The United States’ status as a leading world power means that its elections impact the entire globe. The election on Nov. 8 drew responses from nations across the world.
Trump received a myriad of reactions to his victory ranging from pledges of support and solidarity to suspicion and, in a select few cases, a call for confrontation. French president François Hollande was perhaps the most confrontational when commenting on Trump’s victory.
Having been outwardly anti-Trump in the past, Hollande has been less than convincing in his rhetoric about Trump, telling reporters that “his excesses make you want to retch,” as reported by French media after a series of comments regarding an Iraqi soldier in 2004. Following that rhetoric, Hollande commented that Trump’s election “opens up a period of uncertainty” and “certain positions taken by Donald Trump during the American campaign must be confronted with the values and interests we share with the United States.”
When commenting about the American election, most countries were diplomatic in stating their willingness to work with President-Elect Trump and their desire to continue good relations with America. Germany’s Volker Kauder, a caucus leader in the conservative party and close advisor to Chancellor Merkel, stated, “Close trans-Atlantic partnership continues to be of central significance for Germany and Europe in the coming years,” reported by CBS News.
In a similar vein, reflecting nearly every country’s reaction, the U.N. released a statement saying, “Today’s global challenges demand concerted global action and joint solutions.” This came among other statements from the U.N. Secretary-General, which encouraged unity and agreeableness, regardless of the candidate, and congratulated Trump on his victory.
Trump received resounding support from people like the anti-islam Dutch parliamentarian candidate Geert Wilder who called Trump’s election to the presidency, “A historic victory! A revolution.”
Perhaps the most important of Trump’s international supporters is Vladimir Putin. Outspoken in his support of Trump from the very beginning, Trump and Putin’s mutual agreeableness even became an issue during the election. Russia was placed under suspicion of helping the Trump campaign by hacking and Trump was accused of “being in bed with” Putin.
In recent years, tensions between the U.S. and Russia have been mounting. With their military action in Ukraine coupled with alleged cyber-attacks and general aggressiveness, Russian – U.S. tensions reached a record high, not seen since the end of the Cold War. Yet with the election going to Trump, Putin at a press conference made a few comments that seem to indicate that with this President-Elect, Russia would be open to restore relations with the U.S.
Putin told Russia Today reporters, “As I have repeatedly said, that is not our fault that Russia-U.S. relations are in that state. Russia is ready and wants to restore the fully-fledged relations with the U.S. I repeat, we understand this will be difficult, but we are ready to play our part in it.” Putin has also been quoted as saying, “Building a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington, based on principles of equality, mutual respect and each other’s positions, and meets the interests of the peoples of our countries and of the entire international community.”
Trump made multiple campaign promises in reference to Russia, including a rollback on U.S. military power in eastern Europe and an attempt to fix relationships with Putin. Yet, as reported in Time magazine, this is easier said than done. Indeed, in order to restore relations with Putin, America would have to make a series of concessions to Russia, which include legitimizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rolling back on military promises in eastern Europe. These are large concessions and are even larger when it is considered that Putin has made it clear that he considers the work that must be done to repair the U.S. relations lies entirely in Americas lap.
The question then becomes how far Trump will go to placate Russia and at what point on that journey Europe countries, many of whom are suspicious of Russian military intentions, will turn their backs on an America whom they see appeasing Russia. Only time will tell.