By Liam Brucker-Casey
International News Editor
Since his election in 2016 U.S President Donald Trump has been a disruptive figure within the international community. From his criticism of NATO member states, to his withdrawal of Military support from Northern Syria, Trump’s administration has been one of change and consequence. Following President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory on November 7th, international leaders had varying reactions from relief, to telling silence.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, congratulated Biden in a statement saying, “As the world continues to change and new challenges and opportunities appear, our renewed partnership will be of particular importance.” Biden is likely to oversee a return to the Obama-style internationalist diplomacy that fostered cordial relations with the EU. Nonetheless, Biden is unlikely to completely reverse-course or simply appease the leading EU member states. As under President Obama, Biden is likely to oppose the Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. The project, which could have significant implications for much of Northern Europe, is seen by Biden as a threat to American interests as it could provide Russia with an additional source of leverage and influence over Germany.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who during his time in office has sought closer ties with the United States in an effort to distance the country from Europe in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum, congratulated Biden, as did his rival, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer.
Other officials who have congratulated the President-Elect include leaders of America’s closest allies, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu all extending a friendly hand in anticipation of Biden’s inauguration.
Biden has not received recognition from all major world leaders. Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to acknowledge Biden’s victory. Biden, a strong opponent to growing Russian foreign influence, is likely seen as a source of concern among Russian leadership which has benefitted from a softer American stance towards Russia under President Trump.
Even some of Trump’s firmest rightwing allies have ignored his false claims regarding voter fraud and gave warm statements regarding Biden’s victory. The leaders of India, Egypt, and Poland, avoided supporting Trump’s unsubstantiated claims and acknowledged Biden’s victory. Indian PM Narendra Modi congratulated Biden and also noted Vice President-Elect Kamala’s Indian heritage tweeting on the 7th, “Heartiest congratulations @KamalaHarris! Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans. I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership.”
The small village of Thulasendrapuram in Southern India, the birth place of Harris’s maternal grandfather, reacted to the election with immense pride and celebration. Residents wrote messages of support on signs, held pictures of the Vice President-Elect and lit fire crackers to celebrate. As one message written in chalk on the ground by villagers read, “Congratulations Kamala Harris Pride of Our Village.”
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