By: ANDRÉS ARROYO
After the U.S. election was called, and it was announced that Joe Biden won the election, many world leaders went to social media, or made public statements to congratulate the President-Elect. However, there were some other world leaders that didn’t. One of them being President Trump, who has not conceded and is trying to fight the results in the Supreme Court. So it leads to the question when it comes to our neighbors, our allies, and the world: How does the world view America now?
To answer that question, we have to go back five years, starting before Trump’s run for President in 2016. Under the Obama administration, we focused equally on both America, and our allies and foreign policy. We strengthened our relationships with our allies, and distanced ourselves as much as possible from dictatorships. As the first African American U.S. President, he was an icon worldwide. It sent the message that anyone, regardless of ethnicity, can become a great world leader, and that any country can become a great country. We were viewed as the role model that other countries can follow.
But that all changed when Donald Trump became president. During his inauguration speech, he stated that under his administration it would “only be America first”. This sent a message to the world that we would be focusing on ourselves, our benefits, and what makes money, rather than focusing on both America and our allies equally, like the previous administration. It sent the message that America is a big business, not a nation, resulting in backlash from international journalists.
That backlash amplified, and even drew laughter from the world when he began to attack the press as “fake news” while praising networks like Fox News who always give him good coverage, tweeting a lot, playing more golf than any other U.S. President, having long press conferences, and insulting world leaders. Here was what Trump said to the press when he invited the President Macron of France to the White House:
“We do have a very special relationship. In fact, I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off.”
– Donald Trump, 4/24/2018.
His behavior not only offended other world leaders, but also got world leaders to laugh and mock Trump at the NATO Summit. In a hot mic clip, here was what U.K. P.M. Boris Johnson, U.K. Princess Anne, Canada P.M. Justin Trudeau, Dutch P.M. Mark Rutte, and French President Emmanuel Macron said about Trump.
“Is that why you (referring to Trump) were late?”
– United Kingdom P.M. Boris Johnson
– French President Emmanuel Macron
“He was late because he (Trump) takes a forty minute press conference off the top every time. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Forty minutes, He announced – ”
– Canada P.M. Justin Trudeau
– French President Emmanuel Macron
“Fake news media!”
– Dutch P.M. Mark Rutte
“I just watched his (Donald Trump) team’s jaws drop to the floor.”
– Canada P.M. Justin Trudeau
What this hot mic moment means is that the rest of the world and their political leaders think the U.S. President is incompetent. These world leaders are in effect saying that Donald Trump is incompetent, disrespectful, doesn’t have a clue, and that they are genuinely shocked that he was elected President. At this point, we went from being the role model for the rest of the world, to the laughing stock of the world.
Then, our reputation took a turn for the worst in 2020, as the Trump administration has not only overturned a lot of what the Obama administration did, but also has pulled us out of international organizations that most of our allies are part of, like the Paris Climate Agreement and withdrawing from the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) amid the Covid-19 pandemic that the Trump administration has poorly responded to and continues to downplay. Thus, leaving us on our own, without allies, to combat the pandemic. Now the United States has by far the worst response to the pandemic, with the highest number of cases and deaths, and a “dark winter” projected to come. All this happening while Trump has praised dictators like Putin, Kim Jong-un, Bolsonaro, and Jinping.
Then, America’s reputation hit its lowest point. On May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was unjustly killed by police officers in Minnesota over a possible counterfeit $20 dollar bill, sparking protests across the U.S. calling for police reform and an end to systemic racism. The movement spread across the world, with protests in countries like Argentina, Mexico, Australia, and Canada. While protests were respected and peaceful in other countries, Trump’s administration saw these mostly peaceful protesters in America differently. Trump called these protesters Antifa members and “anarchists”, and ordered the National Guard to respond aggressively to the protesters and “dominate the streets”, at one point ordering the National Guard and Secret Service to violently clear out peaceful protesters for a photo-op at the nearby Church in D.C.. Meanwhile, the current administration called pro-Trump protesters against Covid lockdown restrictions “patriots”. A huge double-standard when it comes to freedom of speech.
