The U.S. presidential election is taking place tonight. Were it a typical election, the result would have been clear enough by afternoon, but this time, it is beyond unpredictable. Many polls are in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden, but his Republican rival Donald Trump is closing the gap in crucial swing states. Ballot counting is expected to face some delay, and it will take an overwhelming, clean-cut victory on either side of the camps to avoid commotions characterized by the candidates’ refusal to accept the result and suits-filing.
The presidential election will be a milestone event deciding which path the superpower will go down for the next four years. President Trump, who rose to power despite unfavorable polling results four years ago, has replaced America’s traditional liberalism and globalism with America-first policy. Internally, the Trump administration showed racist streaks and anti-immigration tendencies. America is standing at a crossroads between further accelerated “America-Firstism” and four years of derailment.
All nations are selfish entities by nature seeking national interests as top priority, and this rule applies to the U.S., the leader of the world. Even if Trump loses the election, America-first policy will go on, only at a different pace. Faced with the emerging powers from outside and extreme discords from within, America will see its future decided by the upcoming election, be it a unilateral challenge or a multilateral war of attrition.
The impact that the election will have on South Korea will be greater than ever. Whoever takes office will likely continue to pursue entrenching the tripartite solidarity between South Korea, America, and Japan, while keeping China at arm’s length through America’s traditional Indo-pacific strategy, which will inevitably exacerbate the woes Seoul is bound to suffer sandwiched between Beijing and Washington. Trump’s reelection could further fuel the pressure on burden-sharing for defense costs while Biden‘s victory might offer some room for Seoul to catch its breath. Depending on the election results, the North Korea policy could morph into yet another choreographing of a “diplomatic show” or a convergence of denuclearization and human rights records.
Democracy is bound to create noise and chaos. It costs a lot of time and money. Against such odds, America has managed to find a new way of putting together the 50 different states into one country and stand tall as global leader. Of course, the election alone won’t necessarily dissipate the fog of uncertainties looming over the global economy at once. This will be a testing time for all. Following the results with a sense of equilibrium, we must brace up for all possibilities armed with thorough analyses.