Mark MacKinnon reports on the ramifications for other major nations of a Donald Trump presidency.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Social studies, current events

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What is the significance of the initial reactions of some world leaders to Mr. Trump’s election?

New Terminology:

New world order, axis, populist, consternation, pax Americana, authoritarian

Materials Needed:

  • Globe article, the Internet (as needed)
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

NOTE: It is now apparent that many students are keen to discuss the US election and the merits of Mr. Trump, which is creating some difficult moments for all concerned. This lesson is an attempt to shift the focus from Mr. Trump’s personality and character issues to the global ramifications of stated policies on international relations.

Most of the world was shocked to learn that Donald Trump had won the election to become the next president of the United States. The reactions of major world leaders present a picture of a world now uncertain about what Mr. Trump’s leadership will bring. Students can benefit from examining some key article excerpts about foreign leaders’ responses to his election.

Students will work in groups to respond to questions about excerpts from Mark MacKinnon’s article. They may need to use the Internet to flesh out their answers.

Begin with a short discussion to ensure students are aware of the recent election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

Organize your class into groups and provide each with a copy of this worksheet, as well as with a copy of the MacKinnon article.


Start by reading the article aloud in your group. Next, work as a group to answer the questions or to complete the tasks under each excerpt from the article (in parentheses). Use the Internet as needed to find some of the answers. Be prepared to present your answers orally when you are finished.

(Americans didn’t just choose a divisive new president-elect on Tuesday, they voted out the old world order.)

  • In general terms, what is meant by “old world order,” or “new world order”?

(Mr. Trump won with a campaign during which he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader… The Interfax news service reported that Russia’s parliament burst into applause at the news of Mr. Trump’s win… Mr. Putin said in televised remarks…that he was hopeful the two countries could resolve the “burning issues that are currently on the international agenda.”)

  • Why might these statements raise some concern among western nations?
  • What controversial claims were made about Russia’s possible involvement in the American election itself?
  • What might be the “burning issues” Mr. Putin refers to?
  • What has Mr. Trump said about these issues that could have pleased Mr. Putin?

(Others happy to see the axis tilt were populist and far-right figures across Europe, a continent still reeling from the shock of Britain’s June vote to leave the European Union.)

  • What is typically meant by the terms “populist” and “far-right.”
  • Who are two of these types of leaders mentioned in the article?
  • Do you think this means that Mr. Trump would be considered “far-right”?

(Nigel Farage, a politician who played a leading role in the U.K.’s Brexit referendum, was similarly jubilant. “I hand over the mantle to [Mr. Trump]!,” he posted on his Twitter account. He said Mr. Trump’s victory was an even bigger “political revolution” than Brexit.)

  • What was Brexit and why might Mr. Trump’s victory be bigger?What do you think that means?
  • What mantle does Mr. Farage refer to, do you think?

(“Germany and America are bound by their values: democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position,” Ms. Merkel said. “On the basis of these values I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close co-operation.”)

  • Who is Ms. Merkel?
  • What do you think she meant by this quote? Do you think she meant that Mr. Trump represents the values she listed or was she saying that unless he does stand for those values, she will not be cooperating closely with him?


  • Which western political leaders seem to think that Mr. Trump’s election increases their own chances of election or re-election?
  • What was the reaction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the outcome?
  • What was the reaction of Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch to Mr. Trump’s election?
  • Do any of these responses concern you in any way? Explain.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Students present and discuss their work in a general session.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students can explain why some people might say Mr. Trump’s election has created a new world order.

Confirming Activity:

  • Students report on Mr. Trump’s presidency as it proceeds, to see if predictions of changes to the world order are in fact playing out.