And as election day came closer, Trump lashed out falsely claiming mail-in ballots can lead to voter fraud. And in the debates, he behaved like an authoritarian who believed only he knew how to run the nation and the election should be negated. The GOP stood by him, and GOP governors have tried to implement laws that would make it harder to vote; which is basically voter suppression.
For the last four years, the current administration has distanced America from Allies, while the GOP and the Trump administration praised dictatorships. They treated people of other ethnicities as inferior, and called white supremacists “very fine people”. The current administration treated peaceful protesters as anarchists and enemies, while praising protestors that support Trump and the GOP, and have tried to suppress voters that don’t support them, as well as support the rich while the poor get poorer. All of this while the people are still suffering from the pandemic, and are losing their loved ones, their jobs, and their homes.
Entering the 2020 election were no longer seen as the “leaders of the free world”, we weren’t seen as a nation praised for its science, leadership, and acceptance of others and their beleifs. Instead, the world feared for the U.S., its people, and its democracy, as we appeared to be turning into the world’s newest dictatorship. For the last four years, we weren’t praised. We were mocked, hated, and feared.
But November 3rd changed that.
On election day, when we the people voted and told Donald Trump that he is fired, we sent the message that we are not what Donald Trump is; that Trump, his party, and his base, do not reflect the rest of America. We sent a message to the world saying: no, we are not going to be led by a “fanboy dictator”, no we do not praise dictatorships, no we are not a racist country; and yes, we will put great effort in fixing the systemic racism issues in this country, yes we will rebuild the ties we have with our allies, yes we will make our voices heard, yes we will lead the way in science again, and yes, we will be the great role model for the world again. We sent a message to the world that we made a mistake making Trump president, and that now we will try to repair the damage he has caused.
And the rest of the world has for the most part been accepting of this message. Many leaders, from Canada’s Trudeau, the U.K.’s Johnson, France’s Macron, and Israel’s Netanyahu have already called and congratulated Joe Biden on becoming President-Elect, or have gone to social media to congratulate him.
“I look forward to working with President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.”
– Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
“The Americans have chosen their President. Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!”
– Emmanuel Macron, President of France.
“Welcome back America!” – Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.
As for México’s López Obrador and México, our southern neighbor, the President is taking a neutral approach amid the Trump campaign lawsuits and statement that they will contest the results in Court, as he obviously doesn’t want to worsen the already strained relationship between the U.S. and México that was created under Trump. This shouldn’t be surprising as México has been a target of Trump and his rhetoric when it comes to trade, immigration, racist comments like calling Mexicans “rapists”, and just about everything else. Despite backlash from American politicians and journalists in both countries who accuse him of fueling Trump’s state of denial that he lost the election, he still is trying to remain neutral.
“I can’t congratulate one candidate or the other. I want to wait until the electoral process is over.”
– Andrés López Obrador, México President.
And as for the world dictators, they have either not commented on the election, or have refused to recognize Joe Biden as President-Elect. This is no surprise, as the President has built closer ties with dictatorships throughout his presidency, and has been criticized as a “wannabe dictator”. Only one dictator, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, has recognized Joe Biden’s victory.
“The Democratic Party hasn’t won. Donald Trump has lost.”
– Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela President*.
However, the presidency is debated between Maduro and Juan Guaido, and Maduro isn’t recognized as Venezuela’s President by the U.S. and many of our allies. So we won’t be working with him on anything.
So how does the world view the United States now?
After voting Donald Trump out, we are viewed once again as a role model that with checks and balances, democracy will win. We are viewed as an example that, although there is bad in this world, there is more good. We have regained our reputation of being the leader of the free world again. Will our good reputation continue under Biden and Harris? As of now, they plan to keep our good reputation going, and repair our strained relationships with our allies. So far, we are right now going back in the right direction as inauguration day gets closer. And, for the bright future that we all hope for, let’s hope we stay on the right path for good.