Foreign policy does not tend to attract much attention in New Zealand elections, which are naturally more focused on life here.
However, events and issues we don't want to think about have a way of demanding our attention, regardless.
A coronavirus from beyond our borders has shaken up our lives in 2020, and a reading of current events suggests more rocky years ahead. Some traditionally stable countries are struggling with challenges and chaos.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have steered a cautious route through international waters in the past term. On current polling, New Zealand will likely soon have a new foreign minister, and that will require someone with experience and diplomatic skill.
We are a small country dependent on trade exports, with a strong economic relationship with China, membership of the United States-led Five Eyes security group, and ties with regional countries and beyond. We have traditionally worked through trade agreements and international bodies. We have tried to maintain a realistic, independent stance.
The pandemic has heaped pressure on global agencies and on notions of international co-operation. It has also accelerated existing tensions between the US and China.
Relations between the two giant powers will remain on edge regardless of who wins the US election in November, and that makes it difficult for countries that have to weave between them.
A win by former Vice-President Joe Biden would at least bring back a more low-key and structured US government that would seek to repair ties with traditional allies and find areas on which to work with a strategic competitor like China, such as climate change.
A new US administration would still have its work cut out improving its own reputation, especially after the Trump Administration's mishandling of the country's coronavirus outbreak. The US is at a very uncertain point politically, and the situation could easily deteriorate further.
A German diplomat told CNN: "There is a huge internal debate over whether we can collaborate with the US anymore, even if Biden wins, because they are just too unreliable."
China has been especially assertive in recent months and its power and influence will only grow. Concerns with China globally include its ongoing treatment of the Uighurs, militarisation of the South China Sea, border tensions with India, the status of Taiwan and the security law in Hong Kong.
China also has extensive economic ties with multiple countries, and maintaining contacts is preferable to any cold war. President Xi Jinping said last week that China planned to be carbon-neutral by 2060. The country has coal power plants in development but also produces most of the world's lithium-ion batteries, solar panels and turbines. It's better for all countries if China can have a constructive role in major issues.
The deterioration in Australia's ties with China, its most important trading partner, has stirred speculation that New Zealand could have trouble sticking to its own path.
In April, Australia bluntly called for an inquiry into the origins and early handling of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. Canberra announced a major military spending increase. The heated diplomatic dispute continues and has included tariffs and claims of spying.
So far this year Wellington has criticised Beijing at times and sparred in a back and forth of views, over Hong Kong and Taiwan for instance, with clear but measured rhetoric. Ardern also dealt with US President Donald Trump's attempts to highlight the Auckland virus cluster with humour.
Our diplomatic approach has to continue with a light touch rather than a heavy hand.