Global leaders react to Trump surprise

Global leaders react to Trump surprise
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE’s presidential victory sent leaders around the globe reeling on Wednesday as many wondered whether the first-time politician would carry through with his dramatic reinterpretation of the United States’s international role.

Trump, who will take the helm of the world's most powerful nation without any prior government experience, has frustrated foreign policy experts in the U.S. and abroad for espousing a quasi-isolationist worldview that calls for disengagement from many global institutions.

On Wednesday, some leaders approached Trump’s election apprehensively, wondering whether he meant what he previously said. Others have interpreted it as the beginning of a global realignment, with an outcome that is yet to be determined.

Trump’s improbable victory was a “huge shock,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on broadcast network ARD.

“Of course we Europeans, as a NATO ally, know that if Donald Trump becomes president, he'll ask: ‘What are you contributing to this alliance?’” von der Leyen said, noting the president-elect’s distrust of organizations including NATO.

“But we're also wondering, what's your position on this alliance?” she added. “There are many questions yet to be answered.”

Leaders of some of the U.S.’s closest allies, including Canada and the United Kingdom, promised continued warm relations with Washington, no matter the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

“Canada has no closer friend, partner, and ally than the United States,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. “We look forward to working very closely with President-elect Trump, his administration, and with the United States Congress in the years ahead, including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security.”

Others more vocally acknowledged the shock of Trump, for good or ill.

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency claimed that the Wednesday morning result left Americans “confused about where the country will go” and filled with “anxiety, bewilderment and desperation.”

“The probably most divisive and scandalous election in American history has eroded voters' faith in the two-party system, as many voters called it a game of money, power, and influence,” it added.

French Ambassador to the U.S. Gerard Araud on Twitter called the election “the end of an era, that of neoliberalism.”

“After Brexit and this election, everything from now on is possible," he added in a separate message, referring to Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union. “A world is collapsing before our eyes. Vertigo.”

Araud later deleted both tweets.

Russian lawmakers at the State Duma, meanwhile, reportedly burst into applause at the news of Trump’s election.

Trump has shown a fondness for Russia throughout the campaign, despite federal officials' claim that Moscow had been hacking into U.S. political organizations to influence the election. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Trump’s victory would lead to a stronger bond between Washington and Moscow.

Putin was hopeful to change the U.S.-Russian relationship “from a state of crisis,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

And Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s archconservative National Front party, said that Trump’s victory confirmed “this great movement of the world that sees the return of the free peoples in global concert.”

Right-wing Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett predicted that a Trump presidency would mean more support for hard-liners in his country and an abandonment of the so-called two-state solution.

“The era of the Palestinian state is over,” Bennett said.

The foreign policy impacts of a Trump presidency are likely to be profound.

The Republican has expressed skepticism about the U.S.’s investment in traditional military alliances such as NATO or the sphere of protection provided to allies Japan and South Korea. Should he carry through on the promises of his “America first” ideology, it could lead to an escalating arms race around the world, opponents have argued.

Trump has also opposed trade deals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, so any prospects of the U.S. entering into that Pacific Rim pact as currently envisioned appear to have died as of Wednesday morning. 

At the top of his agenda for the first 100 days would be to “renegotiate trade deals and renegotiate military deals,” he told The Washington Post in April.

In his victory speech past 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Trump appeared resolute in his position, though he offered it with somewhat a softer edge.

“I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone — all people and all other nations,” Trump said.

“We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.”

South Korea called an emergency session of its national security council on Wednesday to discuss the results of the U.S. election.

A spokesman also warned North Korea not to “misjudge the solidity of our alliance with the United States,” in a recognition that ties may appear to have become strained.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg appeared to discourage Trump from divesting in his security alliance, imploring him that “U.S. leadership is as important as ever.”

Trump has also railed against the international nuclear deal with Iran, which sets limits on Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

“My No. 1 priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran,” he promised at the AIPAC convention in Washington in March.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, however, has suggested it may not be that easy.

“The results of the U.S. election have no effect on the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Rouhani said. He suggested the U.S. election alone would not be able to force Tehran back to the negotiating table.  

“Iran's policy for constructive engagement with the world and the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions have made our economic relations with all countries expanding and irreversible.”

Mexico City may be at odds with the Trump administration more than any other capital due to the president-elect’s repeated insistence on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and demanding that Mexico pay for it.

Trump’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was widely scrutinized earlier this year and started a brief spat on Twitter between the two men, who will soon meet as mutual heads of state.

Yet even Peña Nieto seemed to adopt a conciliatory tone on Wednesday morning.

“Mexico and the U.S. are friends, partners and allies,” he wrote on Twitter while congratulating Trump.

“I hope that Mexico and United States continue to tighten their ties of cooperation and mutual respect.”