On Thursday, nations across the globe woke up in a world where Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States. The Republican candidate whose campaign thrived on invoking the faultlines in American society will now be leader of the free world, as they say. So newspapers across the world braced for his presidency with varying degrees of shock, glee and would-be good cheer. Here are five countries that watched the election results.
On Wednesday, the Times of India tweeted out the Republican victory using one of Trump’s more regrettable quotes about women. The Washington Post did not fail to take note of how “India’s biggest newspaper” congratulated Trump. On Thursday, the ToI frontpage was more sober, sticking to just one demure pun, noting that Trump won in spite of losing the popular vote and mentioning the people of Indian origin who have made it to the Senate or the House of Representatives.
The Indian Express went with a picture of Trump waving and three words, “Deal with him.” It could be read as Hillary Clinton’s stated intent to engage with Trump through politics, or as a more sinister command. The Telegraph carried the ominous picture of Trump’s clenched fist and a one-word headline, “Angerica”, alluding to the white working-class rage that propelled the Republican to power.
In Russia, the country that really won the American elections (see conspiracy theory one, two, three), many newspapers reacted with barely suppressed glee. Soon after Trump one, Putin called to congratulate him and reports such as this one in the Pravda.ru anticipated a “reset in US-Russia relations”. The Pravda.ru also carried pictures of the State Duma applauding the Republican victory. It also published a comment by “an American economist, journalist, blogger and former civil servant” who voiced fears that Trump faces assassination and speculated how the “oligarchy” on Wall Street would react to his victory.
The Moscow Times, however, an independent English daily which recently wound up its online edition, sounded nervous. It ran an opinion piece which noted that the Kremlin had ceded “the crown of irrationality to Washington”. The piece spoke of how Russia looked forward to a Trump presidency and the possibility that “A liberal, normative world order underpinned by U.S. leadership, could be replaced with the “art of the geopolitical deal” between the great powers.” But it also took note of an undercurrent of anxiety in the Kremlin, given Trump’s well-known unpredictability and “penchant for going personal”.
In Turkey, the Daily Sabah published a picture of a fist-thumping Trump on its frontpage and noted that while European countries were distressed by his victory, Ankara hoped to turn a new page in ties with Washington.
Relations between the two countries have been strained, of late, because of differences over the conflict in Syria and Iraq, American support to Kurdish fighters whom the Turkish state has traditionally tried to suppress and the US’s asylum to Fethullah Gulen, the man apparently responsible for a recent attempted coup in Turkey.
Hurriyet Daily News, another English daily, seemed to see the Trump victory as an opportunity to step up demands for the extradition of Gulen:
The state-controlled media in China kept a stoic calm. The Chinese print edition of the People’s Daily chose to go with a picture of President Xi Jinping on the phone with two saluting astronauts in space, a video call that is apparently the first of its kind. The English web edition featured a red panda spotted in Nepal. Lower down, an article claiming to relay the views of “analysts” said, while there were fears of turbulence in the US-China relationship, given Trump’s protectionist stance during rallies, there was no cause for worry. Chinese markets were calm and a Trump presidency might actually be good for the economy.
An opinion piece written earlier had spoken of US-China ties post-elections. While a Trump victory would plunge trade ties into uncertainty, it seemed preferable to a Clinton victory, since she would continue with the policies of the previous administration, which meant more frequent military friction. Trump was also desirable because he promise to return to “traditional US values”, something that American politics seemed to have forgotten:
“What’s even worse is that American politics overemphasizes equality, which weakens American traditional values and undermines its competitiveness. Those who strongly recognize American traditional value and remain motivated and hardworking are subject to reverse discrimination.”
The web edition of the China Daily carried a picture of Hillary Clinton during her concession speech, with the headline mentioning how she urged an open mind on Trump. An editorial also asked whether Trump the president would be the same as Trump the candidate.
In Britain, still reeling from its own Brexit, the Trump victory seemed to hurt. The Guardian editorial prognosticated doomsday. It started with the headline, “This is a dark day for the world”, went on to observe that this was a social and cultural “cataclysm” and compared the Trump victory to the sack of Rome. Both were “historically inevitable”.
At the other end of the ideological spectrum, however, there was the conservative Daily Telegraph, which published a cheery special edition on the US elections. “Trump’s American revolution”, the frontpage headline ran. The revolution of 1776 has finally been avenged, it seems.