In 2020, the United States Studies Centre is focussed on two research questions:

  1. What is the trajectory of American power, politics and prestige?
  2. What are the implications for Australia?

In this collection of short essays, the United States Studies Centre’s scholars and experts address these questions under two scenarios — a second term for President Trump, or a Biden administration — examining a wide array of policy domains, as befits the broad expertise at the Centre.

Unsurprisingly, the future course of US foreign policy and defence figures prominently in this collection of essays. One of the most important successes of the Trump administration has been cementing the realisation that the United States and China are engaged in a struggle for primacy, with a return to “great power rivalry” now a cornerstone of US strategic thinking.

Across the United States Studies Centre, there is consensus that no matter who wins the 2020 election, this contest between the United States and China will (a) continue to be the most significant driver of US foreign policy for the foreseeable future, (b) be the single most important tension in global affairs, (c) continue to grow in scope, encompassing trade and investment, research and development and elements of civil society. The implications for Australia are immense, as highlighted throughout the essays.

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