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World considers a Trump presidency, and many shudder

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A shopper looked at flat-panel TVs showing Republican front-runner candidate Donald Trump in a news program on the U.S. presidential election’s Super Tuesday at an electronics store in Tokyo today. After the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses in a dozen states, Trump and Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton had tightened their grasp on their party’s presidential nominations.

BRUSSELS » Following Donald Trump’s breathtaking string of Super Tuesday victories, politicians, editorial writers and ordinary people worldwide were coming to grips today 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.

But others have been particularly jarring to Israelis, such as comments about Jews that many consider insensitive and his derision of U.S. Sen. John McCain’s captivity in Vietnam.

“This is something that every Israeli would reject. It’s a highly sensitive issue in a country where prisoners of war are heroes and people go out of their way to release them,” he said.

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.

“Mr. Trump is a promoter of paranoid fantasies, a xenophobe and an ignoramus. His business consists of the erection of ugly monuments to his own vanity. He has no experience of political office. Some compare him to Latin American populists. He might also be considered an American Silvio Berlusconi, albeit without the charm or business acumen,” Wolf wrote.

He also said Berlusconi, a former Italian prime minister and media tycoon, “unlike Mr. Trump never threatened to round up and expel millions of people.”

Wolf’s verdict: “Mr. Trump is grossly unqualified for the world’s most important political office.”

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.

La Jornada, a leftist Mexican paper, ran a caricature of Trump wearing a “KKK” necktie and declaring, “I will make cremation ovens for the Mexicans and Muslims … and they will pay for their construction!”

In the moderate and predominantly Muslim West African nation of Senegal, Mame Ngor Ngom, editor-in-chief of La Tribune, a weekly newspaper, expressed hope that in the final analysis, Americans will not be “so thoughtless” as to hand Trump their country’s highest office.

“We think that the Americans won’t vote for him. They already paid the consequences with George W. Bush. … Donald Trump will fail,” the Senegalese journalist predicted.

In Russia, some took delight in how messy U.S. politics have become.

The popularity of Trump and Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, who took four states on Tuesday compared to the seven won by Hillary Clinton, “bears witness to the crisis of trust in such traditional clans” as the Bushes and the Clintons, wrote Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, in a post on Facebook.

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.”

In Europe, where some also feel their nations are being submerged by waves of foreign migrants and violent Islamic radicalism is a real danger, not all have condemned Trump. Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s far-right National Front, has said that if he were an American, he would cast his ballot for Trump. Laurent Wauquiez, a French conservative lawmaker, today said Trump’s popularity is revealing of a general trend that has traversed the Atlantic.

“What it shows is that in democracies today, citizens no longer want people to tell them what they should think, what they should say. That’s what makes Donald Trump seductive,” Wauquiez told France 2 Television.

In the northern Indian city of Lucknow, one software company executive said he has been impressed by Trump’s muscular rhetoric.

“Trump looks like a tough guy,” said Rohitash Sharma. “He has clarity of idea, and he means business. He has advocated the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, if these improve the protection and safety of the country. He has a clear road map on how to protect his country from extremist forces.”

Though no fan, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said a Trump presidential win could be a political gift to Latin America’s left, which is recovering from a string of electoral defeats in Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela.

“The most convenient for Latin America is a Trump victory, because his rhetoric is so clumsy, so basic, that I think it would awaken reactions in Latin America,” Correa told a group of radio journalists Monday. “I think a guy like him would be very bad for the U.S. (but) for the progressive movement in Latin America, it could be positive.”

For weeks, a Canadian website has poked fun at Trump by inviting disaffected Americans to move to an island off Nova Scotia. On Super Tuesday, as the returns rolled in, searches for “How can I move to Canada” on Google spiked by more than 350% in four hours, Google editor Simon Rogers tweeted. A social media link posted by Toronto city councilman Norm Kelly that gives helpful directions on how to apply for Canadian citizenship received over 37,000 retweets.

Bruce Arthur, a Canadian sportswriter and political commentator, tweeted this after Super Tuesday: “To my American friends, I have an eight-person tent that I can set up in the forest behind my house but you may need your own air mattresses.”

Associated Press writers Ciaran Giles in Madrid, Geir Moulson in Berlin, George Jahn in Vienna, Aya Batrawy in Dubai, Danica Kirka in London, Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo, Jim Heintz in Moscow, Aron Heller in Jerusalem, Lori Hinnant in Paris, Rob Gillies in Toronto, Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City, Biswajeet Banerjee in Lucknow, India, Gonzalo Solano in Quito, Ecuador, and Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this report.

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    • As fer what them smart alec furriners think, jes remember: not only can 50 million Frenchmen be wrong, the almost always are.

      Seriously, the main source of their fear is that Uncle Sam will no longer be such a soft touch, giving out millions in foreign aid, most of which goes to line the pockets of local big shots as the people continue to suffer and then blame the USA.
      Trump threatens to cut off these free-loaders. No wonder they are grumbling.

  • (Obviously) Many people are frustrated with Obama and Congress. U.S. is more divided, middle class hasn’t seen financial improvement, blah, blah … and the folks on the hill have done very little to nothing much. As I heard several times on TV, it’s too bad they can’t add a box on the ballot: none of the above for president.

