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TIME Correspondents: How the World Sees America

From Shanghai, London, Istanbul, Berlin and Cape Town

Beijing
Donald Trump bashes China. So why does the Global Times, a Communist party-linked Chinese daily, contend that many Chinese prefer Trump? “Just like some American voters, the Chinese public likes the idea of a new face in politics who is not a traditional politician,” says Wang Yiwei, a professor of international politics at Renmin University. Besides, Hillary Clinton has long stood up to the Chinese government. “She is always criticizing China,” says Wang, “for human rights or something else.” —Hannah Beech

London
There is Trumpism in Britain: T-shirts bearing his face and “Make Britain Great Again” baseball caps were worn openly at September’s conference of the right-wing U.K. Independence Party. But while most Britons are repelled by Trump, Clinton’s candidacy seems less than historic to a nation already on its second female Prime Minister. The overwhelming feeling in Britain is amusement at how its U.S. cousin’s political system has come so spectacularly unglued. —Dan Stewart

Istanbul
People across the Middle East are perplexed, fearful and repulsed by Trump, who has at times called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. But what also stings is Trump’s praise for Middle Eastern dictators: he lauded Saddam Hussein and called Egypt’s autocratic President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi “a fantastic guy.” Clinton has her own fraught history with the region, including her vote for the Iraq War. But Trump’s apparent hostility to Arabs and Muslims has led many to regard Clinton as a lesser evil. —Jared Malsin

Berlin
The U.S. elections would be over if Germans had a vote. One survey found that 90% of them support Clinton while only 3% back Trump. But there is worry that Germany itself could be ripe for disruption from a Trumpian populist. Referring to this threat as a rising “behemoth of nationalism,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had this advice for his countrymen: “This firebomb can, indeed it must, be snuffed out in the voting booth.” But Germans won’t get to vote. —Simon Shuster

Cape Town
South Africa has a recent history of outlandish characters seeking political office, so for South Africans the outright insanity of the U.S. election has come as something of a relief. “For us the U.S. elections are awesome,” says radio DJ and social commentator Darren Simpson. “Sitting here in South Africa, you think things are a complete mess. But now we realize that things are a mess in most parts of the world, and now in the most powerful country of the world, things are an even bigger mess.” —Aryn Baker

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.

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