Around the world, Biden is the preferred choice for U.S. president, global experts tell GBJ audience


Akram Shabaani (L), Shastri Ramachandaran (upper right), Kristiina Helenius (lower right)

By FARAH MUBARAK

Global Business Journalism reporter


Most people around the world are hoping that Joe Biden wins election as the next American president on Nov. 3, but for differing reasons, an international panel of experts told Global Business Journalism students on Oct. 6.


Analysts Akram Shabaani from Iran, Kristiina Helenius from Finland, and Shastri Ramachandaran from India described the global disruptions created by U.S. President Donald Trump and described how Biden becoming president would impact their countries and regions as part of the Global Business Journalism Lecture Series on Oct. 6.


Although Trump is controversial around the world, he has made many people more engaged in international issues, the speakers said.


“People are following the news obsessively,” said Kristiina Helenius, CEO of NordicWest USA and the former press counselor for the embassy of Finland in the U.S. “Most people are horrified by what is happening.”


The Republican incumbent has “caused anxiety in Europe,” said Helenius, a former television anchor and reporter in Finland, and has damaged historical American alliances.


“The reputation of the United States has gone down and it has lost much of its glamour,” she said.


Europeans are concerned with issues including economic and security alliances, free trade, climate change, security, and political stability, which they believe that Biden can tackle better than Trump. Although many Europeans may not be very excited about the former U.S. vice president and may see him as a “mediocre” politician, the Democratic nominee is seen as the “voice of reason.”


“His role is to take over and guide the ship safely to a harbor,” Helenius said.


Shastri Ramachandaran, a leading Indian journalist and China expert, said Trump’s withdrawal from multilateral agreements such as the Paris climate change accord has had a negative impact on countries large and small.


“The world has more to gain if Joe Biden is elected,” Ramachandaran said. “America’s relations with its closest friends have deteriorated drastically in the past four years.”


A new president would also impact China-India relations, he said. While Trump “wants to keep India on edge in its relations with China,” Ramachandaran said Biden may be able to bring more stability to the situation because he has more experience in international affairs.


The guests said Biden offered hope of resuming America’s previous role as a supporter of global multilateralism. Specifically, Biden has pledged to recommit the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal abandoned by Trump.


While Biden likely will not be “as easy as Obama” on Iran’s government, said Akram Shabaani, chief correspondent for Eghtesad online in Tehran, he is more willing than Trump to engage with Iran. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal led to slower economic growth and higher inflation in Iran. Many Iranians hope for better relations with the U.S., she said, but they have little hope for improvement under Trump.


“Most Iranians think he’s unreliable, just gives words,” said Shabaani, a Global Business Journalism program graduate.

Akram Shabaani discusses the global impact of the U.S. presidential election

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