    • jussayin—agreed, but why don’t we start at home with things we can do here–take our Congressional Delegation and let’s just add up what they have done for Hawaii in the past TEN years??? Yes, that includes Uncle Dan!!!! Anyone get the same ZERO as I do??? (Now, pork is nothing more than a bribe to pass another person’s bill.)

  • Okay republican party… that was entertaining, but let’s stop playing and get serious… control your candidate! Or you gonna make this one easy for the Democrats!

    • Mr Trump is now acting presidential. The establishment can’t handle the truth. Canadians might forget that Trump will approve the Keystone Pipeline.

      • So, what we can have oil at $10 buck a barrel???! As reported by both the Wall Strret Journal and the Economist–two thirds of the energy industry might belly up in the next two years. Think before you speak, sorry, that would require actual cognitive thought….

        • Actual cognitive thought would look past today and tomorrow and see that expensive oil will once again become reality.

        • Actual cognitive thought would defer to actual data that very few jobs will be created in rhe US from this pipeline…

        • boola Suggest you do a little research before commenting. Check the price rise in crude oil today. Why is that? Why are we importing so much oil? U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.3 million barrels per day last week, up by 490,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged 7.8 million barrels per day, 7.2% above the same four-week period last year. Crude in now approaching $35 a barrel. Tell that to the WSJ and the economist.

        • Actual cognitive thought would reveal that the justification for a pipeline is not just about jobs.

        • Is that the best you can do with cognitive thought? We all know that already. Banks with the loans are also in trouble. Something to think about old wise one.

    • Get the feeling this is going to play out like the OJ Simpson trail. Prosecution supposedly had a slam drunk conviction of OJ, however when the prosecution put Mark Fuhrman put on the stand to talk about all the evidence he found against OJ, Cochran and others easily set Fuhrman up as a racist who manipulated evidence so he could get a black man convicted of murder. Demos laying low but when the time is right they will launch a devastating campaign to paint Trump as a racists, and what has said and done in the past tends to support that accusation. For the majority of non Caucasian voters Hillary and Benghazi or her emails will be preferable over racist Trump. Trump like Fuhrman can tone done his outrageous racist statements and actions after the fact, however recordings and videos of the past will come back and bite Trump in his be hind.

      • You are completely correct. And the Dems don’t even have to “prepare” anything for General Election time. The Repugnants are doing all the work right now!

      • If the OJ trial demonstrated one thing it is that Justice is not color blind. In America if you have enough GREEN you can buy the jury and the verdict of your choice. The Cochran dream team made sure to seat a nullification jury that would have exonerated OJ even had he confessed under oath. After that it became a snap to replace OJ with LAPD as the defendant on trial.

  • Other countries, especially those we mistrust the most such as Russia, are LOVING the fact that our clueless, low-information people are supporting Trump. They’re cheering Trump on because they know it’s the sinking of America. Trump supporters will likely say “Well f *** the world! We’ll do what we want!” Okay, but remember … the United States is part of that world that you’ll be f ***ing over.

    • In calling Trump the darling of the low information voters, you too are underestimating him.

      As Vito (“Don”) Coreleone(nee Andolini)told his sons, one can never have so much advantage over another person than to be underestimated by that person.

      Trump drops to his knees very night and offers up prayers of thanksgiving to the Almighty for folks like you.

      DOOOOOOOO by all means carry on.

    • I think that, privately, the world was more shocked at the thought of how a black man could be President of the United States. Of course, they didn’t say it aloud.

  • I think Russia, China and the countries that sponsor terrorist activities are the ones to shudder.
    Here’s someone who can’t be “bought” or teased about a prized job after his term if he cooperates.
    No more saber-rattling U.S. leaders to amuse other countries.

    • Can’t be bought? Nah… DT will just hedge juuuust enough at disavowing a known white supremacist to give his org the idea that he doesn’t really mean it. God forbid he should lose a single vote.

  • It’s obvious that the American public has spoken. America has to take a new direction in the best interests of the people. Much of what Trump talks about is what Americans are frustrated about.

    Immigration, bringing home jobs, having other countries contribute more to their own welfare rather than have American’s foot the bill, allowing undocumented people better treatment than our own citizens, ObamaCare gone bad, poor foreign relations with other countries (Putin likes Donald) …..the list goes on.

    Trump is a businessman. America should be run like a ‘hugh’ business.

    Trump should work on his ‘political correctness’ although he may come across ‘narcissistic’ at times.

  • >>> enhanced interrogation techniques

    We should never call it that. It’s torture, pure and simple. George Bush and Dick Cheney should have been prosecuted for these crimes.

  • The Salzburger Nachrichten, an Austrian newspaper, predicted that if elected, Trump’s ideas would “risk the stability of the international order.” Islamic terrorist groups are tearing apart the Middle-East, North Africa and parts of Asia, Russia has taken over parts of the Ukraine, and Europe is being overrun by Muslim refugees. How can anyone believe the international order is now stable? The Salzburger Nachrichten editors must have had too much Jägermeister to even suggest there is stability in the international order.

  • I’m not sure if i should take news media Handelsblatt Global seriously,or are these guys just plain Nuts! “The Trump candidate has opened the door to Madness’……

    Madness? Are you kidding me? This so called madness exists only in Europe!
    The German media better take hard look at what the Obama administration and Angela Merkle did to the fatherland Germany. They “Cut and Ran” from Iraq and Syria,for it to only backfire and Create the Massive Syrian migrants that are flooding Germany/Europe… Yes indeed!”Madness”

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