When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Geopolitics

U.S. Elections 2016: "An American Spring" — The View From Abroad

When they're not warning us that Trump would put the world in grave danger, foreign media are trying to explain him.

Hillary Clinton cutouts in San Diego on March 22
Hillary Clinton cutouts in San Diego on March 22
Worldcrunch

Whether calling him an "imposter" and purveyor of "caveman politics," an "anti-intellectual" or a "brave" leader who's ready to face down the media establishment, newspapers around the world continue to delve into the drama of the GOP front-runner as the 2016 presidential campaign's primary story line. The phenomenon that was once a punchline, from Latin America to Asia, has instead given rise to unrestrained scolding and castigation. And occasionally attempts to explain him.

"All kinds of historical explanations have been offered for the rise of Donald Trump, but I now see a simpler one," U.S.-based British law professor Niall Ferguson writes for the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post. "Leave aside terms like populism and fascism: This is caveman politics — not just male, but aggressively, crassly masculine. Vladimir Putin is the Russian version. Narendra Modi is the Indian version. Xi Jinping is China's macho man. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey's. They talk tough. They strike tough poses." And, he writes, contrasting Trump with the nurturing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he "would never, ever comfort a crying girl," as Merkel once did.

Ferguson concludes, however, that Trump's tough guy act is likely to be his downfall, as women voters will reject him.


The Donald continues to dominate as Worldcrunch gathers its latest roundup of U.S. presidential campaign coverage from all corners of the world.


"From his lips gush bombast and abuse," Yassin El-Ayouty writes of Trump for Egypt's Al-Ahram weekly. "An old adage says ‘loose lips sink ships,' and Trump's lips are sinking the Republican Party. This is the ‘grand old party' (GOP) of the great liberator President Abraham Lincoln."

When he was a boy, El-Ayouty writes, he walked three miles from his Egyptian village of Kanayat in search of a library book about Lincoln. "I was captivated by that bearded and humble man who managed to free the slaves in America through the bloody victory of the North over the South and was then assassinated in 1865. Lincoln's assassination is being repeated today, but this time the assassination is of his party. The assassination is being carried out by a buffoon named Trump whose fascism is worn on his sleeve by calling for the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, ridiculing blacks, women and minorities, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., even if they are returning citizens, and using his book The Art of the Deal the way Hitler once used Mein Kampf."

Egyptian author Yassin El-Ayouty — Photo: TCNJ

Likewise, Xie Tao writes for China's Economic Observerthat a perfect storm has lifted Trump's boat. "Paranoid and anti-intellectual, he couples internal and external problems with an identity crisis." Xie adds that the flashy businessman with a penchant for fast food has seized on the "deep anxiety" of America's white underclass.

Swedish lawmakers back Hillary

Earlier this month, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheterasked all members of parliament which U.S. candidate they would support. Of the 100 respondents, 47% chose Hillary Clinton and 33% her opponent Bernie Sanders. Erstwhile GOP candidate Marco Rubio, who has since dropped out of the race after losing his home state of Florida, received the most support among Republicans, while Trump received just three nods, all from members of the right-wing Sweden Democrat party. One Swedish Democrat admirer of The Donald explained his support this way: "He is a successful entrepreneur, brave, upright and will not bend to the media. With him, the U.S. will be reborn."

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, instead, told Dagens Nyheter that he won't pick between Clinton and Sanders, but truly hopes the general election winner is a Democrat. "I'm worried about the tone of the debate on the Republican side," he said. "It's awful."

What Berlusconi begets

From the land of Silvio Berlusconi, longtime Corriere della Sera columnist Beppe Severgnini writes of the stealth emergence of Trump acolytes in Italy. "His ascendancy hasn't just provoked surprise, worry, horror (depending on one's political views and degree of sensitivity)," Severgnini writes. "He has also created, out of nowhere, legions of admirers. The ‘Trumpista': A fascinating new character who deserves to be studied."

Severgnini divides Italian Trumpistas into two categories: politicians, such as Daniela Santanché, Matteo Salvini and Antonio Razzi, who have openly expressed their admiration for him; and amateurs, who have a contrarian streak and are drawn to Trump partly because so many people can't stand him.

"In him, many voters see traces of the early Berlusconi (hair, egotism, incoherence) and the most recent Beppe Grillo (a taste for provocation)," Severgnini notes.

Dum-dum and Van Damme

Writing in Portugal's Público, political columnist Miguel Esteves Cardoso laments that "stupidity" is working. "Donald Trump is a stupid guy followed by more stupid guys. That's the truth," he writes. "And unfortunately, the United States has as many stupid people as us."

On that note, Belgian actor, martial artist and B-movie superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme has joined the long list of awkward Trump supporters.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