World Jittery After Trump Speech 01/21 09:53
President Donald Trump's inaugural speech promised "America first" policy
led by a forceful executive, in contrast to the coalition building and
international conferences which have featured strongly in past administrations.
(AP) -- President Donald Trump's inaugural speech promised "America first"
policy led by a forceful executive, in contrast to the coalition building and
international conferences which have featured strongly in past administrations.
The billionaire businessman and reality television star --- the first
president who had never held political office or high military rank ---
promised to stir a "new national pride" and protect America from the "ravages"
of countries he says have stolen U.S. jobs.
"This American carnage stops right here," Trump declared. In a warning to
the world, he said, "From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it's going to be America first."
A look at some reactions from around the world:
AFGHANS DISAPPOINTED BUT HOPEFUL
Like many in the Afghan capital of Kabul, restaurant owner Mohammad Nahim
watched the presidential inauguration ceremonies but was disappointed to not
hear any mention of Afghanistan.
"Trump did not mention a word about Afghanistan in his speech and the
salaries of the Afghan army and police are paid by the U.S.," he said. He added
that if the U.S. stops helping Afghanistan, "our country will again become a
sanctuary to terrorists. I hope Trump will not forget Afghanistan."
Mohammed Kasim Zazi, a shopkeeper whose home is in eastern Afghanistan's
Khost province, where the feared Haqqani network is prominent, said he expected
Trump to stay focused on Afghanistan.
"Trump said he will finish the terrorists in the world and that has to mean
that Afghanistan will remain in the sights of the U.S." said Zazi.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said he was encouraged by Trump's speech
to soldiers in Bagram. "There he announced his support to the troops and the
continuation of support for their troops here and strengthening their troops,
which is a good and elegant step and I am sure that our cooperation in other
areas will continue as well."
SPEECH RESONATES IN MEXICO
Perhaps no country was watching the speech more closely than Mexico. Trump
has made disparaging remarks about immigrants who come to the United States
illegally and sought to pressure companies not to set up shop in Mexico by
threatening a border tariff on goods manufactured there and exported to the
So Trump's talk of "protect(ing) our borders," ''America first" and "buy
American and hire American" had particular resonance in America's southern
Ricardo Anaya Cortes, president of the conservative opposition National
Action Party, called for "the unity of all Mexicans, unity in the face of this
protectionist, demagogic and protectionist speech we just heard. Unity against
that useless wall, against deportations, against the blockade of investment."
"The challenge is enormous. ... We demand the federal government leave aside
tepidity, that it tackle with absolute firmness and dignity the new
relationship with the United States," Anaya said.
The United States is by far Mexico's largest commercial partner, buying some
80 percent of its $532 billion in exports in 2015. Mexico is the second-largest
market for U.S. exports.
"At least the word 'Mexico' was not heard in the speech. Nevertheless one
can expect the United States to launch a hyper-protectionist project," said
Ilan Semo Groman, a researcher at Iberoamericana University.
If Trump truly moves to block or drive away U.S. investment in Mexico, Semo
said Mexico should focus its commercial efforts on other countries.
"There are very clear possibilities," Semo said.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sent three tweets after Trump's
inaugural speech Friday:
--- "I congratulate @realDonaldTrump on his inauguration. We will work to
strengthen our relationship with shared responsibility."
--- "We will establish a respectful dialogue with the government of
President @realDonaldTrump, to Mexico's benefit."
--- "Sovereignty, national interest and the protection of Mexicans will
guide the relationship with the new government of the United States."
PAKISTAN WORRIES ABOUT MUSLIM COMMENTS
A group of retired government officials gathered after morning prayers for a
walk in a sprawling park in the heart of the federal capital of Islamabad and
the topic of their conversation was President Trump's inaugural speech.
They expressed concern that Trump would target the Islamic world,
particularly Pakistan, because of his campaign rhetoric about Muslims as well
as his inaugural speech in which he promised to eradicate Islamic terrorism
worldwide. Pakistan has often been accused of harboring militant insurgents and
declared terrorist groups that have targeted neighboring India, against whom
Pakistan has fought three wars, as well as Afghanistan. Pakistan denies the
"Likely there is more trouble in store for the Islamic world and our country
will take the most brunt of the harsh treatment from President Trump
administration," said Mohammad Afzal.
His sentiments were echoed by Shafiq Khan, who said "the one main thing that
the new president mentioned about the world outside America is to tackle
Islamic radicalism and that should be the matter of concern for all of us."
Amanaullah, a school teacher in Islamabad, feared Trump's reference to
eliminating radical Islamic terrorism. "I think under this name he wants to
malign and eliminate Islam," he said.
Umair Khan, an engineer, said of Trump: "Let him taste the burden of
government and get settled, I am sure he will calm."
CONCERN IN TOKYO
Some Tokyo residents are worried that Trump's "America first" policy will
usher in an era of populism and protectionism at the expense of the rest of the
Tadashi Gomibuchi, who works in the manufacturing industry, recorded Trump's
inauguration speech overnight as he was keen to hear what the new president had
"Trump is trying to make big changes to the way things are. Changes are good
sometimes, but when America, the most powerful, loses stability ... it's a
grave concern," he said. "If you take his words literally, it may destabilize
the world going forward and I'm really worried. I hope things will lead to a
Retiree Kuninobu Inoue, who lived in the U.S. during the 1990s, is concerned
about trade frictions between Japan and the U.S, citing Trump's decision to
withdraw from the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership.
"Japan-U.S. relations are not just about security. Our good relations rely
so much on trade," he said.
Protectionist policies such as the withdrawal from TPP and renegotiation of
NAFTA will have a negative impact on the global economy including Japan's, said
Akio Mimura, head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"These policies only enhance protectionist and populist movement spreading
around the world, and could largely shake the free trade system that has
supported global growth," he said.
