Russia a cautious hope
The Kremlin did not anticipate Trump’s electoral victory. It was preparing for Hillary Clinton and the prospect of U.S.-Russian relations continuing to deteriorate, with a not-too-trivial chance of a kinetic collision between Russian and U.S. forces—such as through the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria, which Clinton supported.
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump’s election is a chance to pull relations with the United States out of the danger zone and make deals on issues such as Syria and Ukraine.
Europe – Anxiety and Morbid Fascination
Europeans followed the election extravaganza in the United States with curious anxiety and morbid fascination. The day-after shockwaves equal or exceed those that many Europeans felt in June when the continent woke up to the results of the Brexit vote. Reactions have ranged from stupefaction to jubilation to sheer dread.
The immediate political response in Europe has been a flurry of overtures toward the president-elect from both the elite and the antiestablishment camps.
European populist parties are viewing Trump’s win as a vindication that their style of politics isn’t so far off the mark. “Their world is falling apart. Ours is being built,” a senior member of France’s far-right National Front tweeted, echoing the sentiment of many in l’Europe profond who share this view.
The political reverberations within Europe could be momentous. In 2017, there will be three major national European elections, in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The antiestablishment victory in the United States, and the Brexit vote before it, will only pander to populist politics. Trump’s victory also casts serious doubts over the Paris climate deal, European security (including NATO), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, to name just a few EU foreign policy concerns.
During this election cycle, Chinese officials made a show of having no preference between the candidates.
Ordinary Chinese, however, showed unprecedented interest in this election and the larger democratic process. And Chinese experts now want to know whether Trump will continue President Barack Obama’s pivot to Asia, which the Chinese see as restraining their rise. They have noticed with pleasure Trump’s dismissive attitude toward frictions in the South China Sea. Yet, they have also noticed with concern some of his purported advisers’ comments on strengthening ties with Taiwan and the U.S. presence in the region.
Trump’s “America First” campaign rhetoric and the deep uncertainty about how he will translate campaign statements into policy realities have raised serious concerns in Tokyo about the continuity of an economic and security relationship of unrivaled importance for Japan’s foreign policy. Trump’s criticism of Japanese trade practices, derision of free trade agreements, and calls for Tokyo to pay more for U.S. troops based in Japan has Japanese politicians on the defensive and unsure of whom to turn to for access to Trump’s inner circle. In this new context of trepidation in Tokyo, Japanese policymakers will focus on two key questions to determine how to best orient their country’s strategy.
First, will Trump be principled and combative with China or stick to simple transactions and less active leadership? Trump has threatened trade sanctions against China and promised a major military buildup, which could reassure Tokyo on security and even facilitate closer Japanese-Chinese relations if they join forces against U.S. trade pressure. The worst outcome for Japan would be a sense of strategic abandonment. This could arise if Trump acquiesces to Chinese “core interest” or “historical rights-based” security arguments in Asia, leading his administration to downplay ties with traditional allies and partners in exchange for lower Chinese trade surpluses and other favors. The ultimate question is will a Trump administration see continued U.S. leadership in Asia as a national and collective strategic good by itself, worthy of U.S. investment to benefit its long-term interests, or is it only willing to exercise such leadership for a price, paid by U.S. allies like Japan? Japan will resist paying more to support a U.S.-centered agenda, but it can step up its own diplomatic activities in coordination with Washington—such as economic and diplomatic investment in Southeast Asia—to support growth and complement U.S. contributions.
India – confused uncertainty
Israel – a honeymoon of unknown duration
Iran – hardliners are happy
Saudi Arabia: Be Careful What You Wish For
Egypt: Expecting Greater Forbearance
Turkey: A Mix of Trust and Uncertainty
The Iran Deal: Perspectives From Major Powers