US election: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump compared to world leaders

Clinton and Trump and world leaders

The electoral fight between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has captured international attention, as the two candidates offer sharply different visions of the US and its place in the world.

On a host of issues - economics, immigration, national security and social concerns - the two party nominees are sometimes wedded to party orthodoxy and at other times carve out new positions. In Mr Trump's case, he's occasionally done both (hence the double Trump heads on some of these charts).

Here's a look at how the two candidates stack up with each other - and where their views fit in with other world leaders.


Hillary Clinton is largely in the mainstream of the Democratic Party on environmental issues. She says climate change is a threat to American security, supports stringent regulation of the energy industry, and opposes expanded drilling in Alaska and the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada. She's rankled some environmentalists, however, by refusing to back a moratorium on the extraction of oil from shale deposits through a process called "fracking". Since she secured the Democratic nomination, Mrs Clinton has moved environmental issues to the back burner. As the Guardian recently noted, she mentions climate change only about half as often in her speeches as she did during her primary fight against Bernie Sanders.

Donald Trump has issued no position statements on environmental issues on his website. In speeches and debates, however, he has said he opposes what he views as economically damaging environmental regulations backed by "political activists with extreme agendas". He says he supports clean water and air, but wants to slash funding to the Environmental Protection Agency. He has also called manmade climate change "a hoax" and said he would "cancel" the Paris Agreement and other international efforts to address the issue.

Like Mr Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has prioritised economic development over environmental protection. His administration has loosened regulations, allowing businesses to conduct their own environmental impact studies and pollution control monitoring, instead of relying on local governments.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has overseen her nation's transition away from an economy reliant on fossil fuels. In 2015 roughly a third of Germany's electricity came from renewables. She has also been a global leader on efforts to address climate change, pushing for more stringent temperature reduction marks and emission caps.


Hillary Clinton has enjoyed solid support from the black community, which has insulated her from the kind of criminal justice reform protests that have bedevilled other candidates. She's spoken out against "mass incarceration" and mandatory minimum sentences and said that there is still racial bias in police departments that must be addressed. She supports laws prohibiting racial profiling and wants to emphasise rehabilitiation over long prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

Violence and lawlessness is out of control in the US, according to Donald Trump. He says law enforcement agencies are unable to fight crime because of runaway "political correctness" and says they should be allowed to get tough on offenders. He says police profiling is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks on US soil and supports their ability to "stop and frisk" those they suspect of illegal activity. He has said convicts are often treated too well by the US criminal justice system and complained that the suspect in the New York bombings was receiving government-sponsored medical care and legal aid.

The Scandinavian nations, including Erna Solberg's Norway, have criminal justice systems that tilt heavily towards rehabilitation and away from punitive measures. Its incarceration rate is 70 per 100,000 people, compared to the 2014 US rate of 693/100,000. The nation also has a maximum sentence of only 21 years - in all but a few extreme cases.

On the other end of the political spectrum from Norway is Rodrigo Duterte's Philippines. The newly elected president has been accused of ordering extra-judicial killings in order to control the nation's drug crime. He campaigned on a platform of getting tough on crime - promising to kill "100,000 criminals" - and has said that he doesn't care about human rights.


Donald Trump has been warning that the US policy of admitting refugees from certain regions - the Mid-east or, more generally, Muslim nations - presents a serious threat to US national security. He's attempted to bolster his case by citing often debunked internet rumours, such as that Syrian refugees are largely young, single men. He's called for the US to suspend resettling refugees until "extreme vetting" procedures can be implemented, including ideological tests to screen out extremists. He asserts that nations in the Middle East - which already have received millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees - must do more to create safe zones for those fleeing the violence.

Hillary Clinton has called for an increase in the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the US from the current 10,000 annual mark to 65,000 - which, Mr Trump likes to point out, is a 550% increase. She cautions that the refugees should be "carefully vetted", but notes that current procedures already involve a multi-year application process and refugees don't know in which nation they will be settled. She says the US has a history of welcoming those fleeing oppression and violence, which she wants to continue.

