Neighbors, friends and recently alienated allies of the United States reacted with barely concealed relief to Joe Biden’s presidential win, hope for cooperation on climate change and pandemic recovery, plus shout-outs to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Donald Trump went without mention, even by such Trump allies as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Britain’s PM Boris Johnson.
“Welcome back America!,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan became a hawk on border closing after witnessing the Trump Administration’s initial fumbling of COVID-19 response.
“The United States is a close friend and partner of British Columbia and we have taken important steps together with our neighbor to fight climate change, grow the innovation economy and build a more sustainable future,” said Horgan.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initially tried to flatter Trump, only to set off the Trump ego with barely critical remarks at a press conference following a trade summit in Canada. The incumbent fired off insults from Air Force One.
Hence, on Saturday, Trudeau was congratulating Biden and Harris and effusing over “shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections and strong economic ties.”
The relief could be sensed in a Trudeau tweet: “Our two countries are close friends, partners and allies. We share a relationship that’s unique on the world stage. I’m really looking forward to working together to building on that with you.”
Modi staged a rally for Trump when No. 45 visited India, and traveled to Texas for an event designed to boost Trump’s appeal to Indian Americans.
That was then. On Saturday, Modi showed a picture of himself with Biden and congratulated the President-elect on “your spectacular victory.”
He had praise for Kamala Harris, the first woman Veep, and first Vice President with South Asian ancestry. “Heartiest congratulations Kamala Harris,” tweeted Modi. “Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian Americans. I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership.”
The UK’s Boris Johnson, allied with Trump on Brexit, tweeted: “Congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States and to Kamala Harris on her historic achievement. The United States is our most important ally and I look forward to working loosely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.”
President Emmanuel Macron of France tried to get on with Trump, inviting the 45th President to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris and witness the Republic’s annual military parade. Trump returned home and wanted to stage his own grand parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.
“The Americans have chosen their President,” Macron said Saturday. “Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together.”
You can sense his relief.
“I warmly welcome the election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States,” the Alliance’s chieftain said in a statement. “I know Mr. Biden as a strong supporter of NATO and the transatlantic relationship.”
“A strong NATO is good for North America and good for Europe,” the Secretary-General observed. “Together, NATO Allies represent almost one billion people, half of the world’s economic might and half of the world’s military might.”
“We need this collective strength to deal with the many challenges we face, including a more assertive Russia, international terrorism, cyber and missile threats, and a shift in the global balance of power with the rise of China. We can only be secure and successful if we face these challenges together.”
The government of Germany, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, is perhaps the most eager of all of America’s allies to mend broken fences.
“I sincerely wish him the best of luck and every success and I would also like to congratulate Kamala Harris, the first female vice president-elect in the history of your country,” Merkel said in a statement. “I look forward to working with President Biden. Our trans-Atlantic friendship is indispensable if we are to deal with the major challenges of our time.”
Germany’s Foreign Minister announced that Merkel’s government will offer “concrete proposals” to Biden’s team for addressing China’s behavior, the climate crisis, and the novel coronavirus pandemic through a transatlantic partnership.
The new foreign minister of New Zealand, Nanaia Mahuta, first Maori to hold the post, prefaced her official statement with a smiley face.
She noted a 2016 Biden visit to New Zealand, and then celebrated Kamala Harris, saying the Veep-elect will bring “some very unique attributes to their leadership” as the first woman of color in the job.
Leaving unsaid the uncooperative attitude of Trump as leaders’ meetings, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern added: “There are many challenges in front of the international community right now, the message of unity from Joe Biden positions us well to take these challenges together.”
The message from across the Tasman Sea was the same.
“Australia wishes you every success in office,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Biden and Harris. “The Australia-United States Alliance is deep and enduring, and built on shared values. I look forward to working with you closely as we face the world’s many challenges together.”
The feeling is that with lifting of the Trump burden, the world can cooperate to face other burdens. Can leaders make up for time lost?