If Europe is serious about challenging Trump, it should actually challenge him

The tweets. Oh, the tweets! The heads of some of the most powerful countries on Earth are pissed at each other. And they are so angry they’re tweeting about it.

Well, they’re not really pissed at each other, it’s more like they’re collectively pissed off at President Trump. And yes, really, who can blame them?

“The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,” France’s Emmanuel Macron huffily tweeted in French (and then in English for good measure), as the G7 opened in Canada. Later he tweeted a picture of himself with other European heads of state, captioned “Opening the #G7Charlevoix with my European friends.” Get it? His European friends. Not you, Donald! Emmanuel Macron is too proud to be friends with a spray-tanned demagogue like Donald Trump (except when he hopes he can swindle him out of some trade concessions). As you may have heard, the rest of the summit did not go much better for Western alliances.

Now, these guys really make it easy to mock the Bravo-ization of international relations. But there’s a serious point in all this.

Some of the people who were most shocked by Trump’s election reside in European capitals. And they have been processing it through a comical version of the stages of grief: denial, bargaining, and so forth. We’re pretty clearly in the anger stage right now.

Except that this anger is not cashing out in any concrete action.

This is all the more regrettable given that Trump’s attitude toward Europe is awfully realistic.

The institutions linking together Europe and the United States were critical during the Cold War, at a time when Europe was a much larger share of the global economy, and when it was crucial for America to keep Europe on (relatively) good terms to halt the spread of communism. So the U.S. extended friendly trade terms and the nuclear and military umbrella of NATO. But these conditions no longer obtain.

I was recently invited to one of those semi-secret high-level summits where politicians and high-level technocrats talk about the state of the world and big ideas. The European senior-level people were united in being appalled by Trump, but also in the belief that Trump’s anti-Europe posture was only a much more brash, flashy version of what the United States would be doing anyway. More than a few opined that, in a way, Europe was lucky to have the Trump wake-up call, because even a future administration, Democratic or establishment Republican, would be likely to go in the same direction.

You’ll recall, after all, that the big theme of Obama’s foreign policy was the pivot to Asia. More than a few grumbling Eurocrats pointed out that if you look at a map, you’ll see that America pivoting to Asia means America pivoting away from Europe. Obama officials reassured their European counterparts that what was meant was pivoting away from ill-considered Middle East adventures, which was certainly part of it …read more

Source:: The Week – World


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