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3/1/17

USA: Donald Trump and the end of American exceptionalism? - by Nick Bryant

When a German Chancellor feels the need to explain the refugee convention to an American president, the speaker of British House of Commons says the leader of its closest ally is not welcome to address parliament, China positions itself as the grown-up in the room by chiding him for his blunt Twitter diplomacy and the botched travel ban is denounced not just by US adversaries, such as Iran, but allies, such as France and Canada, is it not time to sound the death-knell of American exceptionalism?

That is, the credo pushed by successive presidents that the United States is a beacon of democracy, an exemplar of human rights, an indispensable country imbued with special values and beliefs that grants it the moral authority and national self-belief to influence and admonish other countries, friend and foe alike.

 Donald Trump, rather than being heralded as the leader of free world, has been pilloried. By protesters who took to the streets - and snow - from Australia to Antarctica as part of more than 600 protests worldwide on the first weekend of his presidency.

By satirists who came up with the "Netherlands Second" viral video - and all its other cheeky iterations - in response to Trump's "America First" doctrine.

When Jimmy Kimmel joked during his Oscars opening monologue that Donald Trump had made 225 countries hate America, he was exaggerating. As with all well-aimed satire, however, it contained more than a kernel of truth.

It is a measure of Trump's unpopularity that George W Bush, the last US president to attract such international ire, is being rehabilitated in the global mind as a cool-headed statesman and staunch defender of American press freedom.

Last year, at the height of the presidential campaign, a Pew Research Center poll suggested that 85% of Europeans have "no confidence" in Donald Trump to do the right thing as president.

A poll conducted by Gallup International Association suggested that, were the US election to be held in 45 foreign countries, Hillary Clinton would have won a landslide victory in every single one, with the sole exception of Russia. The French President Francois Hollande even said the brash billionaire made people "want to retch".

Read more: Donald Trump and the end of American exceptionalism? - BBC News

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