Shock and awe greet Trump election victory
In an upset few predicted, Republican candidate Donald Trump was declared the US election victor last night, with the NLD’s U Win Htein pondering what that will mean for Myanmar.
MYANMAR joined the rest of the world’s largely shocked response to the US election results yesterday.
In an explosive upset that ran contrary to nearly all political polls prior to the vote, Republican candidate Donald Trump won the US presidential election in a tight race (see related stories pages 12-13).
Senior National League for Democracy official and spokesperson U Win Htein said yesterday that he feared US interest in Myanmar would decline under a Trump administration.
Mr Trump, who has no prior national political record, has campaigned on a largely isolationist foreign policy outlook. He has pledged to remove the US from alliances and security commitments worldwide.
By contrast, Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton had considered the rapprochement of relations with Myanmar as one of her crowning achievements as secretary of state, and had forged a friendship with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“I wanted Hillary Clinton to win in the election,” U Win Htein said yesterday. “Trump would not even know where Myanmar is, if asked. So the US’s relationship with Myanmar is likely to suffer.”
In an analysis published earlier this week, Brookings Institute analyst and fellow Thomas Wright said, “If Trump tries to implement his worldview, he could ignite a new world crisis.”
Mr Trump has suggested having other countries pay for the US defence budget, and has said he will impose tariffs. Asian stock markets mostly dipped yesterday shortly after Trump began leading the election count. Chinese, Hong Kong, Singaporean and Japanese stocks were all down, reflecting what several economic analysts said was a period of uncertainty and worry.
In a statement released shortly after Ms Clinton conceded yesterday, Amnesty International called on Mr Trump to commit to upholding human rights and to drop his “poisonous rhetoric”.
“The xenophobic, sexist and other hateful remarks made by Trump have no place in government,” Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said.
U Win Htein said he will have to “wait and see” whether Donald Trump as president fulfills his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bluster.
“We have to wait and listen to what he has to say about Myanmar,” he said. Not all were so hesitant to greet the new president-elect yesterday, however.
In a post on Facebook, Ko Nay Shwe Thway Aung, former dictator U Ne Win’s grandson, welcomed the US election result with a message directed at “Mr Trump”.
“Not very long ago I started to support, you now became my inspiration,” he wrote in English. “You act better than anyone else, have strongly surpassed the obstacles and cleared the doubt that might have rooted in billions of people … Thank you for the extraordinary way you have shown.”
Mr Trump won the election last night, but lost the popular vote. He gained 59,132,367 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 59,297,363 votes. This is only the fifth presidential election where the winner lost the popular vote.
An attendee watches a live broadcast during a US elections event at the US ambassador’s residence in Yangon yesterday.