The future of the Western world hinges on the outcome of the United States election this week. While Malta seems too far away to be affected by the outcome of an election halfway across the world, Europe’s ties with the US means that we are as likely to be affected by the election as any other European nation.
And with two incredibly polarising figures – Donald Trump and Joe Biden – vying for the top spot, there are the inevitable consequences that you and I will be affected in one way or another.
Here’s how the outcome of the 2020 US election will affect Malta.
Global security is at stake
Under President Trump, the US has pulled away from its global allies and will continue to do so in his second term.
The NATO alliance has long been criticised by the President who has taken aim at member states for not paying their fair share of the deal. As a result, he’s pulled 12,000 troops out of Germany so far.
Another term under President Trump could see the US back out of its NATO obligations in Europe and the recalling of troops around the continent. In turn, this may create a power vacuum and provide an enticing playground for Russia to make a move.
On the other hand, Joe Biden has been a long-time supporter of an alliance system and has committed to meeting with NATO members and bringing the coalition closer together if he becomes President.
This, in turn, would solidify NATO’s alliance and provide further security to the region. It would come at a cost to the US, who has spent much more than other NATO members, but it ensures a buffer against any foreign attacks to Europe – and that’s good enough for Malta.
A Europe-US Trade war could ensue
Trump’s affinity with Europe is fading and the President has threatened a trade war with the region after he signalled the EU for unfair trade practices.
“Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers. And I’ll be honest, the European Union, is very, very difficult. The barriers they have up are terrible, in many ways worse than China,” he said last year.
A trade war would be damaging to both European and US economies but CNBC has the EU losing out the most if tariffs are imposed on its exports.
Being part of the EU, Malta may feel the hit.
On the other hand, no one seems to really agree on what economic implications a Biden administration will have on Europe.
A Biden reversal on Trump tax cuts could “potentially pave the way for major tax hikes in the US and excessive labor market regulations that may curtail US trend growth and affect export-oriented Europe,” said Berenberg Bank’s Chief Economist Holger Schmieding.
However, a tax hike and an increase in public spending could prove fruitful for European markets with experts suggesting that a Biden win would be associated with a weaker dollar and “better relative performance for equities outside the US.”
Only time will tell.
The world could be set on a path of environmental disaster or retribution
Whether Biden wins or not, the US is out of the Paris Climate Agreement, marking a major setback in the international effort to stop global warming.
On 4th November 2019, Trump’s administration submitted a formal notice to withdraw from the agreement, the consequence of which will see the world’s superpower choose to not fight climate change.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. It aims to keep global temperatures rise below two degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
On the flip side, Biden has promised to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement if he becomes president, but it won’t be easy.
The US would need to submit a new national emissions reduction pledge and could reinvigorate worldwide efforts to transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
In doing so, it would set an example for other countries and hopefully incentivise Malta to further its commitment to safeguarding its environment in the future – something that should be a top priority for the country.
Bonus: The future of voting could change forever
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a wave of change in how the electoral college works in the US with mail-in and early voting encouraged in order to curtail the spread of the virus.
This, in turn, opens new opportunities to make voting more accessible for many and paves the way for a more efficient voting system in the future. Moreover, an electronic voting system encourages a younger population to vote.
Although the US mail-in system has been somewhat of a jumbled mess, Malta has already embraced new technology for the next general election, including an electronic vote-counting system.
It’s only a matter of time until the island introduces more efficient voting methods, especially for Maltese living abroad and the US is proving to be a testing ground for how feasible this could be.
The Trump-Biden race goes into overdrive tomorrow as America votes for its next president.
Who do you want to win and why? Let us know in the comments below