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eyes on the U.S.

U.S. Election 2016, World Wrap: Denmark On Trump, Mexico On Rubio, Italy On Sanders

In San Diego, CA
In San Diego, CA

Donald Trump travels to Las Vegas to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Trump International Casino, a day after calling The Wall Street Journal "garbage propaganda directed by an immigrant named Rupert Murdoch, who at 85 should be in a nursing home." The man bringing together Trump and Putin is Silvio Berlusconi.

That's how Spanish daily El Mundo imagines Trump's first days in the White House. Writer Pablo Pardo's whimsical envisioning of a Trump presidency begins with a trip to Mexico, where the new leader of the free world and his Vice President Ted Cruz announce that the Department of Homeland Security will create a safe zone for any companies willing to help bankroll a 3,145-kilometer-long wall stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic. When The Wall Street Journal reports that not a single company has stepped forward, and that banks have turned down a $2.1 billion loan request, "Trump tweets from the White House," calling the bankers "idiots and lightweights."

Cartoon: Ricardo for El Mundo

El Mundo's cautionary fable is among a bounty of foreign-press coverage of the U.S. presidential election as Monday's crucial Iowa caucus approaches, to be shortly followed by New Hampshire and other key state primaries. The world is most definitely watching what has become an almost surreal race for the White House, and between now and November's general election, Worldcrunch will deliver a regular sampling of global coverage from all languages and corners of the world.

Here's this week's international roundup:

Marc Bassets writes in Madrid daily El País that the rise of the candidates Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders reflects not the American dream, but the "American nightmare, the permanent fear of falling into the abyss" among many older, white, working-class Americans.

Italian daily Il Foglio deconstructs the unlikely rise of Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders. Mattia Ferraresi writes that despite appearances, the rumpled Vermont senator is the "anti-narrator" candidate. "Not only does he invariably repeat a not-very-innovative message (summed up as "the rich are screwing us"), but he always says it in the same way, with the same exact words, the same clothes, the same messy hair."

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald writes that "Bernie Sanders may do an Obama on Hillary Clinton." Anne Summers asserts that the most "shocking news" coming out of the presidential race in the last week has nothing do with Donald Trump but is instead the surprisingly strong Sanders poll numbers in key early primary states. "Never in a million years could Clinton have thought that she would be fighting primary-to-primary in her own party with a surging male competitor who is older, more left-wing and more likeable than she is," Summers writes.

Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter asks, "Who is the politician Donald Trump? A very rich populist from Manhattan with business acumen? Or a measured demagogue with a fascist perception of humanity?" Correspondent Björn af Kleen followed Trump during campaign stops in New Hampshire, Iowa and Florida. At one point, Kleen recounts shouting a question to Trump, who answers, "Great." Kleen writes sarcastically that many things will be "great" if Trump wins, "like the wall he wants to build to keep Mexican migrants out." Perhaps the piece's most noteworthy nugget is an enlarged photo taken by photographer Lotta Härdelin showing Trump's notes in which he has written, "ISLAM IS VIOLENCE."

In Mexico's Milenio newspaper, Fey Berman wonders whether the Latino vote will prove decisive, with 28 million eligible voters. She cites pollster Sylvia Manzano as saying that while most Latinos live in U.S. states that are either clearly Republican or clearly Democratic, they could prove decisive — if they turn out. Abstention is traditionally high among Hispanics, she says. Moreover, personal interest is a greater driver of political support than migrant issues, and research shows there's no assurance Latinos will mobilize in mass against Trump's anti-migration rhetoric.

French humor

In fact, French online magazine Huitième Etage has taken note of comedic gem Honest Gil, parody candidate extraordinaire whose goal is to chasten candidates for the influence of money in American politics. He "promises to work hard for the donors who bought my presidency." See his campaign video here.

From the Le Petit Journal show on French TV broadcaster Canal+ comes this short video, which requires no translation.

