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World Leaders Condemn Trump

World Leaders Condemn Trump


By Monday, 03 October 2016 04:23 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Anti-Trump invective from world leaders has reached a fever pitch.

Not since Barry Goldwater in 1964 has a major party nominee for president been the target of such condemnation from world leaders abroad.

As to whether such harsh words from abroad helps or hurts the Republican nominee, I spoke to two respected historians who disagreed sharply. Lawrence Haas of the American Foreign Policy Council believes this criticism helps Hillary Clinton, while British historian Graham Stewart said the anti-Trump rhetoric from overseas is “counterproductive.”

Their assessment was made as yet another foreign leader took Trump to task.

In an interview with me on Friday, Anders Rasmussen, former secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization voiced the concerns over Trump’s controversial remarks that he would consider pulling back U.S. support of NATO unless its European partners paid a greater share of its operating expenses. “Many Europeans are concerned about Mr. Trump’s statement on NATO in particular because he raised doubts about American defense,” said Rasmussen, who headed the security-organization from 2009-14, “He made defense of allies dependent on their economic contributions.”

Rasmussen, who served as prime minister of Denmark from 2001-08, emphasized that “while I agree with [Trump] that Europeans should pay more — and NATO has decided we should pay at least two per cent more — still, it is a matter of concern to make the dependence of allies dependent on economic contributions.

"It could tempt [Russian strongman] Putin to test the resolve of the allies."

Rasmussen’s comments came days after Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said she was “deeply concerned” about the tough talk on trade by some office-seekers — a thinly-veiled reference to Trump.

Speaking in Canada, Lagarde warned of “a growing risk of politicians seeking office by promising to ‘get tough’ with foreign trade partners through punitive tariffs or other restrictions on trade. I am deeply concerned about this.”

The IMF head went on to say “history clearly tells us that closing borders or increasing protectionism is not the way to go. Many countries have tried this route, and just as many have failed. Instead, we need to pursue policies that extend the benefits of openness and integration while alleviating their side effects.”

Months before he resigned as prime minister, David Cameron told a session of the British House of Commons that Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim’s entering the U.S. was “divisive, stupid, and wrong.” Last month, French President Francois Hollande said what he considered Trump’s excesses “make you want to retch.”

“Outward criticism of a U.S. presidential candidate by foreign leaders is quite unusual,” said Lawrence Haas, Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and author of five books, “Normally, they let their voices be heard in leaks and other behind the scenes activities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for instance, never openly said so, but he clearly was hoping that Romney would beat Obama in 2012.”

Haas, who served as communications director for Vice President Al Gore, told me felt “such criticism of Trump from abroad helps Hillary Clinton. While it won’t peel committed votes away from Trump, it adds one more hurdle to his challenge of convincing undecided voters to come his way. He needs to make clear that he has the temperament and knowledge to lead this country, and criticism from abroad merely adds to the growing doubts that he has what it takes."

Prize-winning historian Graham Stewart of the United Kingdom went further than Haas that such criticism of a U.S. presidential hopeful from abroad is “unprecedented.”

“The closest example I can think of is the reaction in Europe to Barry Goldwater's campaign.” He told me, “but even then, I'm not aware of foreign heads of government going on the record in opposition. Rather they preferred to leave it to ‘the opinion formers’ in their country's press to do so.”

Stewart, whose book “Burying Caesar” has drawn critical acclaim for its insight into Britain in the 1930’s, disagreed with Haas on the impact on Trump from harsh words by foreign leaders.

“It is, of course, almost entirely counterproductive for them to give their view,” he told me, “in that if there is anything likely to convince voters leaning towards Trump to follow their instinct and vote for him it is a bunch of foreign leaders — not all of whom are conspicuously successful in their own countries — telling them what's good for them.”

Stewart recalled how “President Obama was no less badly advised in weighing in to the UK referendum on leaving the European Union. His intervention was widely resented, even by those who were not naturally antipathetic to him.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.



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Anti-Trump invective from world leaders has reached a fever pitch.
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Monday, 03 October 2016 04:23 PM
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