What People Around the World Think of America Since Trump's Baffling Rise
Americans are no strangers to embarrassing exports (sorry for "Grey’s Anatomy" and Papa John’s pizza, Planet Earth). And our political nutbaggery is no exception. But when it comes to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, we may have outdone ourselves. The GOP frontrunner is a woman-hating reality TV star whose campaign has mostly focused on his lust for ethnic cleansing.
When it comes to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, we may have outdone ourselves. Photo credit: Shutterstock
The global reaction to Trump mania has been a sense of disgust; Trump is the native son of a country that worships selfishness above empathy, corporate interests over justice and notoriety over prestige. As French author Marie-Cecile Naves put it to Politico, “Trump represents the America we love to hate … He is our negative mirror image, a man we see as brutal, who worships money and lacks culture—someone who lets us feel a bit superior about being European."
In short, the rest of the world seems as flabbergasted about Trump’s rise as we should be. Here’s how seven other countries have reacted to his befuddling popularity.
Mexicans have a special right to resent Trump, given his well-documented disdain for them. He’s pushed blackmailing Mexico into paying for a border fence, called undocumented Latinos “rapists” who are “bringing drugs and crime” and even vowed to implement a mass deportation of millions of undocumented people and their American children. One July issue of Mexican comic book El Peso Hero featured its hero slugging Donald Trump in the mug on its cover, just as Captain America once socked Hitler. Not to be outdone, Mexican artist Dalton Javier Avalos Ramirez designed a special Donald Trump piñata so people can fulfill their dreams of bashing Trump with a stick.
France’s Liberation Newspaper didn’t go for subtlety in its Aug. 27 cover story, “Trump: The American Nightmare.” Text that ran alongside his pink grimace declared him to be “vulgar and opportunistic.” Resentment against Trump has long been brewing in the land of brie and berets: back in January, he sparked widespread outrage when he blamed the Charlie Hebdo murders on strict gun laws. (Say quoi?!) More recently, Trump’s nationalism and tendency to make outrageous comments in the media led a columnist at Le Figaro to dub him the American Le Pen, a comparison to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the notorious patriarch of France’s far-right. Le Pen could also give Trump a master class on how to alienate practically everyone with reactionary bullshit: over the past year, Le Pen has gone off the deep end by denying the Holocaust and singing the praises of Nazi-collaborationist Vichy government occupiers who deported thousands of Jews during WWII.
The Latin American country has come under fire for draconian anti-trafficking policies that critics say amount to abuses of Colombians, including sealing their shared borders and deportations. Some observers couldn't help but notice that President Nicolas Maduro’s vicious anti-immigration policies are awfully similar to the vitriol that’s been spewing from the Donald. Opposition politician Saverio Vivas thinks the shoe fits: “Maduro criticizes Donald Trump, but his acts against Colombian immigration are worse than the magnate's words." But Maduro takes issue with the comparison. As he said during an August TV spot, “They’re saying Maduro is like Donald Trump. Imagine! I don't even have his hairstyle and least of all his bank account.” Um, fair enough, but nothing says “unpopular” quite like being more offensive than human rights violators.
Trump has made no secret of his distaste for China. He’s grumbled about how America keeps losing to China, in contrast with Trump’s record of “always beating [them].” He claimed the Chinese are “ripping us off left and right” and their diplomats ought to be taken to McDonald’s instead of to state dinners. As the Washington Post reports, the Chinese are beginning to snark back. Besides mocking Trump’s hair (“This guy’s hair is so strange. I thought it was photoshopped at first,” one Chinese national quipped on social media) the Chinese have become increasingly critical of Trump’s flaunting of his wealth. One state newspaper put it this way: “The theme of Trump’s speech for running for president: I really am very rich.” Spokespeople for the Chinese government have been dismissive, rebutting his claims that Chinese policies swipe jobs and saying that they care more about the opinions of those who actually matter.
