The reaction to Trump’s victory has been mixed within Australian politics. Just under half of the population believe that the country should distance itself from the USA, so it appears the majority of Australians agree with Labor leader Bill Shorten. While he respects the will of the American people, Shorten stands by calling Trump ‘bonkers’ – the President-elect’s comments on women and people of colour are unacceptable.
This response could not be more different than that of Malcolm Turnball, Prime Minister and Liberal leader. He acknowledged Trump’s campaign was ‘confronting’, but still sent his congratulations, welcoming the GOP leader’s intention to unite the country. Turnball also vetoed the Green party’s call for Australia to abandon its ANZUS military treaty; the close relations between the countries must continue for the sake of mutual interests, regardless of who is in charge.
Some have approved of Trump’s success – the One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson celebrated, drinking champagne outside of Parliament House. She asserted the win exposes a desire to unseat the establishment ‘chardonnay set’. More explicitly, Liberal senator Cory Bernardi warned ‘intellectuals’ and ‘cultural elites’ are facing the beginning of their defeat; Trump’s victory demonstrates the people taking their voice back. Whether this is true, and how far Trump’s brand of rhetoric will take hold in Australia, remains to be seen.
Australian newspapers did not hold back in expressing their shock at Trump’s election; even respected and usually conservative broadsheets such as the Daily Telegraph led with headlines such as ‘W.T.F?’. The Newcastle Herald was similarly damning, remaking Obama’s iconic ‘Hope’ poster using Trump’s face and the word ‘Help’.
During the following days, the tone has mellowed slightly but there is still significant concern expressed in the papers, particularly over the security situation in the South China Sea. Amongst the Australian public, the mood is also uneasy towards Trump; around two thirds of people in an IPSOS survey opposed Trump’s election. Students that I have talked to are almost uniformly in despair about the rhetoric of division that won Trump his campaign.
Unfortunately, not all students were respectful in their reactions to the election; at an election party at the student bar, a group of pro-Trump students were evicted for cheering ‘grab her by the p***y’. Whether they were serious or merely intending to provoke a reaction, such behaviour is sickening and I hope it does not spread across the university. The major worry for many of the young people I have spoken to is the similarity between Trump’s rhetoric and that of Pauline Hanson. Hanson has recently been elected to the Australian Senate on the back of a xenophobic campaign and there is real fear here that she will grow ever more popular in the wake of this election.
IIn politically complex Brazil, which impeached and removed president Dilma Rousseff in August, Trump’s victory has been greeted with trepidation. Many left-wing Brazilians who hold a negative view of the US due to perceived imperialistic ambitions found it difficult to support Hillary Clinton, anticipating she would merely uphold the status-quo. Nevertheless, Clinton’s interventionist foreign policy platform and links to Wall Street was perceived as less threatening than a Trump presidency for Brazil, Latin America, and the world in general.
Whilst Trump has targeted China, Brazil is the 17th largest supplier of goods imports to the US (totalling $27 billion in 2015); Trump’s isolationism is concerning, particularly given Brazil’s current economic situation. Additionally, with an estimated one million Brazilians living illegally in the USA, Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and hard-line immigration platform does not bode well for Brazilian-US relations.
Concerningly, Trump’s election appears to have legitimised right-wing views that will help extreme politics gain popularity in Brazil, notably embodied by Jair Bolsonaro, a Brazilian congressman who seems to exceed Trump in terms of misogyny, racism and authoritarianism. Since the US openly elected Trump, the prospect of Brazil picking a president in 2018 who has publicly stated that gay people want to “reach our children in order to turn the children into gay adults to satisfy their sexuality in the future,” and advocated military intervention in Brazil’s government, is entirely plausible.
Before the election results had even finished coming through, the Canadian immigration website got so clogged up by American users that the it crashed. That was my first impression of how the rest of this election would go – Canada would be flooded by political immigrants from the US fleeing the tyrannical rule of Donald Trump. This sense of impending doom, made no better by the news coverage damning Trump’s behaviour during the election campaign, only worsened when rumours flew about Trump trashing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Roughly 2.5 million Canadian jobs depend on trade with the US, and 23% of Canadian GDP derived from exports to the US alone; a removal or rethinking of NAFTA could be devastating.
Justin Trudeau has of yet responded amicably towards Trump, vowing to work closely with him. Trudeau has said that, because they are strong, respectful, and listen to one another, the US and Canada will work together amicably. It may take a while on the part of the Canadian population to share Trudeau’s views, considering the fears around climate change, NAFTA, the oil industry and much more. However, the general consensus is a reserved and warily watchful nature on the part of Canada as the nation waits with baited breath for Trump’s next move.
After Trump’s victory, I have observed heated responses to the election at my university in Bordeaux. In an English to French translation class, the Haitian lecturer stated that Clinton was ‘a bad candidate’ – she had to be bad if she lost against Donald Trump. This was not received well by the French students, some of who had brought in their own Clinton action figures.
Seemingly, most people were shocked. I live with students from Poland, Uzbekistan, Russia and Latvia, all of whom thought it would not happen. Their discussions are limited not only to American borders: I have learnt a lot about the political scenes in other countries, as discussions on Trump have led to interesting conversations about other national politics.
The result has captured France’s attention. The Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, took to Twitter to say we must “face this new world, whilst remaining true and loyal to our own values”. Meanwhile, support for the right-wing Le Front Nationale, led by Marine Le Pen, has surged. The French media have numerous articles every day, many focusing on Trump’s lacking concern for climate change and the fact, and fear, that he may attempt to leave the Paris agreement (COP21) using a legal loophole.
