The world leaders who love Trump

President Donald Trump pointing at a crowd

Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

But while he has correctly identified some big challenges — adapting NATO to the 21st century, managing a more assertive China, or ending America's endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — his impulsive style, along with his restrictions on trade and immigration, have alienated many world leaders. Global polls show that favorable views of the US have plummeted to all-time lows in many countries, particularly among traditional American allies in Europe.


And yet, there are many world leaders who have gotten a lot out of his presidency — in ideological support or specific policies — and who won't be happy if he loses in November. Let's visit some of Trump's highest-profile fans.

Brazil. In 2018, an obscure, far-right lawmaker named Jair Bolsonaro swept to power with a brand of provocative anti-establishment politics so similar to the US president's that he earned the nickname "Trump of the Tropics." What's more, Trump's disdain for environmental regulation has helped Bolsonaro to avoid wider global censure for encouraging Amazon deforestation. But just as Trump's victory helped to legitimize rightwing populism around the globe, says Brazilian commentator Guga Chacra, Trump's loss could hurt Bolsonaro's own re-election bid for 2022.

The illiberal Europeans. Much of Western Europe is fed up with Trump, but the avowedly "illiberal" rightwing nationalist governments in Poland and Hungary are fervent admirers. When Polish President Andrzej Duda was on the verge of losing re-election this summer, he made a beeline for the White House for a photo-op that probably helped him to a narrow win. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, meanwhile, has already openly endorsed Trump for re-election.

Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has bet big on the Trump administration, and it's paid off. No American president in recent memory has been as accommodating to Israel's aims — whether in recognizing its control of the Golan Heights, walking out of the Iran nuclear deal, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, or brokering the normalization of ties with the UAE and Bahrain. As a result, Trump is hugely popular with Israelis, and he featured prominently in Bibi's own re-election campaign this summer. Netanyahu now faces growing protests — along with lingering graft charges – and he can ill-afford to see Trump fall from power, Tel Aviv-based commentator Neri Zilber recently told us.

India. New Delhi has been very, very pleased with one particular aspect of Trump's policy: his hard line on China. India has had testy ties with Beijing over the years, and they are getting worse as the two countries now jockey for 21st century Asian supremacy. So while previous US administrations had talked a big game on China but then gone soft behind closed doors, Trump, says Pramit Pal Chaudhuri of the Hindustan Times, "was willing to break China."

Russia. When Trump won in 2016, Russian lawmakers popped champagne. Four years later, the bilateral relationship is as toxic as ever — the US has imposed more sanctions while walking out of arms control treaties that Moscow wants to renegotiate. Still, Trump has been great for Vladimir Putin in a more general sense: Trump's view is that international politics is about transactions rather than values and he thinks America has no business playing global policeman. All of that lines up nicely with Putin's vision of a multipolar world in which US power is significantly diminished. If Trump loses, Putin would have to contend with a more traditional internationalist president in Joe Biden.

But let's be serious: what Putin probably wants most, whoever ultimately wins, is a disputed election that further undermines confidence in American democracy.

Want to know more about how the world sees the US election? Check out our entire project on it — interviews with locals in 24 different countries — here!

We pay little attention to the waves of the sea, yet they are the greatest unused source of renewable energy in the world. Meet ISWEC and Power Buoy, two interesting new technologies used to harness this energy. Learn more about the extraordinary power of waves in this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series, where we investigate interesting facts and trends about energy.

Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

More Show less

Listen: Soumya Swaminathan calls for a massive increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants, in a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Dr. Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, argues that vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens ahead of the rest of the world, will only prolong the pandemic because a virus does not stop at any national border. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and discusses when she thinks the world's children should get vaccinated. In addition, she suggests we may see alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

More Show less

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are nearly a year away, but discussion of a potential boycott is already stoking tensions on both sides of the US-China relationship. Officials in Washington and other Western capitals are coming under mounting pressure from activists to respond to human rights abuses in China. An increasingly assertive Beijing, meanwhile, vigorously rejects any foreign criticism of what it regards as internal issues.

The last time the US boycotted an Olympics was in 1980, when it withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviet Union repaid in kind by skipping the Games in Los Angeles. Would the US and its allies do something like that again? And how might China respond? Eurasia Group analysts Neil Thomas and Allison Sherlock explain the drivers of the boycott movement and its possible fallout.

More Show less

In two weeks, US President Joe Biden will be hosting an online "climate summit" to mark Earth Day. He'll ask China and India to sign up to America's ambitious new plan to slow down climate change. Will they go for it? China is the world's largest polluter, but Beijing is rolling out solar and wind power as fast as it's burning coal. India, meanwhile, is loathe to pick up the slack for rich countries that polluted their way to wealth and now want everyone else to agree to emissions cuts. No matter what happens, any successful plan to reduce global emissions will require buy-in from these three nations which, along with the European Union, account for almost 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions nowadays. Here's a look at emissions by the world's top polluters compared to everyone else over the last two decades.

Two big Andean elections: This Sunday, Ecuadorians go to the polls for the second time this year in a close presidential runoff, while Peruvians will vote in the first round of their own presidential election. In Ecuador, the matchup is between the leftwing-populist frontrunner Andrés Arauz, who has pledged to blow up the country's IMF agreements and boost national oil production, and Guillermo Lasso, a pro-business candidate who is seen as the choice of continuity with the current market-friendly government. Voter abstention is likely to be high, and the final result could very well be close and contested in a polarized country that was struggling with massive social unrest even before the pandemic struck. Meanwhile in Peru — which recently went through three presidents in the space of a week — the candidate field is hugely fragmented. Those with a decent shot to make it to the second round include "change" candidates like the leftist former lawmakers Yohny Lescano and Verónica Mendoza, as well as the prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, who has recently risen in the polls. Former soccer star George Forsyth is also in the mix, as is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori. Both of this Sunday's elections will serve as a kind of bellwether for the political mood in a region that has been devastated by the public health and economic impact of the pandemic.

More Show less

Nasal sprays, oral vaccines, and other new types of COVID-19 vaccines may be ready soon, according to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization. She previews some of these needle-less vaccines and notes that the possibility of being able to store vaccines at room temperature could be a game-changer for vaccinating poorer nations. The advantage of nasal sprays, she explains, is that they "would generate local mucosal immunity in addition to systemic immunity." Dr. Swaminathan's conversation with Ian Bremmer is featured on the latest episode of GZERO World, airing on US public television stations starting this Friday, April 9. Check local listings.

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal