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Trump And The World

A World On Edge As U.S. Campaign Hits Home Stretch

Hillary Trump/Donald Clinton stickers in Washington, D.C.
Hillary Trump/Donald Clinton stickers in Washington, D.C.
Benjamin Witte

PARIS — Is it over yet? With the U.S. presidential election just days away, people across the globe are as excited to be done with the whole sordid spectacle, it seems, as they are to finally find out who wins.

Suspense is building. But so too is a general sentiment of "we just can't take it any more." There's also a sense among many observers that regardless of who wins — Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton — the U.S. people and their proud democratic tradition have already lost. As France's Le Figaro argued in a recent editorial: "It doesn't take a poll to determine the big loser in the election: America's democratic dignity."

As election day nears, Worldcrunch continues to follow the global coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign.

The dirty and drawn-out election seems to be taking a toll on people's basic mental health as well. "This is the most divided campaign the United States has experienced in decades, a fight between the two most unpopular candidates in history in a country that is intensely polarized," the Spanish newspaper El Periódicopointed out this week. "To the relief of just about everyone, it's almost over."

And yet as much as people may want to move on from the whole stinking mess and never look back, there are lessons to be learned and questions still worth asking — starting with the most obvious one: how the heck did this happen? "We're 320 million people," one exasperated shopkeeper in Raleigh, North Carolina told the Argentine daily La Nación. "320 million! And these are the two best candidates we could find?"

"Hillary: Woman of problems and power— PANORAMA (Italy)

A more specific question is how Trump, despite his obvious "sexism, xenophobia, lies and ignorance," could garner such a significant following, the French business paper Les Echos recently asked. Part of the answer is his rejection of the mainstream political system, a system, the Paris daily argues, "that his adversary, Hillary Clinton, embodies in an almost caricatural way."

Something else that can't be ignored, argues journalist Patrícia Campos Mello of the Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo, is Trump's recent characterization of the election process as "rigged." His strategy is like that of ISIS fighters, who only abandon a battlefield after they've planted "numerous bombs and landmines," she wrote. "Sensing his defeat, Trump is leaving behind him a minefield that will cause the destruction of American democracy after Nov. 8."

And if he wins? Der Spiegel's columnist Jakob Augstein believes that a Trump victory would, in at least one regard, be preferable. "Trump is farce," he wrote, but would be less likely than Clinton to risk military confrontation with Russia over Syria. "For every non-American, it's true that when it comes to war and peace, Trump would probably be the better choice over Clinton," according to Augstein, whose father founded the left-leaning magazine.

"Trump, a scientific anomaly" — Québec Science

Instead, for those asking how someone like Trump could be days away from winning the presidency, there was a different perspective from Italy, which lived through nearly two decades of domination by its own unlikely political figure, Silvio Berlusconi.

For Il Manifesto, Italian author Andrea Bajani writes, in an article entitled "BerlusTrump, Italy is the worm at the center of the Big Apple": "Between the sex scandals of the two men, the arrogance proudly displayed on television, between the shared racism, economic recipes founded on wealth accumulated in the hands of the few, what they share in common before it all is the support of millions of people. It's the myopia of those who look at the clown's finger instead of the crowd of hands applauding with such enthusiasm. In Italy, we ignored those hands for 20 years, thinking, presumptuously, that the monstrosity of the man who behaves that way was so evident. And more than that, we amplified his message, laughing at it, transforming it into a joke to export to the rest of the planet."

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TIME (U.S.)

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Geopolitics

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

Turkey's objections to Swedish membership of NATO may mean that Finland joins first. But as he approaches his highly contested reelection bid at home, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ready to use the issue to his advantage.

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

January 11, 2023, Ankara (Turkey): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the International Conference of the Board of Grievances on January 11.

Turkish Presidency / APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — This story has all the key elements of our age: the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the excessive ambitions of an autocrat, the opportunism of a right-wing demagogue, Islamophobia... And at the end, a country, Sweden, whose NATO membership, which should have been only a formality, has been blocked.

Last spring, under the shock of the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia, Sweden and Finland, two neutral countries in northern Europe, decided to apply for membership in NATO. For Sweden, this is a major turning point: the kingdom’s neutrality had lasted more than 150 years.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised objections. It demanded that Sweden stop sheltering Kurdish opponents in its country. This has nothing to do with NATO or Ukraine, but everything to do with Erdogan's electoral agenda, as he campaigns for the Turkish presidential elections next May.

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