and Russia have gained access to voter registers in order to influence public opinion. Radio Kommersant FM can't imagine that the two countries are working together:

“According to the intelligence services, the Russians have access to voter lists and can use this information to 'sow chaos and undermine trust'. But it's strange that Russia and Iran are mentioned in the same breath. And if you look more closely, the interests of Moscow and Tehran in the November 3 election are diametrically opposed. We would be more interested in a continuation of Trump's policy of isolationism, whereas the Iranians would want to see a new version of the nuclear deal that was signed under Obama and canceled by the current administration.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

A victory for Biden could cause problems for Turkey

Turkey needs a strategy for the event that Trump loses the election, Daily Sabah comments:

“Erdoğan and Trump managed to handle some critical tensions with delicate diplomatic dialogue. The two leaders were successful in preventing [sic!] the mitigation of several problems between the two countries. ... Bureaucratic actors, especially the Pentagon, may constitute some challenges for Turkey in the coming period if Trump is not reelected as president. This may be a reflection of an inter-institutional tension and may have some negative consequences for Turkey. Diversifying players and improving relations with multiple actors should be the most important cornerstone of Ankara's new game plan with Washington.”