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World

People Around The World React To U.S. Election Results

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Donald Trump campaigned on an America-first platform and proposed actions that could upend the world order. Now we're going to hear about reaction to his election in different parts of the world. We're joined by NPR international correspondents Carrie Kahn in Mexico City, Frank Langfitt in London and Peter Kenyon in Istanbul.

And Carrie, I want to start with you first because one of the central issues of Trump's campaign was his promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, make Mexico pay for it. What's been the reaction there?

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: I think like many around the world, shock is the most resounding reaction. You see that word in newspaper headlines. And when you talk to Mexicans on the street, Trump is very unpopular here. And much of his ire at his rallies and his campaign were directed to Mexico.

And there's a lot of concern over the economy, and the overnight plunge of the peso didn't delay those fears at all. It dropped nearly 10 percent. That's the biggest one-day fall in more than two decades. And that prompted Mexico's finance minister and the head of the central bank to come out early this morning and tell reporters about the strength and the fundamentals Mexico has going for it, including large dollar reserves and international lines of credit.

You know, some economists are also urging caution too. They say it will be difficult for President-elect Trump to enact some of his most drastic proposals, including the repeal of the North American Trade Agreement, which is now more than two decades old and without doing damage to both economies that trade nearly a billion and a half dollars every day.

CORNISH: But to follow that up, is there any sense of how Mexico's government could work with the Trump administration?

KAHN: President Pena Nieto this afternoon gave a short message to the nation. He said he spoke personally with President-elect Donald Trump to congratulate him and said that he hoped the two could meet during the transition period and discuss the binational relationship. He also added that it is his job to defend the rights of Mexicans living in Mexico and the United States, and he's looking forward to a prosperous and friendly relationship with the United States.

CORNISH: Now, Frank Langfitt, I want to talk to you about U.S. relations with Europe because Donald Trump has questioned U.S. support for NATO, for example, saying maybe the U.S. should only help those nations that would reimburse the country for the costs of protecting them. How is Europe reacting to Trump's election?

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Well, Audie, I think there are a couple of views here. One is there's a certain skepticism that maybe a fair bit of his talk about NATO is campaign bluster and that over time, like past U.S. presidents, he'll come around to being supportive.

But I was also talking to a security analyst today in London, and there is a bigger fear in part because obviously in Europe, they've never seen a president like this before. He has practically no background in foreign affairs, and the concern is that he won't go along with the U.S. traditionally shouldering a big chunk of the military burden in NATO.

And this could feed a perception that Washington sort of no longer cares about this strategic alliance in Europe, and the fear there would be this - would play into the hands of Vladimir Putin and Russia and that Trump might see, like, the NATO deal kind of like a real estate deal where he's willing to sort of be very transactional and perhaps even carve up the region into spheres of influence, which is kind of what Putin would like.

CORNISH: Donald Trump also supported the British exit from the European Union known as Brexit, and he's been largely anti-free trade. What could this mean for the trading relationship between, say, the U.K. and the U.S.?

LANGFITT: Well, there's a little more optimism here. You know, this is a very strong historical relationship between the two countries. And also, before the Brexit vote, Trump said he actually wanted to do a free trade agreement with the U.K., and the U.K. would, quote, "be treated fantastically."

Now, what that means - of course there were no policy details. But if that comes along, that's actually certainly a better deal than the U.K. was getting from President Obama before Brexit. Obama was very much against the U.K. leaving the EU, and he said that the U.K. would actually have to go to the back of the queue if it wanted a bilateral free trade agreement with the United States.

CORNISH: Finally, Peter Kenyon watching reaction in the Middle East from Istanbul - Donald Trump has questioned U.S. involvement in Syria. And what are leaders in the region saying today?

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Well, leaders are congratulating him, Audie, but there's a lot of questions. I mean Trump's win would seem, for instance, to be good news for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump never declared Assad must go. He says he wants to get along with Russia, Syria's most powerful ally.

Opposition rebels, though, are not rejecting Trump out of hand. Some are calling for a new U.S. leadership in Syria, a reflection of dissatisfaction with Obama's policies. Others wonder if Trump really can work with Vladimir Putin of Russia maybe on finding a way to avoid civilian bloodshed in Aleppo.

Now, of course Trump doesn't even take office till January, but you can see those watching the death toll mount and mount in Syria are just grasping at whatever they think might make a difference.

CORNISH: Another major issue - the U.S. nuclear deal signed last year with Iran. Trump had already threatened to withdraw from it should he be elected. Does this effectively kill that deal?

KENYON: Well, that's not clear yet, but certainly Iran's attention has been awoken. Many people were still dealing with the initial shock of the victory when Iran's foreign minister rushed out with a response, calling on Trump, please remain committed to the nuclear deal.

On the campaign trail, candidate Trump called it the worst deal ever negotiated, but then he also said he might not just tear it up - or you know, this is a multi-party deal. It's got the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. What he could do - opt for very tough enforcement measures which analysts say would likely cause Tehran to walk away from it.

Whatever happens to the deal inside Iran, Trump's rise is being seen as a blow to Hassan Rouhani, Iran's pragmatic president and as red meat for Iran's hard-liners. They're the ones who are already saying this is the real face of America, referring to Trump's behavior on the campaign trail. And with President Rouhani up for re-election next year, hard-liners are really looking to replace him.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Peter Kenyon in Istanbul. Thanks so much, Peter.

KENYON: You're welcome.

CORNISH: We also heard from Frank Langfitt in London. And Carrie Kahn in Mexico. Thank you both.

KAHN: You're welcome.

LANGFITT: Happy to do it, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.