The United States is the most powerful country in the world today. The country is seen by many other nations as being a leader and force for good. The United States has helped to maintain stability in some parts of the world. The U.S. economy helps to drive other economies in developing nations and established regions. This is why so many world leaders watch what happens in the United States very closely. Actions within America can potentially affect everyone from China to Argentina. The presidential elections that happen every four years are of particular interest to leaders around the globe.
The 2016 presidential race has taken a turn that no one really expected. Donald Trump entered the race. He is a litigious billionaire, reality television star and expert marketer. It also turns out that he has a number of toxic views about the country and the world. He has repeatedly shown himself to be a xenophobic bigot. He blames everyone from the Chinese to the Mexicans for all of America’s problems. He has taken to insulting women with misogynistic statements that he makes without any shame. He refers to African-Americans in negative terms often lumping everyone together as “the blacks” when making speeches.
Trump recently started worrying world leaders when he began making completely ignorant and uninformed statements about foreign policy and the role of the United States around the planet. He wants to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, because he does not see a need for it. Trump is fine with allowing a nuclear war to happen between North Korea and American allies South Korea and Japan. He has insulted entire countries like Germany, the United Kingdom and France. He even targeted other world leaders specifically such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The possibility of a Trump presidency was not really taken seriously at first. People outside the United States felt that the citizens of the country would never allow someone like Trump to be elected to the highest office in the land. Unfortunately, those individuals were wrong. Trump managed to tap into a base of angry, racist and ignorant people who were previously disenfranchised from the political system. Those hateful bigots are now driving him forward towards the nomination even as the rest of the country tries to stop his progress. It is inexplicable in some ways although Trump knows exactly what he is doing.
Secretary of State John Kerry has to meet with and speak to world leaders almost constantly. He recently appeared on “Face the Nation” and talked about Trump. “Everywhere I go, every leader I meet, they ask about what is happening in America. They cannot believe it.” Kerry said. “It’s clear to me that what’s happening is an embarrassment to our country,” he continued. Kerry said that many people overseas see the election as “shocking” in several ways. Kerry made it clear that people outside the United States are very worried that things could go downhill fast if Trump does become president.
Although Trump does look ready to take the Republican nomination, the vast majority of national polls show him losing in the general election. He has incredibly high unfavorable ratings even within his own party. Several elected Republican officials have publicly stated they will vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders if Trump becomes the nominee. This offers some hope that a Trump presidency can still be stopped. What is not clear at the moment is if Trump’s inflammatory and hateful rhetoric along with his bigoted supporters are already causing damage to the image of America overseas. If it is, then it might take years to undo the damage.