Much has been made of the fact that Trump’s anti-immigrant rabble-rousing discounts his own family history. Not only did Trump descend from immigrants, he also married two of them. (His first spouse Ivana was born in the Czech Republic and he is currently married to Melania, from Slovenia.) But less is said of the fact that his Grandpa Drumpf, after building up a nest egg, actually tried to move back to his native Germany and was denied. As Deutsche Welle reports, Drumpf’s propensity for self-serving corner-cutting seems to have resulted in a grandson bent on erecting 100-story golden calves into the skyline of any city whose legal limits he can push. It’s exactly that flamboyance that fuels German distaste for “The Trump Show,” as his soundbite-optimized campaign was called by the tabloid Bild. A few weeks after Trump announced his candidacy, Suddeutsche Zeitung was feeling lost: “Weird, egomaniac, racist … yet he leads in the polls; how can that be?” the paper asked. Wunderbar question.
Given the fact that Trump’s venom has spared practically no one, it’s notable that he’s been less critical of Russia and President Vladimir Putin than practically any other global politician. (“I was over in Moscow two years ago and I will tell you—you can get along with those people … you can make deals with those people. Obama can’t,” he recently explained.) Trump has tacitly sided with Russia in the Ukraine conflict, having affirmed his indifference over whether or not Ukraine enters NATO and landing on an "enemies list" in Ukraine for his pro-Russia comments in the press. Pro-Russian publication Russia Insider even recently suggested a Trump presidency could be good for Russia, since Trump will negotiate based on pragmatics instead of emotion or ideology. The Kremlin-friendly pub also praised the fact that Trump “harbors none of the ridiculous and hysterical Russophobia, which of course is a hallmark of every other Republican candidate.”
Down under, some people have a cynical, sarcastic reason to root for Trump: it distracts the planet from the awfulness of their own recently deposed prime minister, Tony Abbott. As one bloke put it to the Unaustralian,“Trump would take the heat off Abbott so no Australian ever needs to pretend to be a New Zealander ever again.” Another claimed electing Trump “would be so embarrassing for America, they’d all be like ‘ugh, we elected this guy? Awkward.'" Fair enough. But why were Aussies so disgruntled at Abbott, anyway? Sydney Morning Herald columnist Julie Szego wrote that both represent ugly aspects of conservative values, particularly a high-profile disrespect of women. Trump’s center-stage battle against Megyn Kelly at the first Republican debate caused decent human beings to recoil in horror, as they do toward what Szego called Abbott’s “inability to self-censor his natural tendency to link women with domesticity.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
A pygmy rabbit rescued from a breeding site in Beezley Hills, Washington, eats owl clover in its new enclosure. Kourtney Stonehouse, WDFW
- 7 Devastating Photos of Wildfires in California, Oregon and ... ›
- California Wildfires Destroy Condor Sanctuary, at Least 4 Birds Still ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Hertsgaard
What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.
Will the White House Turn Green?<p>Whether the White House changes hands is the most important climate question of the 2020 elections. President Donald Trump rejects climate science, is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, and has accelerated fossil fuel development. His climate policy seems to be, as he tweeted in January when rejecting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to protect New York City from storm surges, "Get your mops and buckets ready."</p><p>Joe Biden, who started the 2020 campaign with a climate position so weak that activists gave it an "F," called Trump a "climate arsonist" during California's recent wildfires. Biden backs a $2 trillion plan to create millions of jobs while slashing emissions—a Green New Deal in all but name. Equally striking, his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, has endorsed phasing out fossil fuel production—a politically explosive scientific imperative.</p><p>The race will be decided in a handful of battleground states, five of which already face grave climate dangers: Florida (hurricanes and sea-level rise), North Carolina (ditto), Texas (storms and drought), Michigan (floods), and Arizona (heat waves and drought). <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us/" target="_blank">Public concern is rising</a> in these states, but will that concern translate into votes?</p>
Will Democrats Flip the Senate, and by Enough to Pass a Green New Deal?<p>With Democrats all but certain to maintain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate will determine whether a potential Biden administration can actually deliver climate progress. Democrats need to pick up three seats to flip the Senate if Biden wins, four if he doesn't. But since aggressive climate policy is shunned by some Democrats, notably Joe Manchin of coal-dependent West Virginia, Democrats probably need to gain five or six Senate seats to pass a Green New Deal.</p><p>Environmentalists, including the League of Conservation Voters, are targeting six Republicans who polls suggest are vulnerable.</p><ul><li>Steve Daines of Montana, who denies climate science</li><li>Martha McSally of Arizona</li><li>Thom Tillis of North Carolina</li><li>Susan Collins of Maine</li><li>Joni Ernst of Iowa (bankrolled by Charles Koch)</li><li>John James of Michigan (also a Koch beneficiary)</li></ul><p>Republican Senators are even at risk in conservative Kansas and Alaska. In both states, the Democratic candidates are physicians—not a bad credential amid a pandemic—who support climate action. In Kansas, Barbara Bollier faces an incumbent funded by Charles Koch. In Alaska, Al Gross urges a transition away from oil, though his openness to limited drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve dims his appeal to green groups. He faces incumbent Republican Dan Sullivan, who receives an 8 percent lifetime voting record from the League of Conservation Voters.</p>
