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Yes He Can! An Astonished World Reacts To Trump's Republican Victory

Trump's triumph
Trump's triumph

A brash yellow-haired billionaire with no political experience and a willingness to spew racism and sexism is now virtually guaranteed to be the Republican party nominee for president. Donald Trump, mes amis, is huuuge front-page news around the world:

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Le Monde, France

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The Times, UK

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Dagens Nyheter, Denmark

Trump's victory in the Indiana primary on Tuesday, which led his last two remaining rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich to drop out of the race, prompted a mix of stupor, alarm and sarcasm from the international press. This week's global roundup of the U.S. election begins with some notable headlines:

"America's Trump nightmare has arrived"

(The Guardian, UK)

"Businessman who began his campaign as a joke has the last laugh"

(Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil)

"The ‘Real Donald Trump' Remains"

(Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany)

"Donstoppable! Cruz drops out"

(New Zealand Herald, New Zeland)

"Anti-Trump camp grasping at straws"

(Dagens Nyheter, Sweden)

"Trump: from laughingstock to presidential candidate"

(NRC Handelsblad, Netherlands)

But beyond his big mouth and bad manners, global coverage has also focused on the fact that Trump, if victorious in November, would arrive with the most isolationist foreign policy in memory.

Yuriko Koike — a former defense minister and national security adviser, and current member of Japan's Lower House — wonders: "Is it possible that a substantial bloc of Americans today really wants to pull up the drawbridges and embrace isolationism?"

In an editorial in The Japan Times, Koike notes that Japan has particular reason to be unnerved by the rise of The Donald, given Trump's dark insinuations about a nuclear arms race in Asia and the stability of U.S.-Japan relations.

"For Japan and other U.S. allies, an isolationist America remains a distant prospect," she writes. "But as we watch Britain prepare for its referendum on EU membership, doubts begin to creep in. There, a small-minded sector of the Conservative Party has played on almost the same sentiments as Trump to stoke political rage and turn ‘Brexit' into a real possibility."

France's Libération offers a map of the world according to Trump, where Russia appears with the label "Putin, I love this guy!" Europe, meanwhile, is marked as a "No-Go zone," Belgium "is like a horror movie," and of course, the U.S. border is sealed off from Mexico with a "big, big wall paid for by the Mexicans."

In his coverage of the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, the Sydney Morning Herald's chief foreign correspondent Paul McGeough observes that the biggest joke of all is on Americans, "as they come to terms with the awful reality that, come November, Trump could be stepping out as leader of the free world."

Not a populist

Writing for Spanish daily El Paìs, Héctor E. Schamis takes issue with the media's frequent application of the "populist" label to Trump.

"Trump brings with him none of that idea of community typical of rural American populism," Schamis asserts, adding that the GOP candidate has no connection to Latin American or European variations on the theme, either. "He isn't populist, although he certainly is a demagogue, quite literally. He's never one for metaphors, in spite of his tremendous ability to speak without saying anything, his exaggerations and his particular tendency to cite nonexistent statistics."

Switzerland's Le Temps also takes an interest in the language of the American campaign, analyzing the primary candidates' speech patterns using a computer program. Among the conclusions: Beyond the verb "to be," Trump's most used words are "I" and "me."

"Are we moving from ‘Yes, we can,' to ‘Yes, I can'?" asks writer Jacques Savoy.

Reality check

Danish daily Jyllands-Posten says that Trump is gradually morphing into a viable candidate. The editorial board suggests, that while the real estate mogul is hardly an attractive candidate, who often shot from the hip early on in his campaign, "he has now hired an experienced staff that knows how to assist a president, and this has positively influenced his recent performances."

In Italy, Corriere della Sera columnist Beppe Severgnini reflects on the awkward way in which Matteo Salvini — leader of the country's right-wing, separatist Northern League party — has been cozying up to the Republican candidate.

"Don't hold it against me, Matteo Salvini. But that picture you took with Donald Trump looks like one of those snapped at the end of a wedding reception, when a distant cousin — his collar unbuttoned and his eyes glazed over — sidles up to the groom and hugs him," Severgnini writes. "The groom in question, Donald Trump, might barely know who cousin Salvini from Padania, Italy, is, and considering his knowledge of the world, one could hardly expect otherwise. But in the end, that doesn't matter. What does matter is that the leader of the League went all the way to Philadelphia for that picture."

Santiago, Chile-based business magazine America Economiareminds readers that if Trump wins the presidential election, his Slovenian wife Melania will be America's first European first lady in almost 200 years. The Latin American monthly quotes Stane Jerko, a 79-year-old photographer and fashion icon from former Yugoslavia, as saying that "as first lady, she would become a fashion icon, like Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama. All designers would fight for her."

On the Democratic side

International coverage of the campaign has not been all about Trump, especially as Bernie Sanders continues to garner support among Democrats even as Hillary Clinton still appears headed to the nomination. Reporting on the skepticism many young American blacks are showing toward Clinton, Jeune Afrique's Jean-Eric Boulin observes that "If she clinches the nomination in July — and that seems likely — she'll owe her success, in large part, to the black community. And yet, the perfect relationship is quietly turning sour, especially with young people. It's not yet a domestic squabble, but it's starting to look like one."

From Australia's The Age featured a story entitled "Bernie Sanders Breaks a Taboo." The taboo in question: criticizing Israeli policy toward Palestinians in the occupied territories. "He has broken a taboo. He is the first political figure in the history of the presidential race to do so, especially as a person of Jewish faith, and just prior to the crucial New York primary, in which the Jewish votes really matter. What has driven Sanders to take a huge risk to tackle the subject matter head on?"

Bernie And Donald Shake Up Trade

Though Sanders is unlikely to make it to the November general election, Le Monde columnist Alain Frachon notes that he shares something with Donald Trump: The two candidates have challenged decades of conventional wisdom on free trade and global economic policy.

Here's an excerpt from Worldcrunch's English version of the Le Monde piece: "The way we perceive free trade, or globalization, will never be the same as it was before this presidential campaign. Donald Trump's and Bernie Sanders' pointed criticisms of the system resonated with voters, whether Republican or Democrat. Their criticisms go far beyond economics. They're part of a broader protest movement against globalization and increasingly porous national borders, with the resulting migration flows, trade competition and uncontrolled capital flows. Dismissing these stances as "populist" is pointless. It would be better to question the root causes of the angry chorus that is being heard from both sides of the Atlantic. What is it all about, then? It is likely a reaction to an ever-growing sense of vulnerability stemming from the combined impact of the technological revolution and globalization. Some of the effects are well known: an increase in inequalities, and a stagnation of middle-class incomes.

Read the full article, How The 2016 Campaign Has Rewritten Debate On Economics.

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Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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