Many take the President’s disregard for democratic and ethical norms for granted, but also fear their effects on America’s reputation in the world

BRUSSELS – President Trump’s extraordinary phone call to government officials in Georgia trying to reverse the election results there has shaken many Europeans – not so much for what he said about Mr. Trump himself, but for what it could mean for the health of American democracy

Just 16 days left in his presidency, Mr Trump’s ability to shock the world with his epic self-centeredness and disregard for democratic and ethical norms is disappearing. The president has revealed himself many times before this final episode threatening Georgian officials with him to “find” the voices needed to turn the state around

But if Mr. Trump did not go any further, the world has foreign leaders rejoicing, even if many fear that the Trump effect will last for years and damage confidence in the predictability and reliability of the US

“A lot of people will just roll their eyes and wait for the clock to run out,” said Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the US. and Americas program at Chatham House, the UK research institution “But by far the most worrying thing is the number of Republicans willing to go and what they’re doing to the Republican Party, which is playing in real time””

A group of House Republicans have vowed to challenge Joseph R Biden’s electoral college wins on Wednesday when Congress meets to approve it, and are expected to have at least a dozen Republican senators join them and force a vote, though it is almost certain that they will fail

With Mr Trump continues to have such an influence on the party, winning more than 74 million votes in November Vinjamuri said, “It shows us that it will be incredibly difficult to rule the country for the next year or so”

With so many Americans saying the elections were fraudulent, “it looks like America cannot secure even the most basic norm of democracy, the peaceful transfer of power, if losers have to accept that they have lost “she said

For distant observers, the corrosive effects of Mr. Trump’s presidency is not on Mr. Trump himself, but well beyond the president – to the deep set of enablers around him, in the White House and in his party, and even to an American public where a significant number themselves believe that their democracy has been compromised and one has not can trust

The dangers for foreign allies are many and varied, and even with a new president they cannot be easily dissipated. However, they raise particular concerns before Mr Trump leaves

Patrick Chevallereau, a former French military officer who now works for RUSI, a defense research facility in London, said the Trump call “shows that the current president is capable of doing anything before Jan – absolutely everything 20 There is no standard, no reference, no ethic. He added, “Anything but himself can be destroyed and collapse, including us”

Thomas Wright, an Irish-born American expert at the Brookings Institution, said, “People are really concerned about Trump coming back.” The months since the election have shown people “how bad a second term would have been – the guard rails, a fully personalized government, and the voice of its authoritarian tendencies, “he said

“Now the rest of the world understands that Trump could actually make a comeback in 2024 So that’s a shadow he’s going to cast over American politics, “said Mr. Wright said

World leaders “all know Trump is kind of insane, but it is the end of his actions, the length of time he has gone, that he received 74 million votes and not retired going, but will be a force for Republicans”That’s worrying, he added,” People knew what Trump is like, but the meaning is the shadow of the future “

Also worries many is the letter signed by the last 10 living defense ministers calling on the nation – and the military – to accept that the elections are over and that “the time for questioning the results is over.” P>

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, a former French and United Nations diplomat who is President of the International Crisis Group, asked on Twitter: “Should we calm down at U? p Democracy when 10 former defense ministers warn against the use of the military to dispute the election results or fear that a public stance has become necessary? “

The current Secretary of Defense, Christopher C Miller did not fully interact with Mr. Biden Jr, while Mr Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T Flynn, the Mr. Trump recently pardoned, advocated martial law and held a meeting at the White House, and that is clearly a cause for concern

“It’s the things we don’t know that are scary,” said Dr Dr Vinjamuri said, “We don’t know who else in the Pentagon is not cooperating, and it is worrying that these former secretaries clearly felt the need to warn the people of the Pentagon to keep their constitutional oath””

François Heisbourg, a French security analyst, jokingly asked, “How many wars can you start in 16 days?” But he was also impressed by the autocratic tone of the Trump call and Hold Mr Trump continues to have so many key members of the Republican Party

If the Senate outflows in Georgia bring Republican victories on Tuesday “despite that incontestable phone call,” Mr Heisbourg said: “The international reaction will be that Republicans will not divorce Trumpism While Trump lost, they didn’t lose the general election, but better than they did two years ago”Trump’s ability to get the party under control and keep it going until the end is breathtaking and scares the people outside,” he said

For others, Mr. Trump’s behavior has become a matter of course, but so is his debilitating impact on American democracy and his reputation in the world

Laurence Nardon, head of the North America program at the French Institute for International Relations in Paris, said the Trump call was “more of the same”, so it was not particularly shocking. “American soft power as a model of democracy is enhanced by Trump’s actions damaged, “she said.” But I think we understand that his practice of power is an exception, even if his choice is not a coincidence ”

Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, said generally, “Europeans are no longer surprised by anything Trump is doing, but are more likely to be incredulous that someone like Trump was ever president”

There is trust in the American system, Mr. Niblett said, “But what is even more worrying is how many eminent Republican players believe it will do them good to play in this gallery, in this scorched earth, false disinformation, where you have doubts in the minds of the world People raise these doubts about their own democracy and its use politically ”

The big risk, he said, is that even if the American system can turn away authoritarianism, “there could be a really brutal dynamic that is making it difficult for America to be the partner overseas people need and want that you hope for ”

After this call, the Germans hold their breath, which Mr. Trump could do it next, said Jana Puglierin, director of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “News like this confirms everything that Germans have been hearing in the media for four years,” she said

The letter from the former defense minister was an eye opener in Berlin as well. “They realized that this was serious,” said Ms. Sagte Puglierin. “That you see a reason to write such a letter is shocking”

Sophia Gaston, director of the British Foreign Policy Group, a research organization, said that “President Trump’s desperate efforts to disrupt election results and undermine America’s democracy are now being viewed almost everywhere in Westminster as the pitiful last howl of the moon”


More optimistically, she said, “It is clear that the enormous impact the Trump administration has had on America’s standing in the world is coming to an end. There is great hope that Biden will restore America’s moral mission, and focus on Britain is solely on the future, identifying areas of direction and common interest in the new Biden government ”

New York Times

World News – FI – Trump’s reputation makes allies fearful for American democracy

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/04/world/europe/trumps-call-leaves-allies-fearful-for-american-democracy.html