World considers a Trump presidency, and many shudder
There was also glee from some Russian commentators at how American politics is being turned topsy-turvy in 2016
Following Donald Trump’s breathtaking string of Super Tuesday victories, politicians, editorial writers and ordinary people worldwide were coming to grips Wednesday with the growing possibility the brash New York billionaire might become America’s next president a thought that aroused widespread befuddlement and a good deal of horror.
“The Trump candidacy has opened the door to madness: for the unthinkable to happen, a bad joke to become reality,” German business daily Handelsblatt wrote in a commentary for its Thursday edition.
“What looked grotesque must now be discussed seriously.”
There was also glee from some Russian commentators at how American politics is being turned topsy-turvy in 2016. And in Latin America, Ecuador’s president predicted a Trump win could boomerang and become a blessing to the continent’s left.
However, the dominant reaction overseas to the effective collapse of the Republican Party establishment in the face of the Trump Train appeared to be jaw-dropping astonishment, mixed with dread at what may lie ahead.
“The meteoric rise of the New York magnate has left half the planet dumbfounded,” wrote columnist Andrea Rizzi in Spain’s leading newspaper, El Pais.
“To consider Donald Trump a political clown would be a severe misconception,” said another European daily, Salzburger Nachrichten. If Trump is elected to the White House, the Austrian paper predicted, his ideas “would bring major dangers for the USA and the world ... basically a nationalist-chauvinist policy that would make America not great but ugly, and risk the stability of the international order.”
Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S.-Israeli relations at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said the best word to describe Israeli feelings about Trump is “confusion.”
There are certain parts of him that Israelis can relate to, such as his aversion to political correctness, his tough stance on Islamic terrorism and his call for a wall with Mexico to provide security, Gilboa said.
Trump has drawn concern in China, but not a huge amount of attention despite Trump repeatedly invoking the Asian giant during his campaign to cite U.S. weakness that he would turn around, accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency, stealing American jobs and unfair competition.
Chinese may not be taking his comments too seriously because they believe he won’t be elected or that he’d modulate his positions once elected, said Xiong Zhiyong, international relations expert at China Foreign Affairs University.
“If, hypothetically, Trump became the U.S. president and he held on to his stance and proposals made during the election, China-U.S. relations would be in big trouble in many aspects such as security and economics,” he said. “In that case, the U.S. foreign relations policies will undergo a huge change.”
Thuraya Ebrahim al Arrayed, a member of Saudi Arabia’s top advisory body, the Shura Council, said a Trump presidency would be “catastrophic” and set the world back “not just generations, but centuries.”
“We pray to God that a racist, politically incorrect personality does not win the election,” she said.
“How can he tell Muslim students going there to study he will shut the door in Muslim faces?”
Writing in the Financial Times of London, Martin Wolf summed up the mood of a good share of Europe’s business and economic elite, arguing that it would be a “global disaster” if Trump, who won seven states in Tuesday’s Republican contests, made it all the way to the Oval Office.
Wolf’s verdict: “Mr. Trump is grossly unqualified for the world’s most important political office.”
Japan’s allies should raise their voices to help prevent the birth of a ‘Voldemort’ president in the United StatesMasato Kimura
A Japanese online commentator used much the same language, and likened the Republican front-runner to the evil nemesis of wizard Harry Potter.
Trump’s unexpected political rise reflects “elitism and opposition to globalization, but at its heart is a xenophobia and populism that comes from ignorance,” said Masato Kimura, former London bureau chief for the conservative newspaper Sankei Shimbun.
“Although this is another country’s election, Japan’s allies should raise their voices to help prevent the birth of a ‘Voldemort’ president in the United States.”
In the Mexican newspaper Reforma, columnist Sergio Aguayo compared anti-Mexican sentiments unleashed by Trump to the anti-communist Red Scares of the 20th century, and accused Trump of igniting a “brown panic.”
“We must answer again and again Donald Trump, and make the U.S. government understand that we’re not willing to continue being pointed out as the only ones responsible for problems that are also caused by the United States,” Aguayo wrote.
In Russia, some took delight in how messy U.S. politics have become.
According to Alexander Dugin, a Russian nationalist ideologue with close ties to the Kremlin, Trump “is sometimes disgusting and violent, but he is what he is. It is true America.”