Is Europe Turning Its Back on Trump’s America?
The historical alliance between the United States and Western Europe has resulted in an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic, but U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy is causing a rift. Tensions at the recent Munich Security Conference highlighted the fragile stage of the trans-Atlantic alliance. The relationship is in dire need of some TLC – tender, love and care – as further alienation could see the largest realignment in the global order since the end of World War II.
In just a little more than two years, Trump has “torn at the roots and hacked at the branches of Western solidarity that his predecessors painstakingly cultivated over seven decades,” Stewart Patrick, director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote last year. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has called out America’s European allies for taking advantage of Washington’s generosity and suggested that U.S. support is conditional.
“If they fulfill their obligation to us, the answer is yes,” Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016 when asked if he would provide military aid to the Baltic countries – all of which are NATO members – in case Russia would attack. The president has also time and time again used his official Twitter account to take shots at European leaders, businesses and policy decisions.
Last year, Trump referred to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy as “insane” and threatened German car manufacturers with punitive import tariffs of up to 20 percent. Berlin responded to these types of attacks through diplomacy, but that changed when Merkel stepped up to the podium at last week’s security conference. The German chancellor used the stage to voice her displeasure with U.S. foreign policy.
The Washington Post reported that Merkel unleashed a “stinging, point-by-point takedown of the administration’s tendency to treat its allies as adversaries.” She also bemoaned that the U.S.-led global order “has collapsed into many tiny parts.”
Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told the Post that the Trump administration fails to understand that international relations are about more than how much a country pays. “It’s about a relationship, trust, how you communicate, shared values,” he said.
The European Parliament stated in a September 2018 report: “The US has historically been the EU’s closest ally, with common interests and values as well as a shared view of the world guiding bilateral relations and joint actions. Yet, following the election of President Donald Trump, divergences in several areas have led to doubts about the durability of transatlantic relations.”
The report pointed to the Iran nuclear deal – from which the U.S. withdrew – trade and burden-sharing within NATO as areas of tension. The Trump administration’s America First approach to foreign policy has created opportunities for other countries, primarily Russia and China, to increase their sphere of influence around the world. Washington’s continued disengagement on the foreign policy front could see nations shift allegiances permanently.
“Not since 1930 has the global trading order been more threatened. No one is coming to the rescue,” Jeremy Adelman, a history professor at Princeton University, wrote in 2016. “The long cycle of integration and relative tolerance forged by U.S. leadership since World War II is now headed in reverse.”
In The News
WASHINGTON — While much has been studied about President Biden’s first 100 days in office, most of that analysis has focused on how the administration’s actions impact American citizens or relationships with the world’s other great powers, but many wonder about how early actions will affect... Read More
An official from the International Monetary Fund argued this week that the Middle East and Central Asia regions should shift towards a new and inclusive economic model as they emerge from the pandemic, echoing IMF claims that this is the time for a world economic shift. ... Read More
WASHINGTON — Following its recent withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom published an Integrated Review setting out a vision for a renewed role in the world. This comprehensive document also underlines that the U.K. and the U.S. take a different approach to global development... Read More
In the middle of her first day as the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, deep into meetings about inclusivity and diversity in the agency and the rise in coronavirus cases in India, Samantha Power noticed a paper towel slipped under her office door.... Read More
NEW DELHI — President Joe Biden vowed to help Prime Minister Narendra Modi secure medical resources to help India combat the rampant spread of COVID-19 during a diplomatic call on Monday, affirming the United States’ support for its ally after a delay in response drew national... Read More
At a virtual summit on climate change attended by 40 world leaders on Thursday, President Joseph Biden announced that the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by half over the next decade. Biden’s plan promises to lower greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels by... Read More