Shock and angst in Asia over Trump tri­umph

The Myanmar Times - - World -

DON­ALD Trump’s im­prob­a­ble vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion pro­voked global shock and angst yes­ter­day over the im­pli­ca­tions for ev­ery­thing from trade to hu­man rights and cli­mate change.

The bom­bas­tic bil­lion­aire de­feated Hil­lary Clin­ton in a re­sult that few pre­dicted, as mil­lions of American vot­ers shrugged off con­cerns over his tem­per­a­ment, lack of ex­pe­ri­ence, and ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ist and racist be­hav­iour.

Mr Trump’s rise has been keenly watched abroad as he cam­paigned on a plat­form of trash­ing trade agree­ments, ques­tion­ing al­liances, re­strict­ing im­mi­gra­tion and dis­miss­ing cli­mate change.

In of­ten hushed scenes, many at­ten­dees at elec­tion-watch­ing events around Asia ex­pressed deep mis­giv­ings about Mr Trump tak­ing the reins of the world’s most pow­er­ful na­tion and econ­omy.

Dianita Sugiyo, 34, a univer­sity lec­turer in In­done­sia – the world’s most pop­u­lous Mus­lim coun­try – said she was con­cerned by Mr Trump’s calls to tem­po­rar­ily ban Mus­lims from coun­tries with his­to­ries of ter­ror­ism.

“He has al­ways been anti-Mus­lim and I am afraid he will dis­crim­i­nate against Mus­lims,” said Ms Sugiyo, a mem­ber of a lead­ing In­done­sian mod­er­ate Mus­lim or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“The world is glob­al­is­ing and if the US, which is one of the eco­nomic pow­er­houses, is go­ing to put up walls, I don’t see that as good for the world econ­omy,” said Clarita Car­los, a

po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines.

Mr Trump has vowed to ditch the 12-na­tion Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) trade agree­ment, per­haps Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s main diplo­matic legacy in the re­gion.

Tang Siew Mun, head of the ASEAN Stud­ies Cen­tre at the ISEAS-Yu­sof Ishak In­sti­tute in Sin­ga­pore, said such moves would se­verely dam­age the US in a re­gion where China poses a grow­ing lead­er­ship challenge.

“For us in the re­gion, we ask these ques­tions: Does Amer­ica still stand for free trade as far as TPP is con­cerned? Will Amer­ica stand for and en­gage in­ter­na­tion­ally as a global leader?” he said.

Bradley Jor­dan, a re­tired 59-yearold Cal­i­for­nian in Bangkok, said a Mr Trump win would “throw the whole world up­side down”.

“It’s dan­ger­ous for the planet. Noth­ing will be done about cli­mate change. I can’t be­lieve this,” he said, adding he was con­tem­plat­ing re­nounc­ing his US cit­i­zen­ship. –

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