According to a report from Politico, foreign diplomats are not so sure Donald Trump will be beaten in the 2020 election and are making contingency plans for how they will deal with him should he be re-elected.
The report notes that the win by the New York businessman in 2016 caught foreign governments by surprise with former French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud admitting, “In 2016, nobody believed he was going to be elected. People don’t want to be stupid twice.”
According to Politico, “There’s no known scientific survey on the topic — few foreign officials would participate in one given diplomatic norms that preclude them from commenting on another country’s internal politics. But none who talked to POLITICO were willing to say that Trump will lose. Instead, they pointed to three key advantages for Trump: He’s the incumbent, the U.S. economy is strong and the Democrats have no definitive front-runner to challenge him.”
Of concern to diplomats would be Trump as a lame-duck president, even more unbound to do what he wants to do without concerns about being re-elected.
“The way it looks to people is it’s going to be another four years,” explained one Arab diplomat on condition of anonymity. “If he gets reelected, he’s bound by nothing, except Congress. And I don’t know how that’s going to play out.”
Another foreign diplomat said uncertainty about who will be president has his country unwilling to make begin new initiatives with the U.S., stating, “The possibility of it coming to fruition aren’t high,” before adding, “But if there’s something already in the process, you’re probably not going to stop.”
“But Trump is very hard to predict!” another diplomat added. “We are always very surprised.”
According to the report, “If Trump does win, other countries may determine that something fundamental has shifted in the United States. For U.S. allies, such as France and Germany, that could mean a serious re-evaluation of their military and economic partnerships with Washington. ”
They also worry that a Trump win would mean that “Future Democratic candidates will be more nationalistic,” according to Brookings Institution foreign policy expert Tom Wright.
With that, a foreign diplomat from the Middle East lamented he believes Trump might just hold onto the Oval Office.
“What I’m saying right now is, I think, shared by many people. It’s his to lose,” he conceded.
You can read the whole piece here.