The US election is over, and despite there still being the matter of the official electoral college vote of December 19th to make it a (dystopian) reality, it looks as though the world has got itself a new American president. We say the world, because despite the potential horrors American citizens are now facing in the wake of that vote, there are in addition geopolitical implications that really will impact us all.
From McDonald’s in Eastern Europe to bars in South America and everywhere in between, the world has been watching the American election campaign very closely. TV screens have been filled with local opinion and commentary that has long replaced the somewhat bemused interest in what felt like incredibly bad reality TV back in 2015 when the campaign first began.
A political power shift feels imminent; what does the result of the American election mean for other major global powers that have until now seemed all talk and no trousers? Is this an opportunity for them to thrive? Let’s take a look.
Of course all eyes will now be on China. Trump has a tempestuous opinion of this nation, from accusing it of job theft to suggesting he would be willing to make deals to better the American economy, there is clearly going to be a change in the relationship between the US and China over the coming months. China has viewed the election process with quiet glee, watched as the democratic process has divided rather than strengthened a nation, which some might view as highlighting the power of authoritarianism under a one party country.
China’s attitude towards human rights is likely to fall under less scrutiny from Trump than it would have done with Clinton, his apparent homophobia will deal a heavy blow to China’s gay rights movement, and let us not even get started on what might happen in terms of nuclear weaponry with such a firecracker in control.
Trump’s plans for immigration could inflict a severe blow on America’s tourism industry. For Chinese tourists this this could mean an increase in visitor numbers to the already-popular European countries and Australia, but could it also lead to a resurgence in tourism at home? Or indeed in international tourism to China: one million Brits are expected to boycott visiting America following Trump’s election victory, and those that must travel must have somewhere to go. Could it be here?
Mandarin is already spoken by some 955 million native and 194 million non-native speakers worldwide, with its importance and popularity going from strength to strength in the West even though China’s economy is currently experiencing a definite wobble. With Trump’s repeated talk of deals with China would this lead to an increase or decrease in those non-native numbers?
It seems the world has been keeping a wary eye on Putin of late, from Russia’s unauthorized crossing of airspace and coastal defenses of many countries to its continued conflict with Ukraine. Barely two weeks have passed since the election and already there are fears about America’s commitment to NATO following apparent contact with Putin.
That Russia appears to like Trump and that Trump appears to appreciate Putin is cause for concern for many. With apparent applause in Russian parliament following Trump’s victory, it is clear that Russia believes Trump in power will bring the country in from the cold.
Trump has already said he can do business with Russia: Russian markets surged by approximately 2.5% following the election announcement so clearly they are in agreement with that idea. Russia has even suggested that the reason Clinton lost the election was because she demonized Putin, where Trump has called Putin a firm leader on numerous occasions throughout the campaign.
If Russia really is going to be brought in from the cold following the American election, this means a boost to its economy, more power and representation, and overall more global opportunity. Which can only be a good thing. Right? Perhaps with more respect for Russia from America there will be fewer disparaging comments about Russia being little more than political farce. And with that renewed strength, perhaps Russia might ease its travel restrictions and more tourists can appreciate the beauty of this largely undiscovered country.
There are currently 171 million native and 30 million non-native Russian speakers: a growing accord between America and Russia could signal time for another language feather to add to your bow should you wish to widen your travel horizons.
The American and by proxy global future is uncertain. We can but observe the situation as it unfolds and comment as we see fit on the things we know best about, which is language and travel. We hope that you will join us on this ride.