Reactions from Foreign Leaders Following the U.S. Presidential Election

When the 2020 Presidential election results made it to the media, multiple states were too close to call. Although Donald Trump was initially ahead by over 600,000 votes from the day’s tallies in Pennsylvania, the mail-in vote swung heavily in Joe Biden’s favor.

This trend happened in every potential swing state except for Arizona, where Trump received a more significant percentage of the mail-in vote.

At the end of the election, Biden would secure 306 electoral votes. That’s the same amount Trump received in the 2016 election.

The difference between the two is that Biden won the popular vote by over three percentage points.

How foreign leaders reacted to the U.S. Presidential election was quite varied.

List of Foreign Reactions to the American Election

Belarus: The government declared the American election to be a mockery of democracy. They took the opportunity to question if the OSCE would call for a revote in the United States.

Slovenia: The Prime Minister congratulated Donald Trump for winning the election on November 4. He continued to support this view, even when Biden became the projected winner on November 7.

China: The government waited until November 13 to congratulate Biden on his election victory. During a press conference, the foreign minister spoke to say that the country would “respect the choice” of the American people.

Russia: The government stated that they wouldn’t congratulate anyone until the election’s certified results become available. Vladimir Putin has said he will “respect the choice” of the American people (notice the similar comment to China’s outreach).

Brazil: Although president Jair Bolsonaro said that he would wait until any “fake votes” got taken out of the American election system, the country’s vice president had an interview on November 9 when he referred to “President Biden.”

Israel: Numerous leaders in multiple political parties reached out to the Biden-Harris campaign to congratulate them on their election victory.

Palestine: A senior official of Fatah congratulated Biden, saying “Nothing was worse than Trump’s era. His departure is a gain.”

Afghanistan: The Taliban endorsed Donald Trump in the American election. They did not accept Biden’s victory, although they later called Biden the “President-elect” and wrote a note expecting the promotion of peace.

Colombia: Instead of congratulating Biden, the country celebrated Trump’s defeat.

Who Is Japan’s New Prime Minister?

Yoshihide Suga assumed the Office of the Prime Minister in Japan on September 14, 2020. He took over from Shinzo Abe, who stepped down to the surprise of much of the world.

Suga served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary from 2012 to 2020. He was also the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2006-2007.

Suga’s story is unique. His family were strawberries farmers in the Akita Prefecture. He moved to Tokyo after high school, enrolling in Hosei University to study the law. He became a political aide before running a successful campaign to join the Yokohama Municipal Assembly in 1987.

Suga says that he’ll continue many of the policies started under Abe, who served four terms as Japan’s PM.

Why Did Shinzo Abe Resign as Prime Minister?

Abe announced that he was resigning as Japan’s prime minister because of ongoing health issues. There was still a year left in his current tenure. He apologized during his announcement for being unable to fulfill his job during the pandemic.

Shinzo Abe has colitis, which is an incurable inflammatory bowel disease. It was the reason for his resignation in 2007, when he ended his first term after about a year in office.

Although Abe received criticism for trying to rewrite Japan’s wartime history and party corruption, he also had ambitious economic ideas that could transform the country’s economy. Suga says that he will continue this work, but the markets were unsure of the message. The local markets closed about 1.4% lower.

One of Suga’s immediate challenges is to get the Tokyo Olympics on track for a 2021 competition.

COVID-19 is the other challenge that Japan faces today. With an aging population and an initial lackluster response, the country is further behind others in controlling outbreaks.

Abe may decide to make another comeback one day. As for right now, Yoshihide Suga is leading the charge toward what everyone hopes to be a brighter future for Japan.

What Is DACA and the Arguments For and Against It?

DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” It is a form of administrative relief from the threat of deportation for being an illegal immigrant in the United States. The purpose of the program is to protect the children who were brought into the U.S. by their parents without permission.

DACA gives undocumented workers two specific benefits. It provides them with a 2-year work permit, and it offers protection against deportation.

