According to the current USA Today Presidential poll tracker, Donald J. Trump is leading for the Republican Presidential Nomination by about 13 percent over his ‘nearest’ competitors, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. A nomination and a possible successful Presidential run after it by Trump would create a situation that the United States has never seen before: a non-politician as the ultimate politician.
Due to the US being the third most populated nation in the world, having one of the most powerful governments and militaries on the planet, along with influential diplomacies with every nation at some degree, it’s needless to say that no matter who becomes the 45th President of the United States of America this year, it will have many repercussions for nations around the world. Along comes Donald Trump.
According to ForeignAssistance.gov, the US Government plans to give out approximately $37.9 billion dollars this year in foreign aid to various nations around the globe. So although it’s totally the choice of the American voting public on who will become the next President in November, the rest of the world has a strong vested interest, in more than just money, on who will step up next to the doors of the White House.
Opinions on Trump, the real estate mogul turned presidential candidate, range widely from across the world, but something that has attracted attention across all borders is Trump’s call for an immigration halt on all Muslims entering the US.
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” said Trump in a 12/7/15 press release on his website.
Abdo Roumani is a Cultural Studies student at the University of Graz in Austria, but is originally from Damascus, Syria, a nation that, according to a recent Columbia University study, is roughly 72% Muslim, subdivided into various sects of Sunnism and Shiism. Although Roumani considers himself an atheist, he is legally Muslim and called Muhammad.
“I see the point Donald Trump is trying to make about Muslim immigration,” said Roumani. “I don’t think Donald Trump has ideological problems with Muslims and I don’t think he’s a bigot the way (Ben) Carson and (Ted) Cruz are.”
Some might be surprised to hear that Roumani has this response to Trump’s comments because of his ties to Islam and Syria. But Roumani wants to stress that he believes that Trump has the interest of the American people in mind and that Trump sees a danger with violent radicalism of any kind.
“He isn’t blaming the Muslims for the clash; he isn’t saying that they’re responsible for the hatred on both sides,” said Roumani. “Instead, he said that Americans, with the help of Muslims, need to figure out what’s ‘going on’, thus opening the door for questioning why Muslims have become the enemy, at least since the 1990s.”
The potential effects of Trump’s election as President on Roumani and his fellow Syrians could be huge, as Trump could possibly begin to cut the $255 million the US Government is expected to send to Syria this year for reasons listed as “Peace and Security” and “Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance”.
Some of Roumani’s international peers have a differing viewpoint on what Trump’s intentions are and what they could ultimately mean for the world overall.
“Stopping Muslim immigration will create more tensions with the Middle East, contribute to economic issues, and it will not solve a single problem that the United States may have with terrorism or with any policy that was undertaken in the Middle East,” said Marianne Gosselin, an International Relations student at the University of Laval in Quebec, Canada. “I find this type of discrimination pointless and unwise. Muslims are not the problem. Terrorist organizations are. Some people are born violent; they can be Christians, Protestants, Atheists, Lutherans, Jews, Muslims, and of any skin color.”
A popular set of ideas among why supporters follow Trump are two concepts newly entering an American Presidential Election: the fact that Trump is self-funding a major piece of his own campaign and that he is a successful businessman by most accounts, making him an outsider to the traditional set of strictly political candidates. According to OpenSecrets.org, numbers from Trump’s political camp indicate that out of the over $25.5 million Trump has spent on his campaign, he has self funded just under 70% of that, or about $17.8 million.
“Trump’s prominence shows that people are unhappy with the current politics,” said Awije Bahrami, a Montclair State University student originally from Cologne, Germany.
When these same ideas are exported outside of the heavily capitalist US however, they take on a different meaning in other societies around the world.
“Running a business is totally different than governing or leading a multicultural society like the USA,” said Touhid Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi student studying American Studies at Otto-Friedrich University in Bamberg, Germany. “Politics is for society and for the people, but business is individualistic and counts on money.”
Although overseeing the world’s largest economy might be a strength of Trump’s due to his financial-business background, there is far more that goes into being the premiere world leader as US President.
“Being the President of the United States is not like being the leader of any other country either,” said Gosselin. “He has to be the face of the leadership for a lot of developing countries. He’s also a promoter of stability on the international scene, as well as the main source of support for capacity-building and military staff all around the world. An entrepreneur, no matter how wealthy, is not necessarily habilitated to rule a country.”
Social media has also been a major free marketing tool used by Trump, reaching around a 12 million viewer audience combined between his two major platforms of Facebook and Twitter. But due to this high level of exposure, the international community has come to see him in a possibly different than anticipated light.
“He gets lots of negative press and comical memes, which mock him on social media,” said Jacquelynne Poutney, a sociology student at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.
But because of longstanding ideologies in the United States idealizing things like “The American Dream”, some Americans view success by Trump in his business field as a possible strength of him in office, although it doesn’t necessarily indicate overall support.
“Government is a business,” said Chris Sudol, a history major at Montclair State University in the US. “The main goal of a business, however, is to make money while the primary goal of a government should be to protect and care for its citizens. In many cases, a business should do this as well.”
Whether Trump would get a vote from someone or not is sometimes irrelevant as his outspoken nature garners enough international attention on its own. Being that parts of the international community already view the US and Americans in a sometimes caricatured and generalized way, Trump’s loud style can have varying effects on their viewpoint of America.
“I think he appears a bit threatening, and fulfills the stereotype of ‘stupid Americans’ – he makes big, bold statements that are hardly justified,” said Poutney. “Although, I do not believe the UK sees him as Donald Trump the American. I believe they see him as an entirely different entity which is why he has brought himself so much negative attention.”
Trump’s polarizing comments, speeches, and calls to action are just as splitting around the world as they have become in the states.
“There is a division among people here,” said Eva-Maria Trinkaus, an American Studies student at the University of Graz in Austria, “(with) some agreeing with Trump, tying in with his ideas, some silently chuckling about his stupidity and ignoring him, and another group that fears the idiocy of his power and the people who could actually empower him.”
Because of the exportation of American culture through social and mass media to the rest of the world, some in the international community have come to believe that Trump has awoken a subculture in American society that has been all along thinking what he has been saying since his early days in the nomination process.
“I honestly believe that he has been saying out loud what a lot of people have been thinking or saying on the low,” said Gosselin. “I have heard many Americans expressing similar opinions and so I was not surprised hearing him making those comments.”
Some Americans are having fears though that as Trump’s comments grow even more huge in anticipation of the coming elections, that he may be possibly creating more enemies not only for him, but of Americans abroad as well.
“Trump’s brash and blunt nature is offensive to Americans,” says Sudol. “It endangers Americans that want to travel abroad and the image of the country itself.”
When ultimately asked “Would you vote for Donald Trump?”, all international interviewees responded with the same answer, but for different reasons.
“If I were an American, probably no because I think he’s unpredictable and voting for him means gambling with the nation,” said Roumani.
“I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump, because his ideas are everything I am against,” said Bahrami.
“No, because I do not share his views and opinions,” said Gosselin. “He does not understand that politics are not just about making speeches and saying whatever you please to provoke people or seek attention.”
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