The World is in shock and uncertainty at Trump’s victory

U.S.  president elect  Donald Trump
U.S. president elect Donald Trump

Donald J. Trump’s stunning upset over Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States has shocked the world.

His triumph holds the potential for overturning the world order. Criticisms of trade, immigration and international engagement were central to his candidacy. Mr. Trump has professed admiration for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, called climate change a Chinese hoax, criticized the American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and demanded that the nation’s allies foot more of the bill for their defense. (Follow our Politics briefing for the latest from the election.)

“I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone — all people and all other nations,” Mr. Trump said in his victory speech. “We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.”

On Wednesday, leaders reacted to a reshaped world.

Russia, a Winner in the Election

Mr. Putin congratulated Mr. Trump, expressing hope for “a constructive dialogue.”

The Kremlin used the long, tortured United States election campaign to prove the global reach of its disruptive disinformation operations and to cast doubt on the entire Western democratic process.

Analysts saw an opportunity for Moscow to extend its reach and possibly to shed the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe over its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

“Hopefully, with a new U.S. president, a more constructive dialogue between our countries will be possible,” Vyacheslav V. Volodin, a former senior Putin aide who is the new speaker of Parliament, told the news agency Interfax. “Any steps in this direction will be welcomed and supported by the Russian Parliament.”

He added: “It’s important for us that relations between our countries be based on mutual respect and partnership on equal terms, and cooperation be mutually beneficial.”

NATO Reminds America of Its Obligations

Mr. Trump has questioned the value of NATO and demanded that America’s allies pay more for their collective defense.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, noted that such a stance was not compatible with the treaty obligations of the United States.

“NATO’s security guarantee is a treaty commitment and all allies have made a solemn commitment — a solemn commitment — to defend each other,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “We have to remember that the only time that we have invoked Article 5, our collective defense clause, is after an attack on the United States, after 9/11.”

Troops from NATO member countries are also part of the campaign in Afghanistan.

“NATO is important both for collective defense in Europe but also to provide help and play a key role in the fight against international terrorism,” Mr. Stoltenberg said, offering to meet Mr. Trump “soon.”

In Europe, the Far Right Rejoices

Two anti-immigrant nationalist leaders — Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France — cheered Mr. Trump’s victory.

“The Americans are taking their country back,” Mr. Wilders, a lawmaker who leads the Party for Freedom and who faces hate-speech charges in his home country, wrote on Twitter. He called Mr. Trump’s election “a historic victory” and “a revolution.”

Ms. Le Pen, the leader of the National Front in France, and a candidate for the French presidency, congratulated Mr. Trump on Twitter and declaredthe American people “free!”

Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, one of the few European leaders who spoke favorably of Mr. Trump during the campaign, wrote on Facebook: “What a great news. Democracy is still alive.”

Other leaders said only that they hoped the trans-Atlantic alliance would last.

“Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise,” said Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain. “We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defense.”

Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium, addressing himself to Mr. Trump, said in a statement: “I hope that you will continue to lend your support to the European project and help to guarantee continuing security within the NATO framework.”

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, a country where Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular, appealed for reconciliation.

“If Donald Trump really wants to be president of all Americans, then I think his first duty is to fill in the deep rifts which arose during the campaign,” Mr. Steinmeier said.

Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of a prominent group of lawmakers in the European Parliament and a former prime minister of Belgium, called Mr. Trump’s victory “a wake-up call for European leaders,” adding, “Donald Trump has declared several times that our priorities are not his.”

He added: “We cannot be dependent anymore on the U.S., we have to take charge of our own destiny. Europe should get its act together, too, and set its internal differences aside.”

Iran Vows to Maintain Nuclear Agreement

Mr. Trump has called the January agreement between Iran and world powers “the worst deal ever,” and he has vowed to unilaterally abandon it. Under the agreement, Iran has given up large chunks of its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

Tehran’s stock exchange went into a free fall on Wednesday, losing 1,300 points in one hour.

The head of Iran’s atomic energy program told the semiofficial Tasnim news agency on Wednesday that the country would “try to continue to implement the nuclear agreement,” regardless of the presidential outcome.

Iran’s leaders have been expressing pleasure over the political upheaval in the United States. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last week that the presidential debates had illustrated “the crisis America is in.”

