Everyone expected that the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, would beat the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, in a landslide victory to become the 45th president, opening a new chapter in American history. What happened shook the world and had global repercussions. Trump, who attempted to thwart efforts by the U.S. and the international community during the campaign with his radical and provocative remarks, used his populism to become the head of the largest superpower for at least four years.
For this reason, Trump’s win was considered a shock and a surprise in numerous media and political circles, while Clinton, with all the financial, political and media resources of the United States and the international community, did not succeed. This was the most shocking, especially for the American government and for industrial empires, as well as for other media outlets and heads of state who declared outright hostility toward the Republican candidate. They expressed their concerns about an impending international conflict based on his remarks. Their love for Clinton represented all that he was not, and they fear his populist rhetoric will expand to other countries and take on new forms, like the rise of right wing parties and extremists in Europe. The call for caution and respect for humanitarian principles is under threat now more than ever.
After a heated battle, punctuated by vulgarities and scandals, Trump has come to the White House as the new leader of the Republican Party, which also won a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now the president-elect can control all the legislative means necessary to impose his vision, both at the domestic and the international level. Preliminary indications are that he will rush to address the many troublesome policies of his party, the course of which will be as unstoppable as a pack of elephants in the jungle. Diplomatic relations are estranged as most world leaders, such as French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, did not offer congratulations free from concern. Concerning the European Union, one official predicted a disruption in diplomatic relations. Psychologically, Europeans expected this surprise win more than others, after the British voted last year in favor of exiting the European Union, a move that shocked the continent and influenced Trump’s win this month.
The U.S. election is another event that confirms the world is changing. The network of relationships and interests is changing and will give rise to orthodoxy and conservatism that may be a prelude to a return to conflict and polarization across the world, including the Arab region, where its people are doubly aware of the seriousness of the situation. Once the air clears, they will overcome their differences, no matter how great. It is no longer possible to bet that the tone will be the same as previous American administrations. These countries must take care of their own interests, as Trump’s slogan – “America First” – could mean anything, and it may result in provocations that will exceed mere defense.