Ahead of Donald Trump's unexpected victory in the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, former acting CIA director John McLaughlin shared insights with online news outlet OZY about how foreign governments are preparing for the next U.S. president.
McLaughlin, a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., told OZY that world leaders look to the U.S. for leadership and have been puzzled by the bitter—at times bizarre—campaign and the success of a novice politician. "Their planning for a ... Trump victory is inevitably muddled by their simple confusion about what's going on," McLaughlin said.
More from McLaughlin on how a Trump presidency will be received:
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Foreign leaders are almost uniformly negative in that they are appalled by some of the things [Donald Trump] said regarding seeming to be prepared to weaken alliances, to interrupt trade deals, to back away from the Iran nuclear deal and to ban categories of people from coming to the United States. We can say to them that this is just campaign rhetoric and elected presidents never do precisely what their campaign foreshadows, but they don't know that or understand it. Therefore, their planning for a Trump administration is in the category of "hold your breath and wait and see."
They literally don't know what to expect. They will wait to see how he approaches policy issues and who his advisers are. A lot of their judgment about both candidates and, to some degree, their planning about how to deal with the United States under either of them will be impacted by who their principal advisers are and who their appointees are, because they know day to day they're not dealing with the president—they're dealing with the secretary of defense, the secretary of the Treasury, the secretary of state.