“Most people globally are keen to be rid of Trump. Yet a far-right minority likes Trump and has become more committed to him.” That succinct headline pretty much crystalizes the choices voters are facing in this presidential election, but it wasn’t published in any of the leading United States news outlets. It comes from the daily U.K. newspaper The Guardian.
U.S. presidential elections always are of interest to the global community, but never more than this year. Donald Trump, according to The New York Times, “has dominated news cycles and frayed nerves in almost every corner of the earth like few leaders in history. The world is on tenterhooks waiting to see whether the United States will choose to stay that rocky course.”
In an opinion piece in the Guardian, Cas Mudde, a professor of international studies at the University of Georgia, said, “As Donald Trump fights to win a second term, most of the world cannot wait to see him go. A recent Pew Research poll of 13 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries found Trump was the least trusted world leader. Only 16% of respondents said they had confidence in Trump “to do the right thing in terms of world affairs”, ranging from 9% in Belgium to 25% in Japan, with even Xi Jinping (19%) and Vladimir Putin (23%) scoring higher.
Most of western Europe wants Trump to lose the election. A recent YouGov poll in seven countries – Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden – shows that only some 15% hope Trump will win. Across the continent, a Trump reelection would signal that the U.S. is giving up its leadership role on the world stage.
In Ukraine, where Trump’s demand for political dirt on Biden got him impeached, there are worries that in a close election Trump could make another “perfect” phone call to President Volodymyr Zelensky to ask for another favor, a congratulatory message to bestow legitimacy on a premature claim of victory.
In China many are referring to the presidential campaign as “an embarrassing battle between two geriatrics, with one magazine, Caijing, asking, “Why does the American presidential debate look like a quarrel in a wet market?”
But President Xi Jinping appeared to be taking a direct shot at Mr. Trump last week when he said, “In the contemporary world, any unilateralism, protectionism or extreme egoism will never work.”
In Russia pro-Kremlin news organizations have played up the possibility of violence and chaos, allowing commentators who depict American democracy as rotten to the core to declare the campaign an “I-told-you-so” moment.
“Is America one step away from civil war?” read a headline in Komsomolskaya Pravda, the country’s most popular tabloid.
Many Europeans say they fear a more radical and even less constrained Trump in a second term. A Biden presidency, by comparison, would be welcomed as “a return to civilization,” said François Heisbourg, a French defense analyst.