As the very real possibility of Donald Trump becoming the next president of the United States looms closer with the real estate mogul having officially been nominated as Republican Party’s presidential candidate, it appears world leaders are now beginning to take cognizance of the threat he could pose to world’s security if elected.
It is something Trump’s critics have often pointed out, but while most of that criticism has been voiced by ordinary citizens, this is perhaps one of the first instances where a major world leader has been so direct with his opinion on Trump.
During an interview with Reuters published Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned U.S. voters that a Donald Trump presidency “would be dangerous not only for the United States, but for Europe and the rest of the world as well.”
Supporters of Donald Trump, who have refused to balk at the widespread criticism Trump has received for his views on various issues during and after the nominating process, have often argued that Trump’s aloofness from the political establishment has automatically meant that he would not be liked by sections of the media no matter what he does. But while that appears to be a valid defense to an extent — something Trump has cleverly used to his advantage — the fact that the same argument is thrown at the face of anyone underlining Donald Trump’s absolute inexperience at the policy-making level, or his complete lack of understanding of the diplomatic ties that the United States shares with the rest of the world, also shows the unwillingness of Trump’s supporters to be convinced by simple, rational arguments.
So while I do not expect a major change of loyalties suddenly after Donald Trump’s supporters read what the German Foreign Minister thinks about Trump, it is nonetheless worth noting that Steinmeier’s views echo what many world leaders think about him, and who may finally be driven to the point of having to make their displeasure public now that Trump has been selected GOP’s official nominee.
Keeping aside his views on women, immigrants, and minorities, Steinmeier believes that Trump’s political acumen, or lack thereof, is deeply concerning for the rest of the world. The German Foreign Minister said that he is concerned by Trump’s ambiguous vows to make “America strong again,” while simultaneously reducing its engagement overseas.
“That is contradictory and it makes me concerned,” Steinmeier wrote to Reuters, before saying that the diplomatic ties United States shares with the rest of the world cannot just be snapped because Trump becomes president.
“A politics of fear and isolation will bring less security, not more, and would be dangerous not only for the United States, but for Europe and the rest of the world as well.”
Furthermore, when insisted to share his views on why he thinks that Donald Trump has managed to gain such a widespread following, Steinmeier said that the current crisis-charged world situation has tempted people to look for easy answers. It is for this reason that people have turned to Trump even though he is hardly the person who can steer America, let alone the world, to more safety, Steinmeier said.
It appears Steinmeier’s views are shared by a range of world leaders and a large section of the foreign press, even as Donald Trump’s supporters appear keen to ignore such warnings. For instance, the Economist Intelligence Unit currently names Donald Trump’s presidency as the tied second biggest security threat facing the world. In fact, according to BBC, if the threat is to be quantified on a scale, the risk that the rest of the world faces with a Trump presidency is much more dangerous than “the rising threat of jihadi terrorism destabilizing the global economy.”
Now, isn’t that a paradox?
“Donald Trump has taken an exceptionally punitive stance on the Middle East and jiadhi terrorism, including, among other things, advocating the killing of families of terrorists and launching a land incursion into Syria to wipe out IS (and acquire its oil). In the event of a Trump victory, his hostile attitude to free trade, and alienation of Mexico and China in particular, could escalate rapidly into a trade war – and at the least scupper the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the US and 11 other American and Asian states signed in February 2016. His militaristic tendencies towards the Middle East (and ban on all Muslim travel to the US) would be a potent recruitment tool for jihadi groups, increasing their threat both within the region and beyond, while his vocal skepticism towards NATO would weaken efforts to contain Russia’s expansionist tendencies. Elsewhere, and arguably even more alarmingly, his stated indifference towards nuclear proliferation in Asia raises the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the world’s most heavily populated continent.”
Moreover, the recent revelation by the New York Times that Donald Trump’s campaign approached John Kasich to be his running mate before zeroing in on Mike Pence speaks volumes about how unprepared Trump is to step into the Oval Office, provided he manages to win in autumn. As Slate wrote in its report, well aware of his own inadequacy to be America’s next president, Trump is keen to outsource the daily hassles of being a president to someone else.
This, for instance, is what campaign chief Paul Manafort said were the qualities Trump needed in his vice presidential candidate back in May.
“He needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do. He sees himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO.”
Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s views on Donald Trump, then, are not just his personal opinions on a fellow leader from across the Atlantic, but echo a widespread understanding prevalent outside of America of Trump as basically an inefficient, naive and possibly paranoid leader that the world — and more so America — could definitely do without.
With the world volatile as it is, do we really need Donald Trump?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]