In his congratulatory message to Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
stressed the importance of the Asia-Pacific region as a source for growth but
"In the 21st century, while the Asia-Pacific region is the source of the
global economic growth, the security environment of the region is becoming more
severe," he said.
CHINA BRACES FOR TROUBLE AHEAD
A Chinese state-run nationalist tabloid, the Global Times, says President
Trump's inauguration speech indicates that the U.S. and China would inevitably
face trade tensions.
The newspaper said in a Saturday commentary following Trump's inauguration
that "dramatic changes" lay ahead for the U.S. and the global economic order.
"Undoubtedly, the Trump administration will be igniting many 'fires' on its
front door and around the world. Let's wait and see when it will be China's
turn," it said.
The paper noted that Trump blamed foreign trade policies for failing to put
"America first," and said trade tensions between the U.S. and China seemed
"inevitable within the four years ahead."
The paper says it expects that the Trump administration, in seeking to bring
factories back to the U.S. from China, will use the U.S. government's relations
with Taiwan as "merely a bargaining chip for them to put trade pressure on
In Beijing, Independent scholar and commentator Zhang Lifan drew a contrast
between Trump's focus on domestic issues and Chinese President Xi Jinping's
emphasis on international cooperation.
"The new U.S. administration's policy toward China is not clear now. In my
view, Trump will deal with China like a businessman, especially on trade
negotiations," Zhang said.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted her congratulations to Trump,
saying: "Congratulations @realDonaldTrump. Democracy is what ties Taiwan and
the US together. Look forward to advancing our friendship & partnership."
Trump didn't mention the self-ruled island in his speech, but he angered
China and broke diplomatic protocol by talking by phone with Tsai shortly after
winning November's election.
He has said earlier that Washington's "one China policy" under which it
recognized Beijing in 1979 was open to negotiation, and questioned why the U.S.
should be bound by such an approach without China offering incentives.
SOUTH KOREANS PUT SECURITY FIRST, WORRY ABOUT ALLIANCE, TRADE
Some in South Korea worried that President Trump would ask Seoul to shoulder
a bigger share of the cost of U.S. forces stationed in South Korea as a
deterrent against aggression from North Korea, or that their country will be
caught in a conflict between the U.S. and China.
"I think the biggest challenge is the national defense," said Park Geon-rok,
a 30-year-old designer, adding that South Korea was "heavily influenced by the
In an editorial, the English-language JoongAng Daily said South Korea's
relations with the U.S. under Trump will face a challenge as the new leader
will likely ask Seoul to pay more for the cost of the U.S. military forces in
the country, and renegotiate a bilateral free trade agreement. But the paper
also notes it is "fortunate" that Trump has a strong position on North Korea's
There were concerns about potential conflicts between the U.S. and China,
South Korea's key business partner. Kim Kyung-jin, a spokesman for the
opposition People's Party, said that the international economic order might
collapse as the U.S. seeks its own economic interest. Kim urged Trump to ease
"There is a possibility of us becoming an innocent bystander who gets hurt
in a fight," said Nam Hae-sook, a 62-year-old homemaker. "Also, I think
President Trump will be different from President-elect Trump. I think things
will work out."
In place of impeached President Park Geun-hye, Acting President and Prime
Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said in his congratulatory message to Trump that South
Korea wishes to bolster the already close ties with the U.S. and cooperate on
stopping North Korea's nuclear development.
INDIANS FRET ABOUT IMMIGRATION PROSPECTS
Among dozens of young, urban Indians who watched Trump's inauguration and
speech at a club in a New Delhi, the 27-year-old Jigar Gorasia said getting
work visas for professionals and green cards will become a problem.
"It is going to be a little bit challenging for those," said Gorasia, who
studied and worked in Chicago before moving back to India last year.
Divya Narayanan, a 21-year-old student of journalism, said that Trump as
president worried her. "Someone at the level of the U.S. president coming out
and saying things which are bigoted, which are sexist, it sets a precedent for
other people in the country, right?"
Indian newspapers highlighted Trump's protectionist policies in his speech.
"America First President," read the banner headline of The Indian Express
"Protectionist Trumpet: Buy American, Hire American," was the headline of
The Times of India newspaper.
VIETNAMESE SAY SPEECH TOO AMERICA-FOCUSED
A Vietnamese analyst said Trump's speech was disappointing because it mainly
served the domestic audience.
"I think this speech would be right for an election campaign, but not an
inauguration speech," said Nguyen Ngoc Truong, president of Hanoi-based private
policy think-tank Center for Strategic Studies and International Development.
"It should not be that simple because in an inauguration speech, you must
introduce an objective and multi-faceted vision, not just one-sided vision to
the American public," he said. "I don't think Trump could have a magic stick to
be able to manage America to realize the goals that he outlined."
AUSTRALIANS FIND SPEECH DIVISIVE
An Australian father of two, Marek Rucinski, found Trump's speech "very
divisive" and lacking substance.
"Normally these speeches are used to rally and unite people," he said. "It
was, again, more bluster."
Rucinski was among some 8,000-10,000 people who attended a Women's March
anti-Trump rally in Sydney's Hyde Park.
Self-described feminist, Niall Anderson, watched the president's
inauguration in disbelief.
"Just disbelief that this can happen in 2017," the 35-year-old said.
The Australian newspaper's Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan wrote that "Trump
answered one big question with his inauguration address: There is to be no
transition from campaign Trump to presidential Trump."
"Donald Trump is always Donald Trump. This consistency is perhaps his chief
virtue," Sheridan wrote.
"And his inauguration address made it clear that he intends to govern just
as he campaigned, taking swings at his opponents, extolling his populist
mantras, speaking in the slightly weird argot of contemporary down market
celebrity," he added.