eyes on the U.S.

U.S. Election 2016: Trump On Paris, Iran On Beltway, Spain On Sanders

Voting in New Hapshire
Voting in New Hapshire

Donald Trump has met his egomaniacal match in Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj, who boasted that his far-flung support for Trump could be decisive in the U.S. presidential campaign. "I am convinced that all Serbs who live in America will vote for him, also many other Americans who appreciate my political views and the ideology I represent," Seselj said in an interview with Sarajevo-based newspaper Oslobodjenje.

It should be noted that as of 2012, only 199,000 American citizens were of Serbian descent, though there are more who hail from the former Yugoslavia. The leader of the far-right Serbian Radical Party goes on to say that a Trump victory would be positive for Serbia, given that Trump clearly and loudly condemned the 1999 NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia. It’s not clear whether this is the kind of support the real estate magnate is looking for, as Seselj is awaiting a verdict at the war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia on charges of crimes against humanity.

After Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, and looking ahead to the Feb. 20 primaries in South Carolina and Nevada, here’s a Worldcrunch roundup of presidential campaign coverage, from all languages and corners of the world:

Trump, who has sparred with much of the U.S. press corps, decided to give an interview to the French right-wing magazine Valeurs Actuelles. He used the opportunity to say he would have shot the Paris terrorists had he had a chance on Nov. 13. "I always carry a weapon on me," he tells the magazine in his first interview with French media. "If I’d been at the Bataclan or one of the cafés, I would have opened fire. Maybe I would have died, but at least I would have taken a shot. Do you really think that if there had been a few armed and trained people in the audience, it would have gone down the same way? I don’t think so. They would have killed the terrorists."

"Trump Tells All" â€" Valeurs Actuelles, Feb. 11, 2016

Trump, who handily won Tuesday’s GOP primary in New Hampshire, also warned of a European "collapse" and "revolutions" because of unchecked immigration, characterizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open the country’s borders to migrants as a terrible mistake. "If we don’t deal with the situation competently and firmly, then yes, it’s the end of Europe. My German friends no longer know where they are. They can’t believe their eyes about what is happening. They’re desperate."

Though he was speaking to a French magazine, he didn’t mince words about France. "Unfortunately, France isn’t what it used to be, nor Paris. My French friends tell me they sometimes feel they’re not really at home anymore when they go here and there in their country."

The political Rodney Dangerfield

In a exclusive interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, American author Richard Ford (The Sportswriter, Independence Day) dispels what may be a myth among non-Americans about support for the GOP front-runner. "Most Americans probably perceive Donald Trump the same way as Swedes who are not radical rightists," he says. "For us, he is a kind of mixture of Joseph McCarthy and Benito Mussolini with a bad haircut: swaggering, staring, bullying, touchy, lying, not particularly intelligent, rough, divisive, insensitive and â€" considering what it actually takes to lead a huge country â€" something much worse than comically ignorant."

Ford assures the newspaper that Trump has no chance of winning a general election. But if he could, "he would be dangerous â€" for everyone," akin to "Rodney Dangerfield in a bad mood."

#NHPrimary gli Stati Uniti sono un grande Paese. Talmente grande che trova posto anche uno come #Trump. Il problema però è che lo votano.

â€" f.a.maisano (@famaisano) February 10, 2016

Italian "#NHPrimary The U.S. is a large country; so large that there’s room for someone like Trump. The problem is that they vote for him."

New Hampshire, in brief

Federico Rampini, the U.S. correspondent for Italian daily La Repubbica summarizes the New Hampshire primary victories of Trump and Bernie Sanders this way: "Two Martians have shaken up the status quo."

Drive-bys on Clinton

Jen Gersen of Canada’s National Post delivers a knockout punch, writing with authority about Hillary Clinton’s "feminism problem" among young women, many of whom aren’t motivated by gender and, she argues, shouldn’t have to be. She indicts the efforts of stalwarts such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem to shame young women into voting for Clinton for the sole reason that she too has ovaries.

"The primary is not a story about a woman hitting the glass ceiling," Gersen writes. "It’s about an entire generation rising high enough to hear the crack. Bernie Sanders’ voters came of age during the Great Recession, during an era of bank failures and bailouts, of stratifying socio-economic status, high student debt, and increasing pessimism about their own futures. And he speaks to those problems, clearly, directly, even though he can’t fix them, and might bankrupt the treasury if he tried."

By contrast, Clinton has made a career of ingratiating herself to a political establishment that "seems impossibly stacked against the young. So who cares if she’s a woman? What sisterhood has got our back?"

In Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, Nick O’Malley writes that the Sanders phenomenon is putting Clinton on the defensive. "In the face of his surge, Clinton has been forced to fight awkwardly on Sanders’ battlefield," he writes. "Her basic argument is that her more moderate reform agenda has more chance of succeeding. Her message is: what he said, but a little less. Even she seemed to see that it had failed in New Hampshire."

But not everyone feels the Bern. Conservative Spanish website El Confidencial portrays Sanders as a kind of Cold War figure who once sympathized with the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. His contemporaneous comments could easily have been made in the 1970s or 1980s, it writes.

Following Thursday’s Clinton-Sanders debate, The Times of London got a kick out of Sanders’ citing Britain’s iconic conservative leader Winston Churchill’s influence on his worldview, as coming from someone "likened to (far-left Labour Party leader) Jeremy Corbyn."

Global election, Local interests

International views in the U.S. campaign sometimes focuses on the perceived impact back at home. Liberal Venezuelan daily El Universal touted Marco Rubio as the only Republican aspirant to have spoken out against the heavy-handed rule of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, citing the Florida Senator’s declaration last year that it was an "insult" for him to talk of human rights at the United Nations.

Ubiegający się o nominację w #wyboryUSA @BernieSanders obiecuje minimalną płacę godz. 15$. W #Polska prawica nie zgadza się nawet na 15 zł.

â€" Damian Syjczak (@DSyjczak) February 10, 2016

Polish tweeter Damian Syjczak remarks on Bernie Sanders’ call for a $15 minimum wage, noting that in Poland, they can’t even reach 15 zlotys. That’s $3.85.

Writing in Tehran’s reformist daily Aftab-e Yazd, Fereidun Majlesi, an Iranian specialist on U.S. politics, offered some insider punditry â€" with a bit of a wild-card prediction. He said Trump "would prefer his rival to be a man, like Sanders." If Clinton were the candidate, "women and those who want a female presidency will vote for Clinton." But in the scenario where Clinton could drop out of the race, Secretary of State John Kerry could take her place as Democratic candidate. Given his "milder and friendlier" postures on Iran, this is "not a bad thing for our country," Majlesi said.

The sweet stray in the corner

Ines Pohl of Germany’s Deutsche Welle sees â€" or perhaps wants to see â€" Republican John Kasich as a possible dark horse, given his strong second-place finish in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. "The Ohio governor is the evening’s secret winner," Pohl writes. "Though some insiders have had their eye on him for a while, in this rather shrill campaign it’s been difficult for him to get a word in edgewise with his intellectual and precise arguments." Pohl believes that getting 15% of the GOP primary vote in the New Hampshire, will change the race drastically. "He’s in the spotlight now."

Big mouths

Leading French daily Le Monde quotes a Canadian research study that finds a correlation between the size of someone’s mouth and their perceived leadership ability and actual leadership performance. The researchers were testing the "evolutionist idea that in the subconscious of human societies, there is a special place for great, dominating and predatory male figures."

In a merciful punchline, the newspaper jokes that "Donald Trump seems to have already adopted the idea that the bigger the mouth, the more powerful the leader."

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

— Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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