Photo courtesy of the Daily Dot: Donald Trump smiles for the cameras after delivering a speech.
For the past two months as Donald Trump’s presidency has dominated the American news and the American conscience, the rest of the world has also been unable to drop the news of Trump’s presidency. There have been countries both celebrating and mourning the results of the election since November, and the opinions have only spread and strengthened as the Trump administration has taken its first steps on the world stage. So far, phone call exchanges with Russia, Australia, Mexico and China have stirred both praise and anxiety at home. However, some of the most important reactions to Trump have been overseas, as the rest of the world has become divided by the implications of his administration.
The reactions of foreign nations have come most strongly in response to the travel ban, which has intensified tensions regarding the global refugee crisis. After the executive order was issued, many US allies in Europe felt the need to vocalize their own values and policies in opposition to the ban. German chancellor Angela Merkel was one of the most direct to criticize, saying that leading a fight against terrorism “does not in any way justify putting groups of certain people under general suspicion.” In suit, the French president and the British prime minister also denounced the travel ban and described it as disregarding humanitarian responsibility.
Outside of government statements, the general populations in Europe have also openly opposed Trump’s policies. Across the continent, women’s marches experienced turnouts in the thousands, showing a strong world reaction to the implications of Trump’s election. Furthermore, as a response to the travel ban in the UK, more than a million people have signed an online petition aiming to prevent Trump from visiting the country. However, polls suggest that the responses among the populations of Europe are more divided than might be expected. Despite statements of democracy and solidarity from political leaders, one study conducted prior to Trump’s executive statement of the ban showed 53% of the German population and 47% of the British population in support of Muslim bans in their own country. Although it’s not the same as support for Trump, his policies are not as outrageous in Europe as governments have been enforcing.
In the Middle East, general offense and anger towards the Trump administration was expressed by all of the countries included in the ban, with Iran and Iraq leading counterattacks against the ban’s philosophy. Both have responded with criticisms of the fact that the ban stamps terrorism on entire nationalities, and have put out the threat of banning US citizens from their own countries in response. Trump’s foreign relations in the Middle East have remained a large concern due to these blaring tensions and also his plans to be more aggressive in holding Iran to the nuclear deal.
However, there has also been a surprising amount of support from the Middle East. Lebanon, for example, has a population which has increasingly expressed support for Trump and his policies regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. In other countries in the region, such as Egypt, similar hopes have been expressed about the Trump campaign promises to be more direct and aggressive in fighting ISIS. Social media supporters have even adopted the hashtag “Make the Middle East Great Again,” acknowledging Trump as the solution to ridding the region of terrorism. These middle eastern countries were not affected by the travel ban, and Trump supporters there tend to see his actions as promoting safety.
In Australia, another corner of the world that the travel ban did not find immediate rejection, Trump was quick to stir up tensions. Previously, the Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had released a statement defending the rights of a country to “control who comes across its borders,” being one of the few leaders defensive of the ban. However, on a phone call on January 28, tensions were high. One of the main topics discussed between the leaders was an agreement made under Obama for the US to accept over a thousand refugees who were being held from entering Australia. When Turnbull tried to confirm that it would be upheld under Trump, he was met with unexpected protest. Although the agreement was necessary to uphold as an obligation to an ally, it contradicted the newly imposed immigration order. The call ended on an indefinite note, but not before Trump announced to Turnbull that it was “the worst one yet” out of his many calls that day. Later on February 2nd, he tweeted about the “dumb deal” with Australia. The blunt mannerisms of the president towards one of our closest and most dependable allies have been widely criticized, and as of today the state of diplomacy between the two countries is awkward and strained.
While in many ways he has alienated our allies, Donald Trump is also at work forging new ones, and it seems to be one specifically: Russia. Throughout the campaign, ties between Trump and Putin have been continuously drawn, and interpreted both positively and negatively in light of our two countries’ histories. But whether or not Trump will become a “puppet” of Russia as projected by Clinton or a pioneer of new global relations is unsure. Some believe that the January phone call between Trump and Putin is proof that the friendship may not be long lasting. During the call, Trump criticized Obama’s 2010 nuclear treaty with Russia and claimed that it favored Russia unfairly.
As Trump continues to take bold stances in his foreign relations, the global impact can be felt in our own country. Many fear that the face of the US is changing, some want it to change, and others are resolving to wait things out. Moving forward, Trump’s actions are likely to stay in the spotlight as many of these relations evolve.
By Leah Roffman