Trump’s victory was an uncomfortable one in Austria. While economic consequences and changes to NATO will cause continental tension, this win for populists over moderates is what has made Austrian’s uneasy.
On the 4th December, Austria opens its voting booths for the third time this year to elect their new president. Next month’s vote pits 72-year-old Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen against the far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer. The initial vote in April returned an excruciatingly narrow Van der Bellen win, with less than 1 percent deciding the victor. Yet complaints over substandard glue sealing postal vote envelopes invalidated the result. The October re-run has been postponed until December – on the streets of Vienna, the campaign signs are being cracked out for the third time this year.
The comparisons between Hofer and Trump are clear: anti-immigrant rhetoric, demands for a shrinking welfare state and promises to protect Austrian jobs. Trump’s isolationism and nationalism are equally mirrored in Hofer’s campaign, whose posters read “Make Austria Safe”, and threateningly “Power Needs Control”. Unsurprisingly, soon after the announcement of the Republican victory Hofer made a statement to congratulate his fellow populist’s success.
Van der Bellen was less keen. His speech on the result accepted the decision of the American people but called it a “wake-up call for Europe and the Austrian presidential election.” The press are also hammering this message home, with prominent journalists turning their American commentaries into Austrian warnings. There seems to be a global trend for shock election results, and with one just around the corner, liberal Austrian’s are worried that they too, are about to elect a populist President.
In the days running up to the election, the hashtag “#beentheredonethat” took on a profound new meaning for Germans supporting Clinton. One twitter user wrote an open letter to Americans: “go ahead, vote for the guy with the loud voice who hates minorities… What could possibly go wrong?”. Trump’s use of fearmongering populism and chauvinist rhetoric has not only shocked the majority of the German public that preferred Clinton, but also struck fear into many who are concerned over what this could mean for the USA and the world. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hesitant congratulations to Trump offered cooperation under the condition that their common values would continue to be upheld. Meanwhile, the small village of Kallstadt in Germany where Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf, came from might be wondering whether some publicity is indeed bad publicity.
However, there are a growing number of Germans who share similar views with ‘the Donald’ and vote for the xenophobic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, Alternative for Germany). What is perhaps most concerning for many Germans is that Trump’s election represents the second victory for a conservative, nationalist, anti-establishment movement, which might therefore empower similar sentiments and AfD in the upcoming 2017 German elections.
Greece, a country plagued by its own political mishaps and whose economy is still in a fragile state, has yet again been thrown into a state of uncertainty following Donald Trumps election. Despite Trump, in the past, dubbing himself as the “King of Debt” it is unlikely that he will endeavor to aid Greece in its current plight. Earlier this year during the height of negotiations between Athens and the rest of the Eurozone, Trump went so far as to say the euro was “set up to hurt the United States”.
Further, Trump behaves indifferent towards the economic strains facing Greece in light of the growing migrant crisis, glibly telling American news outlet Fox News that “I’d let Germany handle it…we have enough problems;…This is peanuts for Germany. They’ll take care of it. Frankly, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin probably comes in to save the day, if Germany doesn’t”. These kinds of sweeping statements pose real problems for Greece who’s growing ties with Russia is a continued source of contention in the Eurozone.
In direct juxtaposition to Trump, Barack Obama has taken an active role in Greece’s debt crisis. Ahead of his November 15th talk in Athens Obama, in an interview with Kathemerini, implores the country’s creditors to take the necessary steps that will ensure Greece returns to growth, including “meaningful debt relief”. Opposed to Trump, Obama stated that “the Greek people will have a friend and partner in the United States” a poignant hopeful statement from a president whose days in office are numbered. Like much of the world, Greece is sitting on tenterhooks waiting and hoping Trumps policies do not throw the global economy into a tailspin.
The reactions in Russia to Trump’s election have been overwhelmingly positive as politicians and media outlets alike rejoiced at the news. Vladimir Putin congratulated Trump and expressed hope that they could “work together to remove Russian-American relations from their crisis state,” possibly launching a new era of cooperation.
Prominent Russian politicians have intimated that Trump’s presidency may spell the end for US-imposed sanctions on Russia and lead to joint military efforts in Syria, with one minister saying that “the window is opening and we will use it.” Chief economist at Russian investment bank RenCap, Charles Robertson, noted that “Russia looks perhaps the most obvious beneficiary of President Trump” as there is a high chance sanctions will be lifted in 2017. Thus, Russian people are largely pleased about the election result.
However, liberal commentators in Russia have claimed that Trump is “completely unpredictable” and argue that Putin doesn’t like unpredictability, presenting an uncertain picture of future relations between the two leaders. Despite this, anti-Kremlin politician and activist Ilya Yashin stated that both Clinton and Putin supporters are absolutely sure that this was “Putin’s victory” and that “the Kremlin got its President of the United States”.
In China, I was surprised to encounter a number of people who were vocally pro-Trump. Is this because Trump would be an easier opponent to have in the White House and ensure better relations and less friction between the two? Granted, Trump proposed a 45% tariff on Chinese goods but who knows if he’ll actually be able to get that to pass. This is different to the policy line taken by Obama and Clinton which seems to be willing to confront China on its foreign policy and its growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. When I broached the topic with my Chinese friends and noted that Trump doesn’t exactly appear to look on China favourably, they agreed but also replied, that no American politician ever does. Or perhaps the preference for a Trump victory for some was because it demonstrated the pitfalls of democracy. This presidential election season has been a circus, an international laughing stock. It was Thomas Jefferson that wrote that an educated electorate is a prerequisite to democracy. Without this, it is little more than mob rule. This has increased a sense of faith in their government, which is depicted in the current meme doing the rounds which reads: ‘welcome to China, where you don’t have to worry about an election’.
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