Trump’s Travel Bran Draws Ire From Rising Powers
President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers and refugees from seven predominately Muslim countries was almost uniformly condemned across rising powers, with the exception of Russia. Many commentators expressed dismay at the discriminatory tone of the ban and the likelihood that it would increase, rather than decrease, terrorism.
The reactions to Trump’s “Muslim” ban in the Russian newspaper was a mix of defense for Trump and conspiracy.
- According to an op-ed in Sputnik, Trump’s executive orders aren’t unusual or exceptional; what is unusual is the reaction to the ban. The author claimed, “It looks strange that Barack Obama’s extensive bombing of seven Muslim-majority nations in 2016 failed to provoke similar concerns among US media pundits.” In a similar vein, Russian lawmaker Alexander Chepa “believes that there is more to the fuss over Trump’s executive order than meets the eye.”
- An RT article pointed out the “hypocrisy” of American public with regards to the American’s reaction to the ban. It continued, “You don’t have to be a Trump supporter to acknowledge that ‘Barack O’Bomber’ and his predecessors in the White House have got off very lightly.” The author believed that the reaction has been overblown “if we compare it to the non-reaction to far worse things US governments have done.”
- Another RT op-ed repeated the same message: “most of his policies are crass and unsophisticated, but they pale in comparison to the horrors previous administrations have fronted.”
- A Pravda column agrees with views expressed above: “putting President Trump’s measures into context, they neither violate the law, nor are they intended to be discriminatory, nor are they of a permanent nature.”
- An op-ed in RT suggested that Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ could be part of a strategy to begin a war with Iran rather than an attempt to control the refugee flow.
Not all the newspapers were defensive of Trump’s travel ban.
- For example, Sputnik published an op-ed titled “Why Trump’s Executive Order has Nothing to do with ‘Muslim Ban’” But another Sputnik op-ed said that the ban is “cruel and unjust exercise in collective punishment.”
While many Indian newspapers reacted to the “Muslim” ban, their focus was on the H-1B visa, which is a non-immigrant visa that allows US firms to employ skilled foreign workers, more than on the ban itself. Nevertheless, haunted by visions of rejected H-1B applications and useless green cards, Indians expressed solidarity with the American protesters.
- According to an op-ed in Hindustan Times, a pro-Congress Party newspaper, Trump’s executive order is “only the latest twist of dark threads that have long been present in America. The executive order is not unprecedented. It is evolutionary.”
- Most of the Republicans in the US Congress have taken no official position on the travel ban, and a Hindustan Times columnist said such a resounding silence is cowardice.
- An op-ed in Hindustan Times pointed out some glaring similarities between India and US’ current state of affairs. For example, India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 “openly discriminates among illegal migrants on religious grounds” and India has already completed 82% of a planned 3,326 km-long fence along the Bangladesh border, supported by all political parties, scheduled to be finished in 2019.
- An editorial in The Times of India, a center right newspaper, thinks “India must prepare for a situation where there is a clampdown on US visas for Indian businesses, professionals and passport holders.”
- Additionally, it called on the government to “take advantage of any American ban to speed up the reform process and lure American companies to ‘Make in India’.” In a similar manner an editorial in Hindustan Times argued that “the government should consider how to entice more highly-skilled Indians to give up on their American dream and return home.”
Not many Japanese newspapers published opinion pieces on Trump’s “Muslim” ban. But those that spoke about the topic expressed overwhelmingly negative views and agreed that the ban is a reminder of the Japanese-Americans who were sent to internment camps during the World War II.
- An op-ed in The Asahi Shimbun said, “Trump’s Muslim immigration ban is a throwback to racist 1942 order.”
- According to several pieces on The Asahi Shimbun, “Trump’s ban is a grave mistake that could tear the world apart,” and “Trump’s travel ban attacks pluralism, strength of U.S.” In the view of an editorial in The Mainichi, “the order looks a lot like the edict of a dictator.”
The Mainichi reported that the Japanese government has dodged criticizing Trump immigration order. Shinzo Abe reportedly said of Trump’s executive order, “It expresses the thinking of the U.S. government, so I am not in a position to comment on it.” However, refugee support groups in Japan “are taking a stand against U.S. President Donald Trump’s new refugee restrictions, and calling on the Japanese government to do the same.”
Although the Chinese newspapers reported on the ban, the editorials and op-eds are mostly concerned with the Trump administration’s Asia policy, specifically the South China Sea policy, and prospects for security and trade relations. None tackled the ban itself while a few addressed the ban and the executive orders in general. Those pieces expressed the following views:
- Global Times, a newspaper with nationalistic leanings, published an op-ed titled, “Trump’s executive orders have lasting harm.” The author did not expect the immediate effect of the ban to lower the risk of terrorist attacks, but predicts that it will actually end up widening “the gaps and creating more resentment between ‘we’ and ‘they.’”
- A professor and associate dean of Institute of International Studies at Fudan University stated, “He [Trump] has already caused much damage in his first 10 days, threatening the core checks-and-balances of US democracy.
On January 30, Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and President Trump had their first telephone conference since Trump took office. Despite the worrisome comments Trump made during the campaign trail, Trump was reported to have assured Hwang that “the US would stick with South Korea 100% at all times and that the relationship between the two countries would be better than ever.” Although prospects for the US-Korea relationship seems to be positive, Trump’s executive orders raised serious concerns in Korea.
- An editorial in Korea Joongang Daily was concerned that the Koreans living or working in the Middle East may be affected by the discriminatory U.S. policy just because it is an ally. Thus, it urged the Korean government to look out for those Koreans and also to work towards defending the rights of the 230,000 ethnic Koreans who live in the U.S. without permanent residency.
Overall, the Korean newspapers were highly critical of Trump’s “Muslim” ban.
- An editorial in Korea Joongang Daily, a conservative leaning newspaper, declared the ban is a “nonsensical immigration policy,” “defamatory,” and “stigmatizes people from a certain group of nations.”
- An editorial in the DONG-A-ILBO claimed that “Trump’s actions to close doors to foreigners, and restore black jails and torture is reminiscent of the Nazi domination in the 1930s.” Additionally, it warned of American decline saying, “The Roman empire declined as it lost generosity for colonies for the sake of Roman people.”
- An editorial in The Kyunghyang Shinmun, a liberal leaning newspaper, expressed concern that the S. did not consult Iraq or other countries prior to the order.
According to The Korea Herald, “Isolationism and unilateralism, which run under the ban, will hurt relations between the US and its allies” and “risks spurring anti-American sentiment and giving a pretext for retaliatory terrorist attacks.”
Although President Trump’s travel ban did not include the South American countries, repercussions have hit visa applications across the country. Correio Braziliense offered insight on a few changes that have been instituted throughout U.S consulates, including mandatory interviews for “anyone who has had their American visa expire for over a year.” Now, only children under the age of fourteen and senior citizens over the age of 79 can waive the interview.
Zero Hora reported that several tourist visa seekers in Porto Alegre had their visas rejected because interviews can only be conducted in consulates and the U.S only offers four consulate locations in Brazil. The news outlet also reported that there was “no official alert issued regarding the matter”, and that travelers were only notified of this new policy “when arriving at the center”.