The presidency Donald trump is a serious test for Europe, for the transatlantic relationship and for the world as a whole. Indeed, trump’s slogan “America first” is, in many ways policy, the opposite of internationalist American foreign policy of the last eight decades.
First, look at trump’s statement that he trusts the same German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Does this mean that the United States will pursue a policy of equidistant relations with the EU and with the Kremlin?
This is not an idle question. Trump clearly showed that the existing business partnerships, alliances, rules, and protocols matter to him very little. In their accounts in social networks, he bursts into tirades against media outlets, attacks on independent judges, accuses specific people and companies, and also diminish the role of international organizations.
But even if the United States at the trump and are unattractive ally for Europe, the rejection of the United States as a partner — that some people in Europe would like to do as soon as possible — would be a mistake.
On the one hand, Europe must not ignore the majority opinion of Americans who did not vote for the election trump. The commitment of civil society in America and the reaction of the US judicial system has demonstrated to the Europeans that those of US who they know and appreciate, not easily influenced and are not henpecked husbands. Instead of turning away from US, we must cooperate with the Americans, who remain dedicated to the preservation of the values of the transatlantic community. Among these people include members of the new US administration, who expressed their unequivocal support for the transatlantic partnership and continuous business relations, not to mention the opponents trump in Congress ‑ both the Democrats and the Republicans.
In addition, approving the severance of relations people believe that throughout the world there are drawn in a single column partners, ready to defend the liberal world order together with Europe. The EU could agree with China that a new era of protectionism will be dangerous. But in addition to this issue, they have very few points of contact. In the long run a liberal world order can withstand the test of time only if it is supported by the two pillars of the transatlantic partnership.
And, finally, calls for Europe to become a strategic counterweight to the US are purely ambitious idea; in fact, no such choice exists. In the short and medium term, the Europeans can’t do without security guarantees from the United States. As a result, we must work to persuade the new US administration of the importance of the existence of a United and peaceful Europe.
However, a simple assumption on the separation of European security from the United States gives cause for uncertainty, which is reflected in the emerging debate on a European or even German atomic bomb. This is a bogus debate, because it is assumed to pose the question: is it really in the interest of the Europeans in advance to break the current bunch, connecting us with the United States, before we were offered any specific American decisions that directly affect us?
The only correct policy choice is to Europe as closely as possible to cooperate with the U.S. government, which means no need to downplay a very alarming statement made by trump. When Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of defense James Mattis, and many U.S. senators and members of the house of representatives will arrive at the Munich security conference this weekend, European politicians must clearly state their expectations for the work with the U.S. government. Networking and influencing — that’s the real policy, which is necessary today, even if many Europeans may not like this idea.
This means the communication with a clear understanding that breach of a vital European interests would have caused serious transatlantic crisis. The worst scenario for Europe — policies of the U.S. government for the active support of right-wing populists in the EU that aimed at the disintegration of the EU. It is also important to ensure that any agreement between Russia and the United States should not be at the expense of Europe. As for the nuclear agreement with Iran, the administration trump must be informed that Europe will not agree to any new sanctions, if the U.S. withdraws from the agreement unilaterally.
Europe can and should also defend their economic interests. If trump really wants to impose a kind of tax based on the country of origin of goods for the purpose of promoting products made in the USA, the EU could threaten to do the same. Discussed the problem of import taxes or future Western sanctions against Russia, it is always useful to remember the obvious fact that Europe remains the most important market of America. The turnover of America with the EU is about 37 times more than Russia, with huge mutual FDI of the transatlantic partners.
Even if trump rejects these considerations, it needs to think carefully about how far he wants to push Europe. At some point antithrombosis movement in Europe can be very successful; therefore, it is unlikely he will be able to achieve their plans without a strong and close partners in Europe — and especially in that case, if he will act against the interests of Europe.
It is clear that Europe now needs to focus on their interests. We really need to do much more to strengthen their own security. Although many significant changes have taken place today, including improving the integration of the armed forces of the countries of Europe, the road to a well-functioning European Union to protect its security is quite long. And in light of the dangerous global situation in Germany, in particular, should strengthen its work in matters of foreign and security policy and aid to developing countries.
The cohesion of the EU and its internal and external security cannot be achieved without additional costs. Preventing budget deficits, as it seeks to make Germany today, will not give any benefits to future generations, if this price will lead to erosion of the Foundation of our prosperity, a peaceful and prosperous Europe.
Instead of with fear to wait for the next trump statements in social networks, the Europeans should lay the Foundation for a Europe that will give her the opportunity to be strong, able to carry out the necessary action and to be devoted to Western values. Occupying this position, we will be able to confidently defend its core interests in relations with the United States. This is the best answer that can give Europe.