Washington — Much of the world welcomed election results Saturday showing Joe Biden as the next president of the United States after several days of vote counting, but rebuilding respect for the U.S. on the global stage remained a work in progress.
Since Election Day on Tuesday, the spectacle of a careful tallying of ballots nationwide — as the sitting, and losing, president hurled lies and invective about the election supposedly being stolen from him — has drawn a measure of pity from world leaders and communities.
The Trump presidency squandered America’s reputation as the world’s leader, said Virak Ou, founder and president of Future Forum, a think tank in Cambodia, adding that he was skeptical that a Biden administration could reverse a growing belief abroad that the U.S. was in decline.
“More people are realizing that there’s too much fluctuation in American foreign policy, that the U.S. can’t be a credible and reliable ally,” Ou said. “You assume with a stable presidency you can go back, but in the eyes of the world, America can just go back to another Trump one day. He’s changed everything.”
That sentiment has been expressed repeatedly in the foreign policy salons of Washington and capitals of allied nations. Trust has eroded deeply, perhaps irreversibly, since Trump began his term in January 2017, many observers say.
Among leaders who have good relations with Trump, reaction was, initially at least, muted. As supportive of Trump as they may have been, it is in their strategic interest to be cordial to Biden. And many friends and foes were pondering how economic and diplomatic ties might change.
In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has managed to maintain what some consider a good relationship with Trump despite the American president’s anti-immigrant and anti-Mexico rhetoric, including referring to Mexicans as rapists and saying they bring crime and drugs to the United States.
Many people in Mexico view a Biden victory as a chance to normalize a binational relationship that in recent years has been subject to the whims, threats and unpredictability of Trump — a man who made building a border wall a rallying cry.
Arturo Sarukhan, a Mexican ambassador to…