Specific requirements must be met by individuals to get into this program. You must be under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012. You had to come to the United States before your 16th birthday. There are also residency requirements, educational achievements, and personal conduct stipulations to meet.

What Are the Arguments for DACA?

1. It can increase wages in a community.

When there are more immigrants active in the U.S. economy, then more jobs get created overall. That means the wages of everyone will go up because there is more competition for the best jobs available. This process could add up to $14 billion more to the national economy, along with $4 billion in new tax revenues.

2. It adds diversity to the economy.

When people come from different backgrounds and cultures, their diversity adds strength to communities. It is a trait that allows companies to be more competitive and innovative.

3. It allows people to serve in the military.

About 5% of the U.S. military consists of non-citizens or immigrants who naturalized. These people are less likely to fail during their initial training, often staying in their preferred division or brand for their entire career. The DACA program covers over 1,000 people who are currently in an active-duty status.

What Are the Arguments Against DACA?

1. It protects people who broke the law.

Even though the people who qualify for DACA contribute to society, they broke immigration laws to be in the United States in the first place. Protecting people who willingly break the law sets a poor standard for the rest of society.

2. It could take away jobs or educational opportunities.

When more people are in a country illegally, it decreases the number of employment opportunities that are available for everyone. Because educational components are part of DACA’s application process, that can mean fewer spots in college programs.

3. It encourages more people to cross the border.

If there are hundreds of thousands of people who receive government protection through DACA despite their undocumented status, then more families will be encouraged to cross the border. This program is seen as a way for parents to sacrifice themselves as a way to make a better life for their children.
The arguments for and against DACA create passionate debates on both sides of the subject. For many Americans, their perspectives of this program are a reflection of what they want their country to be one day. Maybe there is a place for compromise, but that means both parties must come to the table for an honest discussion.

How Populist Parties Use Climate Change to Gain Power

Far Right Populism is gaining traction in many countries around the world. One of the ways the officials in these political parties can influence people and gain power is to play to their fears.

The biggest fear that most people have is that the world is changing. That means there might be a need to alter some lifestyle decisions for the good of everyone. Creating “climate change hysteria” through soundbites and tweets creates an echo chamber that confirms personal perspectives instead of focusing on facts.

A 2012 tweet from Donald Trump about climate change is an excellent example of this approach. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

What Are the Facts About Climate Change?

The reality of climate change is here, whether we want to deny it as a civilization or embrace it so that we can fix the problem.

Far-right populism doesn’t deny the fact that the weather is changing on our planet. The goal of their rhetoric is to shift the blame away from humans. It is either a conspiracy theory, a natural change that happens, or an unexplained cause that has nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions.

Who is telling the truth when anyone can spin facts to support a personal narrative?

It is up to us to look at the information about climate change to understand the entire picture. Conservation International has a series of 11 facts that you should know about so that everyone can make up their own minds about what is happening.

Here is a look at some of their findings.

1. CO2 levels are very high.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere reached 408 parts per million in 2018. Scientists estimate that this is the highest level in over 3 million years.

2. Our warmest years are happening all of the time. 

Data from the NOAA and NASA show us that 2016 was the hottest year on record for our planet. It was almost two degrees warmer than it was in the 1950s. Since we’ve been keeping track of this information, 17 out of the 18 hottest years have happened since 2000.

3. Deforestation has a significant impact.

11% of the global greenhouse gas emissions occur because of deforestation. That amount is comparable to the activities of every vehicle on our planet today.

4. A warmer climate creates vulnerable populations.

Over 10% of the global population lives somewhere that is currently vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. That includes heatwaves, flooding, drought, and extreme weather events. Low-lying coastal areas could see ocean levels rise to the point where some areas become uninhabitable.
Climate change is real, but there are steps we can take to minimize the damage. Instead of letting far-right populism scare everyone so that they can retain power, arm yourself with real information so that you can understand what is happening in the world around you.