Will Local and State Races Advance Climate Progress?<h4>THE CLIMATE HAWKS</h4><p>Under Democratic and Republican leadership alike, Washington has long been a graveyard for strong climate action. But governors can boost or block renewable energy; the Vermont and New Hampshire races are worth watching. Attorneys general can sue fossil fuel companies for lying about climate change; climate hawks are running for the top law enforcement seats in Montana and North Carolina. State legislatures can accelerate or delay climate progress, as the new Democratic majorities in Virginia have shown. Here, races to watch include Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Colorado.</p><h4>THE CLIMATE POLICY MAKERS</h4><p>Perhaps the most powerful, and most overlooked, climate policy makers are public utility commissions. They control whether pipelines and other energy infrastructure gets built; they regulate whether electric utilities expand solar and energy efficiency or stick with the carbon-heavy status quo. Regulatory capture and outright corruption are not uncommon.</p><p>A prime example is Arizona, where a former two-term commissioner known as the godfather of solar in the state is seeking a comeback. Bill Mundell argues that since Arizona law permits utilities to contribute to commissioners' electoral campaigns, the companies can buy their own regulators. Which may explain why super-sunny Arizona has so little installed solar capacity.</p><p>In South Dakota, Remi Bald Eagle, a Native American U.S. Army veteran, seeks a seat on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, which rules on the Standing Rock oil pipeline. And in what <em>HuffPost</em> called "the most important environmental race in the country," Democrat Chrysta Castaneda, who favors phasing out oil production, is running for the Texas Railroad Commission, which despite its name decides what oil, gas, and electric companies in America's leading petro-state can build.</p>
Will the Influencers Usher in a Green New Era?<h4>THE UNCOUNTED</h4><p>The story that goes largely under-reported in every U.S. election is how few Americans vote. In 2016, some 90 million, <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/08/09/an-examination-of-the-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">roughly four out of every 10 eligible voters</a>, did not cast a ballot. Attorney Nathaniel Stinnett claims that 10 million of these nonvoters nevertheless identify as environmentalists: They support green policies, even donate to activist groups; they just don't vote. Stinnett's <a href="https://www.environmentalvoter.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Environmental Voter Project</a> works to awaken this sleeping giant.</p><h4>THE SUNRISE MOVEMENT</h4><p>Meanwhile, the young climate activists of the <a href="http://www.sunrisemovement.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sunrise Movement</a> are already winning elections with an unabashedly Green New Deal message. More than any other group, Sunrise pushed the Green New Deal into the national political conversation, helping Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey draft the eponymous congressional resolution. In 2020, Sunrise has helped Green New Deal champions defeat centrists in Democratic primaries, with Markey dealing Representative Joe Kennedy Jr. the first defeat a Kennedy has ever suffered in a Massachusetts election. But can Sunrise also be successful against Republicans in the general elections this fall?</p><h4>THE STARPOWER</h4><p>And an intriguing wild card: celebrity firepower, grassroots activism, and big-bucks marketing have converged behind a campaign to get Latina mothers to vote climate in 2020. Latinos have long been the U.S. demographic most concerned about climate change. Now, <a href="https://votelikeamadre.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Vote Like A Madre</a> aims to get 5 million Latina mothers in Florida, Texas, and Arizona to the polls. Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayak, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are urging mothers to make a "pinky promise" to vote for their kids' climate future in November. Turning out even a quarter of those 5 million voters, though no easy task, could swing the results in three states Trump must win to remain president, which brings us back to the first category, "Will the White House Turn Green?"</p>
- Climate Activists Prepare for November Election - EcoWatch ›
- The Next Election Is About the Next 10,000 Years - EcoWatch ›
- Latino Voters Worried About Climate Change Could Swing 2020 ... ›
- Climate Crisis Could Change Permafrost Soil Microbes, With ... ›
- Zombie Fires Could Be Awakening in the Arctic - EcoWatch ›
- The Arctic Is on Fire and Warming Twice as Fast as the Rest of the ... ›
By Tony Carnie
South Africa is home to around 1,300 of the world's roughly 7,100 remaining cheetahs. It's also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a nongovernmental conservation project that depends on careful and intensive human management of small, fenced-in cheetah populations. Because most of the reserves are privately funded and properly fenced, the animals benefit from higher levels of security than in the increasingly thinly funded state reserves.
Vincent van der Merwe at a cheetah translocation. Endangered Wildlife Trust
Under Pressure<p>Cheetah populations elsewhere in Southern Africa have not prospered over the past 50 years. In Zimbabwe, cheetah numbers have crashed from 1,500 in 1975, to just 170 today. Botswana's cheetah population has held steady at around 1,500 over the same period, but illegal capture for captive breeding and conflicts with farmers and the growing human population are increasing. In Namibia, there were an estimated 3,000 cheetah in in 1975; roughly 1,400 remain today.</p><p>In contrast, South Africa's cheetah numbers have grown from about 500 in 1975 to nearly 1,300 today. Van der Merwe, who is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Cape Town's Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (iCWild), says he's confident that South Africa will soon overtake Namibia and Botswana, largely because the majority of South African cheetahs are protected and managed behind fences, whereas most of the animals in the neighboring countries remain more vulnerable on mainly unfenced lands.</p><p>Wildlife researchers Florian Weise and colleagues have reported that private stock owners in Namibia still trap cheetahs mainly for translocation, but there are few public or private reserves large enough to contain them. Weise says that conservation efforts need to focus on improving tolerance toward cheetahs in commercial livestock and game farming areas to reduce indiscriminate trapping.</p><p>Van der Merwe says fences can be both a blessing and a curse. While these barriers prevent cheetahs and other wild animals from migrating naturally to breed and feed, they also protect cheetahs from the growing tide of threats from humanity and agriculture.</p><p>To simulate natural dispersion patterns that guard against inbreeding, the trust helps landowners swap their animals with other cheetah reserves elsewhere in the country. The South African metapopulation project has been so successful in boosting numbers that the trust is having to look beyond national boundaries to secure new translocation areas in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.</p><p>Cheetah translocations have been going on in South Africa since the mid-1960s, when the first unsuccessful attempts were made to move scores of these animals from Namibia. These relocations were mostly unsuccessful.</p>
Charli de Vos uses a VHF antenna to locate cheetahs in Phinda Game Reserve. Tony Carnie for Mongabay
Swinging for the Fences<p>But other wildlife conservation leaders have a different perspective on cheetah conservation strategy.</p><p>Gus Mills, a senior carnivore researcher retired in 2006 from SANParks, the agency that manages South Africa's national parks, after a career of more than 30 years in Kalahari and Kruger national parks. He says the focus should be on quality of living spaces rather than the quantity of cheetahs.</p><p>Mills, who was the founder of the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Carnivore Conservation Group in 1995, and who also spent six years after retirement studying cheetahs in the Kalahari, says it's more important to properly protect and, where possible, expand the size of existing protected areas.</p><p>He also advocates a triage approach to cheetah conservation, in which scarce funds and resources are focused on protecting cheetahs in formally protected areas, rather than diluting scarce resources in an attempt to try and save every single remaining cheetah population.</p><p>"People have an obsession with numbers. But I believe that it is more important to protect large landscape and habitats properly," Mills said.</p><p>He suggests that cheetahs enclosed within small reserves live in artificial conditions: "It's almost like glorified farming."</p><p>"In the long run we have to focus on consolidating formally protected areas," he added. "Africa's human population will double by 2050, so cheetah populations in unfenced areas will become unsustainable if they are eating people's livestock."</p>
Scientists are on the brink of scaling up an enzyme that devours plastic. In the latest breakthrough, the enzyme degraded plastic bottles six times faster than previous research achieved, as The Guardian reported.
- Mutant Enzyme Recycles Plastic in Hours, Could Revolutionize ... ›
- Scientists Find Bacteria That Eats Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- Plastics: The History of an Ecological Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Accidentally Develop 'Mutant' Enzyme That Eats Plastic ... ›