How they see us: President Trump vs. the world
Russia’s parliament erupted in cheers at the news of Donald Trump’s victory this week, and leaders of Europe’s far-right parties celebrated in exultant tweets, seeing Trump’s win as a triumph for their anti-immigration movements. Elsewhere, the news was greeted with dismay: Gérard Araud, French ambassador to the U.S., declared that the world was “collapsing before our eyes.” European leaders offered their customary congratulations to the president-elect, with both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May emphasizing their nations’ close ties to the U.S. Yet behind the scenes, America’s partners are panicking, because “they do not know what is going to happen to them,” said Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany). The U.S. has undergone a “populist and economic nationalist insurrection,” and the candidate who lambasted NATO and other U.S. obligations throughout the campaign is now leader of the West. Trump’s presidency will “dramatically redefine international power structures,” said Anna Caldwell in The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Japan, South Korea, and the Baltic nations will have to reconsider their defense strategies, because Trump has warned that they may not be able to count on U.S. assistance in the event of war. China and Russia, meanwhile, “will both be considering how far they can push their power.”
Russia should celebrate, said Alexander Rahr in Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia). Trump has promised to work with us for better relations. We foresee the removal of U.S. missile defense systems from eastern Europe, and “the Poles and the Baltic states will have to turn tail and adapt.” Ukraine, which was hoping for weapons from a President Clinton, will instead have to make peace with its breakaway eastern regions. We can also expect Trump to pressure Europe to lift the onerous sanctions it placed on Russia after the 2014 annexation of Crimea. For China, the Trump presidency is uncharted territory, said the Global Times (China) in an editorial. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to raise tariffs on imported Chinese goods and to spark a trade war. Yet he may not be bold enough to make good on his threats. He will surely “try to be tough” on China, but he should be aware that China will always defend its own interests with strength. “If Trump wants to target bilateral trade, he should first weigh the consequences of China’s countermeasures.”
The American people have chosen “the path of racism, hatred, and intolerance,” said El Universal (Mexico) in an editorial. During Trump’s vicious campaign, Mexico and Mexicans were his punching bags, and “nothing good can be expected during his administration for the millions of Mexican nationals who live in the U.S.” Those who supported Trump, a bare half of Americans who voted, long to return the U.S. “to the days of white supremacy.” We can only hope they fail. “Now more than ever, the rest of the world must stand as a dam” against a coming flood of ugliness.
Finding the good in our politics
The Jerusalem Post
Thanks, America: Your behavior over the past year has made Israel look like a democratic paradise, said David Weinberg. The nastiness of the U.S. presidential campaign has appalled the entire world and given Israelis a new appreciation for their own system. We used to complain about our fractious parliament, with its proliferation of fringe parties, but at least our voters get more than two choices. Tens of millions of Americans can only wish “that they had a serious third-party candidate.” We have sometimes cringed when our politicians accused one another of fascism or corruption, but here, “no one mixes female hygiene, the size of male organs, and other deplorables into political discourse.” Nor have Israelis ever questioned the legitimacy of our democratic institutions or our electoral system, not even in 1996, when Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party beat Shimon Peres’ Labor by less than 1 percentage point. Most important, Israeli elections produce intense debate about the serious issues, like security and immigration. We passed universal health care ages ago, and you’ll notice that we had our first female prime minister, Golda Meir, back in 1969. And yet Americans have always been so full of advice for us. “Hey, American friends, get your act together before hectoring Israel.”
Erdogan’s coup is complete
The regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given up all pretense of being democratic, said Yetvart Danzikyan. Each week brings a new emergency decree, a new wave of arrests, and new shutterings of newspapers and TV stations. The crackdown reached its apex last week with the arrest of the editor-in-chief and 14 other journalists at the nation’s most reputable independent newspaper, Cumhuriyet. The raid horrified even those who disagree with the paper. It’s as if U.S. marshals burst into The New York Times and hauled away the entire editorial staff, declaring them enemies of the state. The regime says the journalists had links to U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it blames for orchestrating last July’s failed coup attempt. But authorities offered no evidence to support that claim, so it seems the journalists’ real crime was airing the views of the opposition. Just as bad was last week’s arrest of the two Kurdish co-mayors of the Diyarbakir, the largest city in the Kurdish-dominated southeast. Erdogan replaced them with his own appointee, effectively telling the Kurds that their votes are meaningless. “Clearly, this no longer has anything to do with the fight against those behind the coup.” Instead, Erdogan has carried out his own coup—this one successful.