The Syrian refugee crisis was at its peak when Justin Trudeau campaigned in the Canadian general election last October. A photo of drowned three-year-old Alan Kurdi - who had family living in Canada - made the front page of world newspapers. Mr Trudeau pledged that his nation would do more to help and, since then, Canada has accepted more than 30,000 Syrian refugees and is processing around 15,000 more.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel became the face of the European Union efforts to resettle Midle East refugees - and has paid a political price for it. Ms Merkel implemented an "open door" policy toward refugees from war-torn nations that led to more than a million immigrants over the past 18 months. After her party suffered sweeping defeats in recent elections, she apologised for her policies, saying that the German government did not exercise sufficient control.


Ever since he descended his golden escalator to launch his unconventional campaign last June, Donald Trump has made immigration his signature issue. Despite critics who call it unaffordable and unrealistic, the Republican has stood by his call to build an impenetrable wall along the 2,000-plus-mile US-Mexico border. He's also called for reductions in legal immigration, ending President Barack Obama's executive actions deferring deportation proceedings for undocumented migrants and more stringent efforts to reduce the number of these migrants living in the US. The candidate has backed away from earlier calls for the forced deportation of the more than 11 million undocumented migrants living on US soil and temporarily closing the US border to all Muslims - but those positions are still front and centre on his campaign website.

Hillary Clinton has said she wants to continue and expand upon President Barack Obama's unilateral executive actions normalising the immigration status of long-time undocumented residents of the US and their families (some of which have been suspended by US courts). She has called for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a means for undocumented immigrants to obtain permanent legal residency and, eventually, US citizenship. She opposes privately run detention facilities and has said a wall is a "dumb way" to ensure border security.

Upon her elevation to prime minister following the UK's Brexit vote, Theresa May said that EU withdrawal negotiations will focus on establishing controls on the number of immigrants who can enter the nation. As a full member of the EU, the UK allowed unlimited entry for all EU citizens. Ms May has pledged that that system will end with the UK's withdrawal. She has stood by a Conservative Party pledge to reduce net migration into the UK to 100,000 annually, from its 2015 high of 336,000.

Japan has long had one of the world's more restrictive immigration policies, and the government of Shinzo Abe shows little sign of changing course. Non-Japanese make up 1.4% of the nation's workforce, compared to 16.7% in the US. The nation faces a shrinking, aging population, which has prompted some government officials to call for relaxed immigration standards. At this point, however, proposed remedies are limited to expanding the nation's guest-worker programmes.


During her tenure as a US senator and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton earned a reputation as a foreign policy hawk. She supported the US war in Iraq - a position which she says she now regrets - and was one of the leading Obama administration advocates for the US air campaign in Libya. She has called on the US to take on an expanded role in fighting the so-called Islamic State in Syria, including the imposition of a no-fly zone and arming Syrian rebels, although she says she opposes the commitment of ground troops (this blanket statement does not seem to include special forces, however). She also supports a continued US military presence in Afghanistan.

For the most part, Donald Trump has made a sharp break with the traditional foreign policy voices within the Republican Party. He has criticised the US War in Iraq (although his claims that he opposed it from the start are unfounded) and other US military action in the Middle East. He has called for closer relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia and says the US must make allies in Europe and Asia shoulder a greater share of the expense for their national defence and emphasises that US foreign policy must always prioritise American interests. On the other hand, Mr Trump has also taken a hard-line stance toward combating IS, asserting that Obama administration policy has been too restrained in dealing with "radical Islamic terrorism". He has even at times asserted that the US should commit tens of thousands of ground troops to the fight.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn stands firmly to the left of Hillary Clinton and is slightly more dovish than Mr Trump at his most isolationist. He opposes a nuclear-armed UK and has, in the past, criticised the nation's membership in Nato. He is firmly against "military interventions", including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and any UK involvement in Syrian air strikes.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has taken a somewhat measured approach to foreign policy. On issues of territorial sovereignty, the nation has veered toward sabre-rattling, including occupying and developing contested islands in the South China Sea. Elsewhere, his nation has pursued multilateral solutions, including support for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and a robust programme of foreign aid, particularly in South America and Africa.


Hillary Clinton takes the standard Democratic Party line on abortion. She is against efforts to ban the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. She opposes state legislation that increases regulation of abortion providers and is in favour allowing the federal government to provide funding for non-profit organisations that provide abortion services for rape victims in war zones. She has criticised conservative efforts to cut off government funding for Planned Parenthood's women's health efforts because they also provide abortion services.

