For four years, the world’s nations have watched as a very different American president engages with the international community — or doesn’t.
Longtime alliances have been strained, agreements wiped away, tariffs erected, funding withdrawn. Some nations have been the objects of presidential derision. Others, like North Korea, have been on the receiving end of diplomatic overtures once considered unthinkable.
For countries around the planet, the presidency of Donald Trump in its first term has been, it is safe to say, a singular experience to watch. Now that an inflection point in Trump’s time in office is at hand with Tuesday’s U.S. election, what’s at stake if his presidency ends — or if it continues? Nation by nation, how is Election Day in the United States being watched, considered, assessed?
Stay tuned to this file as Associated Press correspondents from around the world weigh in throughout U.S. Election Day with insight and analysis about how their regions view what’s happening in the United States — and what the various stakes might be.
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From Moscow, the U.S. election looks like a contest between “who dislikes Russia most,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is frustrated with President Donald Trump’s failure to deliver on his promise to fix ties between the countries. But Democratic challenger Joe Biden does not offer the Kremlin much hope either.
U.S. officials say Russia interfered in the 2016 election in an effort to help Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton. But the Kremlin has been bitterly disappointed with Trump’s tenure, which saw multiple rounds of bruising sanctions against Moscow.
Still, American intelligence officials believe Russia is using a variety of measures to denigrate Biden and that individuals linked to the Kremlin are boosting Trump’s reelection bid — though Putin has repeatedly denied meddling.
Putin has tried to hedge his bets. Bemoaning what he called Biden’s “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric,” the Russian leader has praised the nominee’s promise to extend the last remaining U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control pact, something that Trump’s administration has been reluctant to do.
In another sign of flirting with the Democratic camp, Putin also said he didn’t see “anything criminal” about Biden’s son’s business dealings in Ukraine, refusing to back Trump’s favorite line of attack against his opponent.
“Biden’s chances of winning look strong enough for Russia to start preparing for that,” Tatiana Stanovaya, a political scholar with the Carnegie Moscow Center, said in a recent commentary. “The negative consequences of the Trump presidency and disappointment in him have led to a more sober and pragmatic approach.”
—Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow
On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, leaders of Israeli settlers in the West Bank gathered in the biblical city of Hebron to pray for victory for President Donald Trump.
It was a highly symbolic move by the settlers, who have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the president’s Mideast policies.
Monday’s gathering took place in front of a holy site revered by Jews and Muslims as the burial place of the biblical patriarch Abraham, a gesture to the Trump-brokered deals between Israel and Arab countries known as the “Abraham Accords.”
“We are grateful for his first term, and we pray that he may be elected for another four years of blessed endeavors,” said Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, mayor of Hebron’s ultranationalist Jewish community.
It was almost certainly the first time settler leaders, long ostracized by the U.S., have publicly prayed for victory for a sitting American president.
But Trump is unlike any of his predecessors. He has embraced Israel’s religious and nationalist right wing and showered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a string of diplomatic gifts: withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, offering a Mideast plan that would allow Israel to annex large swaths of the West Bank, including all of its settlements.
Netanyahu, while careful not to openly take sides, made little secret of his preference when he said this week he hopes Trump’s policies “will continue in the coming years.” The Palestinians, sidelined and humiliated by Trump, have been even clearer that they are pulling for Joe Biden.
The Democratic challenger has already signaled he will scrap Trump’s approach toward Iran and the Palestinians. That has raised concerns in Israel, especially on the right.
Elie Pieprz, an American-Israeli consultant who lives in the Karnei Shomron settlement, said Trump has been a “tremendous success” by rejecting policies of the past. He said, if Biden wins, he hopes he will “learn the proper lessons.”
—Josef Federman in Jerusalem
In Iran, everything feels up in the air ahead of the U.S. election.
Currency markets have frozen awaiting the vote, though the damage has been done already by President Donald Trump’s maximum pressure sanctions campaign. For $1, you can get 276,500 rials.
When Trump was inaugurated in 2017, it was around 37,000 rials to $1.
While the currency collapse has pressured Iran’s government, it’s also destroyed people’s life savings. Goods like medicine, diapers and car parts are difficult to come by — and very expensive when found.
Iran also cannot sell crude oil openly abroad because of sanctions, and jobs remain scarce for its youth. The economic problems have led to nationwide protests in recent years.
Meanwhile, Iran faces what appears to be the Mideast’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus. It has reported some 35,000 deaths, and officials acknowledge the true toll is likely far higher.
Hossein Kanani Moghadam, a former commander in Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard who now works as an analyst, insists America will “continue its hostile behavior” no matter who is elected.
But he acknowledged that he thought Democratic challenger Joe Biden would try to come back to the negotiation table if elected — and that prospect is keeping Iranians glued to the results of the vote.
A music video by an Iranian band called “Dasandaz” ricocheted around the internet in recent days.
“Know that who you vote for changes our lives,” the band sings. “Hey, Joseph, Thomas, Laura, we don’t know why this affects us more than it does you.”
—Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran