2021 A Global Mirror

A Global Mirror

Cynthia Cherrey
By Cynthia Cherrey, President & CEO, International Leadership Association


The tragic event of 6 January 2021 that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol reverberated around the world. As a global association focused on the study, teaching, and practice of leadership throughout the world, it is important for us to read and hear what leaders everywhere are thinking and saying about it. Below is a snapshot of what political leaders around the globe are writing and the corresponding links to their respective statements.

Be sure to also read the two blogs written by leadership guru Keith Grint and democracy expert Matt Qvortrup, ILA members in the U.K., who are also featured in this Interface newsletter. More to come, but a start as we try to make meaning out of bad actors — leaders and followers — on the dark side of leadership and followership.

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

“Democracy - the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.” (Twitter - @JacindaArdern)

“Like so many others, I’ve been watching what’s happening in the United States. I share the sentiment of friends in the US - what is happening is wrong.” (Twitter - @JacindaArdern)  More from her statement.

Zuzana Čaputová, President of the Slovak Republic

“The scenes from the US Capitol show how dangerous the rhetoric of hatred is. Contempt for democratic institutions erodes citizens’ rights and can undermine political order. I trust the democratic and peaceful process will be restored soon.” (Twitter - @ZuzanaCaputova)

Sher Bahadur Deuba, Former Prime Minister of Nepal

“I am shocked by the outrageous scenes at US Congress! The people have spoken – the transition to the next government must be peaceful! We wish the all US citizens peaceful days ahead!” (Twitter - @DeubaSherbdr)

Tsai Ing-wen, President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

“In difficult times like these, it’s more important than ever to come together as one. We stand resolutely with all our partners seeking to form a more perfect union. #BetterTogether.” (Twitter - @iingwen)

“We believe that the strength and resilience of America's democracy will continue to be a beacon of hope around the world. #Better Together” (Twitter - @iingwen)

Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister

“I unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol. And all I can say is I’m very pleased that the president-elect has now been duly confirmed in office and that democracy has prevailed.” (Twitter - @BorisJohnson)

Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden

“Deeply worrying developments in Washington, D.C. This is an assault on democracy. President Trump and several members of Congress bear substantial responsibility for developments. The democratic election process must be respected.” (Twitter - @SwedishPM)

“Democracy in the USA has proven its strength, as Congress has now fulfilled its constitutional role and confirmed the presidential election results. Looking forward to working with President-elect Biden.” .” (Twitter - @SwedishPM)

Micheál Martin, Prime Minister of Ireland

“The Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations. I know that many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay.” (Twitter - @MichealMartinTD)

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

“A fundamental rule of democracy is that, after elections, there are winners and losers. Both have to play their role with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains the winner....President Trump regrettably has not conceded his defeat since November, and didn’t yesterday either, and of course that has prepared the atmosphere in which such events, such violent events, are possible.” (Statement)

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

“The US Congress is a temple of democracy. To witness tonight’s scenes in #WashingtonDC is a shock. We trust the US to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to @JoeBiden” (Twitter - @eucopresident)

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

“Distressed to see news about rioting and violence in Washington DC. Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests.” (Twitter - @narendramodi)

Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

“Last year, President Trump extended painful economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe, citing concerns about Zimbabwe’s democracy. Yesterday’s events showed that the U.S. has no moral right to punish another nation under the guise of upholding democracy. These sanctions must end.” (Twitter - @edmnangagwa)

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia

“Very distressing scenes at the US Congress. We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition.” (Twitter - @ScottMorrisonMP)

Barack Obama, former President of the USA

“Right now, Republic leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy. They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America.” (Twitter - @BarackObama) Complete Statement

Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the USA

“Like all of you, I watched as a gang - organized, violent, and mad they'd lost an election- laid siege to the United States Capitol. They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the center of American government.” (Twitter - @MichelleObama) Complete Statement

Mark Rutte, Prime Minster of the Netherlands

“Horrible images from Washington D.C. Dear @realDonaldTrump, recognise @JoeBiden as the next president today.” (Twitter -@MinPres)

Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain

“I am following with concern the news that are coming from Capitol Hill in Washington. I trust in the strength of America's democracy.’ (Twitter - @sanchezcastejon)

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

“The scenes from the Capitol are utterly horrifying. Solidarity with those in Flag of United States on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.” (Twitter - @NicolaSturgeon)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld - and it will be.” (Twitter - @JustinTrudeau) More from his statement.

A Wikipedia page has also been set up referencing reactions from world leaders. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_reactions_to_the_2021_storming_of_the_United_States_Capitol