Donald Trump briefly took an extremely aggressive anti-abortion position when he said during a town hall forum in March that abortions should be illegal and he supported "some form of punishment" for women who had them. His campaign quickly backed down from that statement, however, and asserted that the candidate believed the legality of the procedure should be left up to individual states, with any criminal penalties being reserved for abortion providers. He has said he supports an abortion ban exception for "rape, incest and the life of the mother". He has called for defunding Planned Parenthood. As recently as 2000, Mr Trump supported abortion rights but has said that, like Ronald Reagan, he changed his views on the matter.

Abortion is banned by Ireland's constitution, but the nation and its prime minister, Enda Kenny, have been under increasing pressure to modify the blanket prohibition that only allows the procedure if there is "real and substantial risk to the life of the mother". In July the nation's legislature voted down a bill that would have allowed the procedure in cases where the foetus had fatal birth defects. Mr Kenny opposed the bill, but several of his deputies broke ranks and supported it.

Abortion is currently only legal in Poland in cases of rape, incest, serious birth defect or threat to the mother's life. Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, however, is supporting legislation that would impose a blanket ban on the procedure in all instances and a three-year prison term for anyone having abortion. The measure, which is backed by the nation's Catholic Church, is set to be debated by the Polish parliament in the autumn.


After facing a stiff primary challenge from Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton adopted a more aggressive programme to address income inequality through increased taxes on the wealthy. She has called for a 4% surtax on incomes over $5m, a boost in the capital gains tax, treating "carried interest" income earned by hedge fund managers as income and not capital gains, the closing of "tax loopholes" for the wealthy and an increase in the estate tax. She has also called for higher tax breaks for healthcare and education spending for middle-class families. According to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, the top 1% would pay for roughly three-quarters of Mrs Clinton's tax increases.

Like many Donald Trump positions, the Republican nominee's tax plan has undergone some - ahem - revisions over the course of his candidacy. According to an analysis from the conservative Tax Foundation, Mr Trump's latest plan would cost the US government about $5.9 trillion in revenue over 10 years, about half as much as the proposal he set out last September. Mr Trump's current plan includes reducing the number of tax brackets from seven to three, cutting corporate taxes, eliminating the estate tax and increasing the standard deduction for individual filers. According to the Tax Foundation analysis, the top 1% of earners would see their income increase by double-digits, while the bottom quarter gets a boost of up to 1.9%.

If Bernie Sanders had won the presidency, his government fiscal policies may have ended up looking a lot like those implemented by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. In 2014 she spearheaded implementation of a tax reform programme that raised tax revenue by $8.2bn through an increase in the corporate tax rate and the closing of some tax loopholes. She used the revenue to guarantee free education for all Chilean students.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called cracking down on tax avoidance a key part of her economic reform package - including holding tax consultants responsible for the tax they help others illegally avoid. She has said she is against any tax increases before 2020, and her government has suggested cutting business taxes in order to spur the nation's economy.


Once upon a time, Republicans were the party of unfettered free trade. Donald Trump has changed all that. While he says he is not opposed to trade in principle, any trade deals have to protect US industry. He is firmly against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and has said that he will re-open negotiations on already signed pacts, such as the North America Free Trade Agreement, and withdraw if US demands are not met. He has accused US trading partners like Mexico and China of unfair trade practices, currency manipulation and intellectual property theft, threatening to unilaterally impose tariffs and other punitive measures if they do not implement reforms.

Hillary Clinton once called the Trans-Pacific Partnership the "gold standard" for international trade agreements. Her husband, Bill Clinton, oversaw the passage of Nafta during his first term in the White House. With public sentiment turning against free trade deals, however, Mrs Clinton has backed away from her earlier support. She has said she now opposes TPP and the Central American Free Trade Agreement as they are currently formulated. "We have to trade with the rest of the world," she said during a primary debate in February. "But we have failed to provide the basic safety net support that American workers need in order to be able to compete and win in the global economy."

Australia's newly elected Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull continues to be a free trade advocate, but he is facing growing political headwinds in his country. He is a firm supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and advocated on its behalf during visit to New York City for UN General Assembly meetings in September. He called the TPP "a statement of American's commitment to the rules-based order which has underpinned the prosperity of billions of people and lifted billions out of poverty".

In August French President Francois Hollande called off trade talks with the Obama administration - perhaps a reflection of the changing mood toward such agreements both in the US and France. He criticised negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - which began in 2013 - as "too imbalanced". French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said the negotiations are "dead", adding that "there is no political support in France for these negotiations".