The entire world followed the US presidential elections. The United States is a nuclear superpower, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and has a significant impact on global political and economic processes even in a multipolar world, where the influence of other players is growing: China, Russia, India, Turkey, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union. What problems will the new administration focus on first? This article analyzes the ten most pressing issues for Ukraine and the world that deserve the attention of the United States.
- Searching for a vaccine against coronavirus
Today, the most pressing issue for the whole world is the search for a vaccine against coronavirus. The world expects the United States to take a more active part in this process. In September, the United States and the Russian Federation refused to join the World Health Organization's Covax initiative, which aims to raise $ 1.4 billion for coronavirus research and vaccine development and testing. More than 180 countries, including China, are Covax members. By September, they managed to raise $ 700 million from private donors, and by 2022 pharmaceutical companies from around the world plan to produce 2 billion injections.
US participation in Covax could accelerate the search for a cure. The pharmaceutical industry in the United States is one of the most developed in the world, and the share of American manufacturers in the world drug market exceeds 40%. Americans already have some groundwork in coronavirus research. Washington has pledged to produce the vaccine by the end of 2020. Until recently, the White House advocated the termination of participation in the World Health Organization, financing of its activities, with which Congress disagrees.
- Free trade
The question of the resumption of White House participation in free trade initiatives remains open. In January 2017, the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, which included tariff cuts between the United States and Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, and Vietnam, which account for 40% of the global economy. In 2013-2016. The US and the EU negotiated the "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership", in 2018 - a free trade zone. The UK, which has formally ceased to participate in the EU, is interested in continuing negotiations on an agreement on a free trade zone with the United States.
The world expects the end of the trade war between the United States and China, which caused losses for American companies in the amount of $ 1.7 trillion and affected the decline in global economic growth by 0.5% in 2019. It is not profitable for American high-tech companies to increase duties on trade with China since they have moved their production facilities to this country. The PRC has a cheap labor force, and this allows businesses to reduce production costs.
- Open borders for migrants
Those wishing to move to the United States for permanent residence are interested in liberalizing the migration regime. After 2016, the US authorities restricted the admission of migrants and refugees. In 2020, it was planned to accommodate 18 thousand refugees in America, which is the lowest figure since 1980. In October 2020, the U.S. government decided to issue the H-1B long-term visa exclusively to high-paying job seekers, closing borders to middle-income professionals so they would not take jobs from Americans.
According to Jay Srinivasan, an immigrant from India and co-founder of atSpoke startup company, Jay Srinivasan, people who moved to the United States on an H-1B visa often create their own firms and hire graduates of American universities, and issuing these visas to a larger number of specialists will create 1.3 million new jobs and increase the country's GDP by 158 billion dollars until 2045. Programmers and other high-tech industry workers migrate on the H-1B visa.
- Nuclear Deal with Iran
The European Union wants the United States to return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Action Plan for Iran to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions. The United States, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, China joined the nuclear deal. Iran increased its oil exports from 900 thousand to 2.6 million barrels per day from November 2015 to May 2016. Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, and Greece have become the largest trade and economic partners of Iran.
In 2018, the United States ended its involvement in the nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic's oil, financial, and construction sectors. From 2018 to 2019, Iranian exports to the EU fell from € 10.1 billion to € 700 million, and Iran’s behavior in the Middle East became more provocative and aggressive. This issue affects the energy interests of Europe, which is interested in buying Iranian oil at competitive prices.
- Reconciliation with NATO
NATO partners are interested in the US changing its attitude towards the alliance. The discontent of Canada and European member states prompted the US demand to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP. The allies are interested in the United States guaranteeing their security and providing financial assistance for the needs of their defense sector. In 2017–2020, doubts arose among NATO member countries about America's ability to continue to guarantee their security. France proposed to create a European army within the EU. The President of the European Commission, former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, advocates for a more active EU participation in ensuring international security.
The German leadership opposes the reduction of the 35,000-strong American contingent on its territory, the transfer of some of the military personnel to neighboring Poland. Serving the American military generates income for 12 thousand civilian German citizens throughout the country, as well as for food producers, catering establishments, shops in the settlements where they are deployed. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that the permanent deployment of American troops in countries that have a common border with the Russian Federation contradicts the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.
- Arms Control
In February 2021, the Russian-American Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-3) expires. The treaty provides for limiting the number of nuclear warheads to 1,550 pieces, intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines, and missile-carrying bombers to 700 pieces for the USA and Russia.
