Donald Trump is building a populist global club

With Israel, Italy and others in his corner, the US President is no longer as isolated as he once was.

One under-appreciated thing about Mr Donald Trump is that he knows how to help a friend. Rarely in the annals of modern democracy has a US president done so much to assist a foreign leader to be re-elected. It is even harder to find an instance where it has made the difference between defeat and victory.

Mr Benjamin Netanyahu almost certainly owes his re-election to Mr Trump. Just 24 hours before Israelis went to the polls on Tuesday, Mr Trump declared Iran's Revolutionary Guards to be a terrorist organisation. In the previous weeks, he recognised Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights and defied convention not to meddle in elections by sending his secretary of state on a supportive trip to Israel ahead of the polls. That is on top of Mr Trump's shift last year of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'Donald Trump is building a populist global club'. Print Edition | Subscribe