Reagan to Clinton

Danish Jyllands-Posten writes that it would be folly to dismiss Trump as a presidential catastrophe, noting that the U.S. has had a number of seemingly unqualified presidents. It characterizes Obama as a leader who has crumbled under pressure, making the world a more dangerous place by failing to take the lead in a time of crisis. Ronald Reagan was treated the same way as Trump during his campaign in 1980, it continues, but is regarded today as one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history. "There is no reason to believe that a President Trump would transform from man to mouse. Like Ronald Reagan, he knows that only the strongest possible U.S. can ensure a more peaceful world."

Previewing the launch of the primary season, Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayatnotes that the campaign so far has featured a hefty dose of candidates "throwing mud" at each other, most notably among the Republicans. Senior columnist Jihad El-Khazen notes the innuendos behind Ted Cruz's criticism of Marco Rubio's stylish boots (though incorrectly reporting that both rivals have roots in Mexico, rather than Cuba), while on the Democratic side warned that Hillary Clinton could be subject to ongoing criticism of her husband's sex life.

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Quebec to Cuba

Quebec's French-language La Presse interviews Raymond Santana, one of the Central Park Five, about Donald Trump. In 1989, Santana was arrested with four other juveniles for the brutal assault and rape of a Central Park jogger, leading Trump to say at the time, "They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes." But the defendants were ultimately cleared of the crime in 2002, and won a $41 million settlement after suing for malicious prosecution and racial discrimination. Trump called it the "heist of the century." Santana tells La Presse, "He calls us thieves today after calling us murderers. That proves just one thing: This man is not worthy of being president. Someone aspiring to the presidency should be able to demonstrate both compassion and contrition after making a mistake." But Santana doesn't believe the New York real estate magnate has a real chance to win. "What's his plan? He has no plan. When people realize that, everything will crumble around him."

In Mexico City daily Excelsior, José Carreño Figueras chides Marco Rubio for being "inexpert and disrespectful," though more as a senator than as a Republican presidential candidate. He writes that the conservative Rubio has blocked approval of Roberta Jacobson as the next, "highly qualified" U.S. ambassador in Mexico "for personal reasons." Carreño writes that Rubio's opposition is merely to punish the Obama administration for renewing ties with Cuba, where Rubio's father was born. In the process, the senator has shown his "disdain for political relations with Mexico and for Mexicans."

French weekly Courrier International"s cover is quite something.

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Dirk Schumer writes for German daily Die Welt that Czech President Milos Zeman, Donald Trump and other over-the-top personalities may not offer any practical solutions to society's problems, but they do have a function in an increasingly uniform political arena. "A worldwide phenomenon is taking place, where louts and eccentrics are mixing up the political arena," he writes. "How dull would the dragging pre-election campaign in the United States be without Donald Trump? It is not only interesting for media professionals but also for the bored Internet community when a potential candidate for the highest office in the country insults the Latino minority as he pleases, kicks out an unpopular journalist and seemingly says whatever comes to mind." Worldcrunch has the full story in English.

Former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda writes for broadcaster Univisión that the world should prepare itself for the irksome possibility of a Trump victory. News of a possible third-party candidacy by Michael Bloomberg is evidence of its plausibility. He advises Mexico, the EU and Middle Eastern states to end their "ostrich policy" of "praying to someone for Trump to disappear. It's not going to happen."

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Why The Truth On Nord Stream Sabotage Matters

A new report blames the attack last September on a pro-Ukrainian outfit. It is hardly the last word on the case, but a good sign that the truth will come out in the end, which is crucial to maintain support in the West.

Photo of workers walking by a receiving station for the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline in Lubmin, Germany

Workers at a receiving station for the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline in Lubmin, Germany

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Who sabotaged the two Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines connecting Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea?

The famous pipelines, an absolute symbol of Germany's — now, former — dependence on Russian gas, exploded at the bottom of the sea last September. No one claimed responsibility for this act during the war in Ukraine, giving free rein to all hypotheses, speculations, and inevitable conspiracy theories.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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There is new information in the investigation, without providing a definitive answer on the identity or motivation of the perpetrators. Germany, which led the investigation, revealed yesterday that it had identified a ship that could have been used to carry out the operation. This boat had been rented by a Polish company owned by Ukrainians.

This Ukrainian lead was immediately denied by the authorities in Kyiv.

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