This year, the parties tried to agree on the extension of the START III. China rejected the US proposal to join the document. The problematic issue remains the return of Moscow and Washington to the fulfillment of the terms of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles and the extension of restrictions on low-power nuclear weapons.
- Climate protection
Developed countries are interested in the return of the United States to the fulfillment of the terms of the 2016 Paris Climate Protection Agreement, which was ratified by 186 states, including the EU member states. Contributors are required to help ensure that the global average temperature rise does not exceed 1.5 ° C.
The fight against global warming requires a complete change in the economic cycle around the world, up to the rejection of carbon dioxide emissions, from internal combustion engines, the transition to electric vehicles, environmentally friendly production, alternative energy sources. This is promising, but too expensive, even for the States, which stopped participating in the Paris Agreement three years ago. This will cost the American economy $ 3 trillion and the loss of 6.5 million jobs by 2040.
- US intervention in Ukraine-Russia conflict
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expects more active US participation in the settlement of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine after 2020, in increasing pressure on Russia to force it to withdraw its armed formations from Donbas and return Crimea. Otherwise, he would not have conducted a poll on local election day whether citizens support Ukraine's right to use the security guarantees defined by the Budapest Memorandum to restore state sovereignty and territorial integrity. According to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in exchange for abandoning Soviet nuclear warheads, the United States, Great Britain, and Russia pledged to respect the independence, sovereignty, and borders of Ukraine, not to use military force, economic pressure against it, to seek immediate UN Security Council action if our country will become a victim of aggression.
The Russian Federation violated these obligations, as the armed conflict that has been going on for six years shows. If the Budapest Memorandum does not work, then hypothetically, Ukraine has the right to revise its defense policy, up to the revival of its nuclear arsenal, although this may seem unrealistic. The bank made it clear to the White House that it is not against transferring the process of settling the conflict in Donbas from Normandy to the Budapest format with the active participation of the United States, and the UK.
But America does not want to enter into a military-political confrontation with Russia because of the violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and sees a great threat to Euro-Atlantic security from China and international terrorism. A deeper defense partnership between Ukraine and the United States is hampered by American distrust in Ukrainians' ability to keep military secrets. Ukraine shared Soviet military technologies with China, which contributed to the emergence of aircraft carriers in the Chinese navy, spurred the development of carrier-based aviation. The United States even obstructed plans to sell Ukrainian aircraft engine manufacturer Motor Sich to the Chinese.
- Financial assistance to Ukraine
The allocation of funds to the government by the IMF is an indicator of the acceptable level of risk for other creditors, like the World Bank or the European Union, private investors. Presumably, the fund decided to postpone the second tranche, since the Ukrainian government budgeted a budget deficit of 6% of GDP for 2021, which is unacceptable for the lender. The partners cannot but be confused by cases of improper use of international financial assistance by the Ukrainian authorities. Part of the money allocated for the fight against coronavirus went to road works, patriotic films, and additional payments to security officials.
- Defense cooperation between Kyiv and Washington
The question of further US military assistance to Ukraine remains open. From 2014 to 2019, the Americans spent $ 1.5 billion to supply the Ukrainian security forces with Humvee jeeps, patrol boats, radars to prevent shelling, Javelin anti-tank systems, sniper rifles, mortars, and night vision devices. In June 2020, Congress approved $ 250 million in military aid to Ukraine, including early warning systems for sea and air threats, medical supplies for field hospitals, and various drills and programs. The States are going to supply Ukraine with another 150 Javelin anti-tank systems. At the same time, the State Department approved the sale to Ukraine of 16 Mark VI patrol boats and weapons, equipment for them.
Not without roughness. In December 2019, the US Presidential Administration did not agree on the provision of military assistance over the next 45 days, and therefore the decision-making process was delayed for six months. Prospects for further cooperation in this area are darkened by the scandal that erupted in October. It became known that 200 American helmets and oxygen masks for Ukrainian pilots, adapted for Soviet fighters, provided by Major General of the US National Guard David Baldwin in December 2015, were all this time in the warehouse of the airbase in Chuhuiv.
In 2016, it was decided that they do not meet Ukrainian standards, and last year, the Kyiv Avia company was working on the purchase of similar ammunition from the Russian enterprises Teploobmennik and Respirator. This misunderstanding looks like the dismissive attitude of the Ukrainian authorities to American military aid and makes one wonder whether the United States even makes sense to spend budget money on Ukraine if it is looking for opportunities to buy equipment from its military-political enemy.