No. 757

US Elections and their Implications for the Middle East

  • 16 September 2020

The deep-rooted institutional system in the US generally means that when policies are drafted, they remain in place for decades to come, regardless of the political background of the president. However, a strong president can change a particular policy, as long as that change does not deviate from the framework of institutional policy. In other words, the policy is fixed, and the only variable is the nature of the strategies employed to deliver policy. A classic example is how both presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, handled the issue of Iran.

There is no doubt that there may be some change in US policy toward Iran, the Gulf countries and Turkey if the Democrats win the US Presidential elections. However, there will not be radical change; the US will continue its strategic relationships with Gulf countries. Obama’s soft policy toward Iran, which saw many concessions made, might see a comeback, albeit to a lesser degree than during the Obama presidency. As for tackling the Muslim Brotherhood group, Trump has not done much in this regard, and this trajectory will likely remain.

It is difficult to anticipate who will win the US Presidential elections, as the country is experiencing a sharp bipartisan and ideological divide. The Democrats’ problem is not Trump, but their own weak candidate. The winning presidential candidate will be determined by the swing states, which number no more than seven. Events could change the balance at any time. What is sure, when looking at elections historically, is that the outcome of the vote will be contested regardless of who wins, whether Trump or Biden.

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LECTURER

Wednesday 16 September 2020

9:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Wednesday 16 September 2020

9:00 pm - 9:30 pm