The authors of this collection consider the most pressing foreign policy challenges for the next US president, and examine how the outcome of the 2020 election will affect these. 

The president will determine how the US’s diplomatic, economic and military resources are invested, and what value the administration will attach to existing alliances and multilateral institutions. 

Whoever sits in the White House will shape the trajectory of the US–China relationship and the global economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as international cooperation on climate action, international trade and technology policy, and health.

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We are especially grateful to Professor Michael Cox, Sir David Manning, Dr Champa Patel, Professor Jack Snyder and Dr Yu Jie for their comments on this research paper. In addition, we are indebted to Dr Robin Niblett both for his comments on this research paper and for his ongoing enthusiasm and support for the work of the US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House. We are also grateful for the constructive comments from several anonymous peer reviewers, all of which have helped to improve our contributions.

We are fortunate to have had excellent support and oversight from Courtney Rice, who has stewarded this project from beginning to end. Thank you to Anar Bata for her research assistance. Thanks are also due to Jo Maher for her incisive and astute editorial work across the entirety of the paper, and her calm and steady support throughout; and to Sarah Bunney and Autumn Forecast at Soapbox for typesetting and design work.

Special thanks go to the institute’s Chair, Lord Jim O’Neill, for his continued commitment to challenging our ideas and making us think harder.

Last, but never least, we wish to thank the individuals, corporations, governments and foundations who support the US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House; and all those individuals who have continued to make important intellectual contributions in our roundtable series and help us to sharpen and refine our thinking. Our work would not be possible without this invaluable support.

The opinions expressed by each of the contributors to this paper are their own.

For more information on the US and the Americas Programme and its funding, please visit