One analyst, Farshad Ghorbanpour, who is close to the government of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said he feared the implications for Mr. Rouhani, who has been promoting better relations with Washington. “Our hard-liners will pressure him, they are very happy now,” he said.

Some analysts said the election of Mr. Trump was the result of an “awakening,” Iran’s ideological label for some of the Arab Spring revolts.

Foad Izadi, a professor of international relations at Tehran University, said the awakening had started with the Occupy Wall Street protests. “Trump is riding a wave of Americans longing for change,” he said.

Netanyahu Calls Trump ‘A True Friend’ of Israel

“President-elect Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel, and I look forward to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in our region,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. The United States is Israel’s most important ally.

The Israeli government, which has often had a tense relationship with the Obama administration, has studiously avoided taking sides, but at the same time, Jerusalem has moved to improve relations with India and Russia, and is in talks to develop economic ties with China.

Ron Prosor, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said a Trump victory spelled “the end of political correctness” — long viewed by Israel as a diplomatic bugbear in its dealings with the world over the Palestinian issue. Mr. Prosor also seemed satisfied that there would be “no free lunches” for Iran under a Trump presidency, and that Iran would be called to account for any violations of the nuclear accord, which the Israeli government vehemently opposed.

Uncertainty for a Region Already in Tumult

Across the Middle East, where the United States has a long history of often divisive involvement, many seemed to have no idea how to react to the election of Mr. Trump, since he spent little time during his campaign spelling out his plans for the region.

While the leaders of some American allies, like President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim of Turkey, quickly congratulated Mr. Trump, others took a wait-and-see approach.

Official reaction was scarce from Saudi Arabia, which Mr. Trump has said may no longer be able to count on American defense guarantees and should give the United States “free oil for the next 10 years.”

Syrians, too, said they had little inkling what the vote would mean for the civil war in their country, although many in the opposition had expressed hope that a victory for Hillary Clinton would mean more robust support for the rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. Instead, they were coming to terms with a leader who has professed admiration for Mr. Putin, who is helping Mr. Assad stay in power.

“I am scared, scared for Syria,” said Murhaf Jouejati, the chairman of the Day After organization, an independent body that aims to prepare Syrians for a democratic future. “Here is a man who is openly saying that he is going to defer to the Russians on Syria. This is a clear victory for the Assad regime.”

Many have expressed worry that Mr. Trump’s negative statements about Islam and Muslims would translate into aggressive policies in the region, as well as making it harder for displaced Syrians to seek refuge.

In Japan, Anxiety From an Ally

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had been planning to meet Mrs. Clinton in Washington in February, tried to calm his country, as the yen surged and stocks stumbled. “Hand in hand with Trump, we will try to work together,” he said.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump singled out Japan. He claimed that Tokyo was not paying its fair share to support United States military bases, calling into question the American commitment to defend Japan in case of attack.

Analysts in Japan said that even if Mrs. Clinton was not necessarily popular, she was predictable. “Mr. Trump is a loose cannon and nobody really knows what to expect from him,” said Jeffrey Kingston, the director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo.

A rising China could also put a check on Mr. Trump’s stated ambitions in Asia. “Maybe he will decrease the commitment to Pacific security issues,” said Shin Kawashima, professor of international relations at the University of Tokyo. “But if he carries out such a policy, China will be much more authoritative and aggressive in the Pacific. And then most of the alliance countries and security experts in Washington will be against Trump’s policies. It is a little difficult for Trump to just change all the old policies.”

Mr. Abe’s administration has embraced the security alliance with the United States, while slowly building up its own military capabilities and strengthening ties with Russia. Mr. Trump’s talk of disengaging from the region could embolden those efforts.

South Korea Warns the North Not to ‘Misjudge’

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea congratulated Mr. Trump, citing his “experience with excellent achievements in various fields and his leadership.”

Ms. Park later instructed her government to coordinate closely with Mr. Trump’s transition team to ensure that the allies would maintain strong sanctions and pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program.

“North Korea should not misjudge the solidity of our alliance with the United States and our joint ability to respond” to provocations, Jeong Joon-hee, a government spokesman, said.

Mr. Trump unsettled South Koreans when he said that he might withdraw American troops from their country unless Seoul paid more for their presence. He also indicated that he might let Japan and South Korea protect themselves with nuclear weapons and that he might negotiate directly with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Mr. Trump’s surprisingly strong performance caught analysts off guard, but it was welcome news for those in South Korea who believe that their country must build its own nuclear weapons to defend against North Korea.

