U.S. Allies, Enemies Celebrate Donald Trump's Departure

American allies and enemies are welcoming President-Elect Joe Biden's inauguration and bidding farewell to President Donald Trump, who on Wednesday will head to Florida and refuse to attend his successor's swearing-in ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Adversaries and partners alike expect Biden to be more predictable than his predecessor, easier to work with and easier to read. Biden has promised to revive multilateralism and repair the damage done by Trump to traditional American alliances; welcome news in Canada and Europe who faced withering criticism from the outgoing administration.

Germany was a favored Trump target, the president dismissing Europe's most powerful nation as "delinquent" on military spending, self-serving on trade, and his frosty relationship with Chancellor Angela Merkel is well documented.

After his election, Merkel spoke to Biden and "expressed the wish for close and trusting future cooperation."

On Wednesday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was a "good day for democracy." The position is largely ceremonial in Germany's federal parliamentary republic, but Steinmeier nonetheless said he is "greatly relieved that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president today and move into the White House."

He added: "I know this feeling is shared by many people in Germany," and said the U.S. system had endured "great tests" and "hostility" during four years of Trump. Biden's inauguration, he said, brings "the hope that the international community can work together more closely and better in future to solve the great problems of our time."

Steinmeier said his nation is looking forward to "knowing we again have the U.S. at our side as an indispensable partner" on issues including "the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, security issues, arms control and disarmament, and many urgent conflicts around the world."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson—criticized at home for cozying up to the Trump administration in hope of a post-Brexit trade deal—said Wednesday: "I warmly congratulate Joe Biden on his historic inauguration as 46th president of the United States and look forward to working closely with his new administration as we defeat Covid and build back better from the pandemic."

Johnson said his government would work "hand in hand" with the incoming administration to address a range of issues.

French President Emmanuel Macron had several clashes with Trump during his time in office, despite an early warmth between the pair. A liberal globalist, Macron had little time for Trump's nationalist populism. On Tuesday, Macron said he hoped the Biden administration would retain the foreign military deployments that Trump so often railed against.

"I am certain that in the coming weeks, the new administration will need to make key decisions that will mark a greater commitment and awareness in the fight against terrorism," he said, particularly the ongoing violence in Syria and Iraq.

NATO was another Trump target, with the president repeatedly—and incorrectly—claiming the U.S. was being "ripped off" by its allies in shouldering the majority of the alliance's military commitments.

He was more justified in his complaints that most members have not yet met the 2 percent of GDP spending target for military spending—though they have until 2024 to do so—and reportedly considered withdrawing the U.S. from the pact several times.

NATO officials and member nations largely resorted to placating Trump on these matters, though Macron was forthright in dismissing Trump's claim of credit for rising military spending with the alliance. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg repeatedly praised Trump for his commitment to NATO and his pressure on other countries to meet their military commitments.

On Tuesday, Stoltenberg tweeted saying he was having dinner with European Council President Charles Michel and European Union foreign chief Josep Borrell. "We look forward to working with President-elect @JoeBiden to further strengthen ties between the #UnitedStates & #Europe, as we face global challenges none of us can tackle alone," Stoltenberg wrote.

EU leaders will be pleased to see the back of Trump, who said the bloc was "like China, only smaller" in one of his many tirades against European trade practices.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told European politicians Wednesday: "This new dawn in America is the moment we've been awaiting for so long," describing Biden's inauguration as "resounding proof that, once again after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House."

"The United States are back, and Europe stands ready to reconnect with an old and trusted partner to breathe new life into our cherished alliance," she added.

Michel said transatlantic ties have "greatly suffered in the last four years," adding: "In these years, the world has grown more complex, less stable and less predictable."

Michel said the differences between the U.S. and EU "will not magically disappear," and warned: "America seems to have changed, and how it's perceived in Europe and the rest of the world has also changed."

America's enemies too celebrated the final day of Trump's presidency. In Iran—where the regime has survived ever tougher sanctions, assassinations, sabotage and diplomatic isolation—President Hassan Rouhani branded Trump a "tyrant" and celebrated the "end of the political life of this man."

In China, state media focused on the rifts Trump exposed in American democracy. Global Times editor Hu Xijin hit back at recent American criticisms of Beijing's human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. "Your democracy at home is in desperate need of reinforcements," Hu wrote.

China Daily wrote: "No matter how historians finally judge his presidency, the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday will have a place in US history simply for what it marks an end to.

"The administration's pursuit of its power dreams to make America great again has proved to be nothing but a disastrous ego trip," the newspaper added.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson said the Kremlin was making no special preparations for the new administration. "Nothing will change for Russia," Dmitry Peskov said. "Russia will go on living the way it has lived for many hundreds of years, seeking good relations with the United States."

Peskov added: "If there is corresponding reciprocal political will depend on Mr. Biden and his team."

Donald Trump departs the White House
Outgoing President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2021. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty