Trump election elicits fears, some cheers around the globe

Guests at a "Democrats abroad" event react as they watch the U.S. election results in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Guests at a "Democrats abroad" event react as they watch the U.S. election results in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The world faces a starkly different America led by a President Donald Trump.

While the billionaire businessman’s election was welcomed in some countries, others saw it as a big shock as governments will now have to deal with a man who has cozied up to Vladimir Putin, told NATO allies they would have to pay for their own protection and vowed to make the Mexican government pay for a multibillion-dollar border wall.

Trump’s win was particularly startling in Mexico, where his remarks calling Mexican immigrants criminals and “rapists” were a deep insult to national pride. Financial analysts have predicted a Trump win would threaten billions of dollars in cross-border trade, and government officials say they have drawn up a contingency plan for such a scenario, though without releasing details.

“It’s DEFCON 2,” Mexican analyst Alejandro Hope said. “Probably something as close to a national emergency as Mexico has faced in many decades.”

“It depends if he means what he says and if he can do what he claims he wants to do,” Hope added. “A massive deportation campaign could really put some stress on Mexican border communities. A renegotiation of NAFTA could seriously hobble the Mexican economy. It could create a lot of uncertainty. … Financial markets could suffer.”

The Mexican peso, which has tracked the U.S. election closely, fell sharply to 20.45 to the dollar late Tuesday before recovering somewhat. The Bank of Mexico’s interbank rate had stood at 18.42 at the end of the day’s trading.

Financial analyst Gabriela Siller of Banco BASE issued a forecast predicting a Trump victory could sink the peso to 24 to the dollar next year and lead to a 3 percent economic contraction in Mexico.

Serving the last drinks of the night at a Mexico City tavern where a half-dozen TVs were tuned to election news, bartender Angel Mendoza wondered what will happen to his 15 or so family members living in the United States, about half of whom are there illegally.

“They’re not coming here,” he said. “Their lives are already made there, but (now) with a certain fear.”

In Europe, NATO allies now wait to see if Trump follows through on suggestions that America will look at whether they have paid their proper share in considering whether to come to their defense.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the vote “a big shock” and “a vote against Washington, against the establishment.”

Von der Leyen said on German public Television Wednesday that while many questions remain open, “We Europeans obviously know that as partners in NATO, Donald Trump will naturally ask what ‘are you achieving for the alliance,’ but we will also ask ‘what’s your stand toward the alliance.'”

The French populist, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen congratulated Trump even before the final results were known, tweeting her support to the “American people, free!”

Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France would work with the new president and that European politicians should heed the message from Trump votes. “There is a part of our electorate that feels … abandoned,” including people who feel “left behind by globalization,” he said.

Moscow has been unusually prominent in the race. Clinton’s campaign and the Obama administration blamed Russian hackers for leaked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign staff. Trump, in turn, has made complimentary remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin; the ties of some of his advisers and former campaign officials to Russia have raised suspicions.

“We of course regard with satisfaction that the better candidate of the two presented to the American voters was victorious,” said Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democratic party, according to the Interfax news agency.

In Asia, security issues and trade will top the agenda for the new administration, from North Korea and the South China Sea to the contentious and yet-unratified Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Chinese state media and government-backed commentators had signaled Beijing’s preference for a Trump win. Like Russia, China is seen as favoring Trump because he appears less willing to confront China’s newly robust foreign policy, particularly in the South China Sea.

Clinton, by contrast, is disliked in Beijing for having steered the U.S. “pivot” to Asia aimed at strengthening U.S. engagement with the region, particularly in the military sphere.

Scholar Mei Xinyu wrote in the Communist Party newspaper Global Times that China would find it easier to cope with a Trump presidency.

“Trump has always insisted on abandoning ideological division and minimizing the risks that unnecessary conflicts with other countries may bring to the U.S.,” Mei wrote.

News of Trump’s widening lead hit hard in Cuba, which has spent the last two years negotiating normalization with the United States after more than 50 years of Cold War hostility, setting off a tourism boom. Trump has promised to roll back Obama’s opening with Cuba unless President Raul Castro agrees to more political freedoms.

“If he reverses it, it hurts us,” taxi driver Oriel Iglesias Garcia said. “You know tourism will go down.”

Related: Donald Trump elected 45th president of United States

Economist and political scientist Esteban Morales told Telesur network that Cuba’s Communist Party leaders “must be worried because I think this represents a new chapter.”

However, retired diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said a Trump victory could please some hard-liners who worry Cuba is moving too close to the United States too quickly.

“There’s been a lot of rejection of what’s been done with Obama,” Alzugaray said. “Many Cubans think that a situation of confrontation is better for the revolution.”

At a pub in Sydney, Pamela Clark-Pearman, a 63-year-old Clinton supporter, sat nursing a beer and watching the TV.

“I never thought the Americans could be so stupid. I just think it’s Brexit all over again,” Clark-Pearman said, referring to the U.K. vote to leave the European Union. “He can’t possibly win. America’s supposed to be the most successful country in the world.”

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, social media was abuzz with speculation about whether Trump would follow through on campaign rhetoric calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Some said they fear they would be prevented from visiting relatives and friends who live in America or traveling there as tourists.

Hope, the Mexican analyst, predicted that America’s image overseas will suffer with Trump at the helm.

“The image of the U.S. as a bully would be strengthened,” he said, “and many of the gains that have come from the Obama presidency in terms of the international image of the U.S. would be lost almost immediately.”

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