China Braces for a Tenser Relationship

Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “We hope to strive together with the new U.S. administration to advance the continued healthy and stable development of Sino-American relations, to the benefit of the two countries and the world.”

Asked about Chinese-American economic relations, Mr. Lu said that the growth in trade and economic ties had been a boon to both countries. “It certainly has brought benefits to the people of both,” he said. “As for certain specific disputes in Sino-U.S. relations, both countries are important members of the W.T.O. framework, and they already have an existing mature framework and model for handling these problems. I’m confident that China and the United States are two mature powers able to properly handle these problems.”

Pressed on Mr. Trump’s remarks that trade with China had devastated American manufacturing, Mr. Lu said that “over the past few decades, Sino-U.S. trade has benefited the people on both sides, including the American people, and has increased employment, rather than the opposite.”

The prospects of a Trump victory had been greeted with ambivalence in China, which has grown more assertive at home and abroad during the presidency of Xi Jinping. Chinese officials had worried about the unpredictability of a Trump administration, and they were expecting a more hawkish United States policy toward Beijing on issues like the South China Sea if Mrs. Clinton was elected.

Su Hao, a professor of international relations at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said that the Chinese government was probably ready for a Trump presidency. “There could be less conflicts between United States and China,” he said. Mrs. Clinton backed President Obama’s “pivot” toward Asia, while Mr. Trump criticized it. Beijing sees the pivot strategy as an attempt to contain China’s rising power.

But Professor Su also said that “a decline of China-U.S. relations is inevitable” under a Trump presidency, predicting: “More frictions on trade would arise during his administration.”

“But in general,” he added, “the Republicans have proved they are capable of maintaining a stable relationship with China. We expect the tie could stay on track.”

Malaysian Leader Lauds Trump’s Upset Victory

Prime Minister Najib Razak was one of the first leaders to offer effusive praise for Mr. Trump.

“The world has watched this year’s presidential election with fascination,” he said in a statement. “At almost every turn, media commentators have been proved wrong and the results anticipated by experts have been overturned. Donald Trump was considered a distant outsider when his candidacy was first announced. He beat the establishment consensus by winning the Republican nomination, and did so again with his remarkable victory today. Mr. Trump’s success shows that politicians should never take voters for granted.”

Mr. Najib, who has stared down corruption charges, added: “His appeal to Americans who have been left behind — those who want to see their government more focused on their interests and welfare, and less embroiled in foreign interventions that proved to be against U.S. interests — have won Mr. Trump the White House.”

A Surprise for India, World’s Largest Democracy

For India, which has become accustomed to the United States’ assertion of power in the Asia-Pacific region, a central question is whether Washington will reduce its military presence.

“If that is called into question, India will no longer be able to rely on the U.S. to be there as a security provider,” said Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow at the Brookings Institution India Center. The result could be more assertive attitudes from China, Japan and Korea.

Mr. Trump’s victory might also have an impact on the about 1.5 million Indians living in the United States, who could feel the effect of anti-immigration and xenophobic sentiment, Mr. Jaishankar said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who formed a notably warm relationship with President Obama, is a pragmatic leader who will have little difficulty connecting with Mr. Trump, Mr. Jaishankar said.

In a panel discussion broadcast on the NDTV news channel, Leela Ponappa, a former deputy national security adviser, spoke about the uncertainty across Asia. “Trump is going to add to those uncertainties,” she said. “What happens to the Japanese alliance? What happens to the Korean alliance?”

Australia Says United States Has ‘No Better Friend’

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reassured his people that “Americans understand that they have no stronger ally, no better friend, than Australia.”

Mr. Turnbull said the American role in the Pacific region had underpinned stability, economic growth and a rules-based order, a term he and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have used when discussing the resolution of disputes with China over territorial and fishing rights in the South China Sea.

“I have great confidence that all of our engagement will continue to be strong and intimate, filled with the trust and confidence that has characterized it for so many years,” Mr. Turnbull said.

NY Times



One response to “The World is in shock and uncertainty at Trump’s victory”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    Yup … everyone nervous and wondering … some kissing ass in their own particular ways. 😉

    Americans should get lessons on the fact a darker tone skin doesn’t mean ‘black American-African’.

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