Many thorny global situations hinge on US election outcome

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FILE- In this Jan. 4, 2020 file photo, protesters demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran. Whether it's framed as American exceptionalism, American interventionism, American global standing, or a lack of it, how the world's foremost superpower moves forward following the presidential election will have a sizeable impact in various geopolitical pressure points and in the time of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

LONDON – Four years after Donald Trump's election reframed how many nations interacted with the United States, the way that the world's foremost superpower moves forward after its presidential election stands to impact many geopolitical pressure points — whether the victor turns out to be Trump or his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.

From Iran to Cuba, from China to Israel, American involvement and influence on the international stage has evolved sharply since Trump took office in 2017. He swept away agreements with some nations, alienated longstanding allies and pulled out of multilateral obligations that he said didn't serve the interests of the United States.

Though the international community has sometimes criticized Trump's ‘’America First'' tenure, underscored by the president's approach to the coronavirus pandemic, there were already places, issues and conflicts where the United States' involvement wasn’t always appreciated — under his predecessor, Barack Obama and other recent American leaders.

Before the pandemic struck, in the beginning of 2020, the most serious global concern was whether Washington and Tehran were on the cusp of a ruinous war that would inflame the Middle East. While that has ebbed, many around the world are watching closely to see what happens next — and who will be living in the White House three months from today.

Here's a look at some key issues whose direction will be, in part, steered by who wins the U.S. presidency.

VIRUS GEOPOLITICS

The Nobel Peace Prize, won by Obama while in office, was something Trump had hankered for himself. But the honor went this month to the U.N. World Food Program. It was a resounding endorsement of a multilateral effort — the United Nations' main message — during a pandemic that has caused serious food insecurity as it engulfs the world.

‘’We are sending a signal to this type of nationalism where the responsibility for global affairs is not being faced,” Nobel committee head Berit Reiss-Andersen said.