American allies worry US is growing less dependable, whether Trump or Biden wins

Trump does have supporters in Europe, notably pro-Russia populists such as Hungary’s Orbán. But former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised some eyebrows when he argued recently that “a Trump presidency could be just what the world needs.”Johnson is a strong supporter of Ukraine in its struggle against Russian invasion, whereas Trump has frequently praised Putin and said he’d end the war within 24 hours. However, Johnson said in a Daily Mail column that he didn’t believe Trump would “ditch the Ukrainians,” but instead would help Ukraine win the war, leaving the West stronger “and the world more stable.”Bronwen Maddox, director of the international affairs think tank Chatham House, said arguments like that underestimate “how destabilizing” Trump has been, and likely would continue to be if reelected.“For those who say his first term did not do much damage to international order, one answer is that he took the U.S. out of the JCPOA, the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s acceleration of its work since then has left it a threshold nuclear weapon state,” she said during a recent speech on the year ahead.Biden was a critic of Trump’s Iran policy but hasn’t managed to rebuild bridges with Tehran, which continues to flex its muscles across the region.Dalton, a former U.K. ambassador to Iran, said prospects for the Middle East would be “slightly worse” under Trump than Biden. But he said divergence on the region’s main tensions — the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran’s ambitions — would be limited.“No U.S. administration is going to make a serious effort to resolve differences with Iran through diplomacy,” Dalton told The Associated Press. “That ship sailed quite some time ago.”Palestinians and their supporters, meanwhile, implore Biden to temper U.S. support for Israel as the civilian death toll from the war in Gaza climbs. But hard-liners in Israel argue the U.S. is already restraining the offensive against Hamas too much.Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s far-right national security minister, recently said Biden was not giving Israel his “full backing” and that “if Trump was in power, the U.S. conduct would be completely different.”Much like its allies, America’s rivals are not openly expressing a preference for the election outcome.Trump developed a strong rapport with Turkey’s Erdogan, calling them “very good friends” during a 2019 meeting at the White House.Yet Turkey-U.S. relations were fraught during his tenure. The Trump administration removed Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet project over Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian-made missile defense systems, while Trump himself threatened to ruin Turkey’s economy.

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