Shock and angst in Asia over Trump triumph
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. –