LONDON – Alone again. Since World War II’s end, Europe has looked at the world through a transatlantic lens. There have been ups and downs in the alliance with the United States, but it was a family relationship built on a sense that we would be there for each other in a crisis and that we are fundamentally like-minded.
Donald Trump’s election as US president threatens to bring this to an end – at least for now. He believes more in walls and oceans than solidarity with allies, and has made it clear that he will put America not just first, but second and third as well. “We will no longer surrender this country, or its people,” he declared in his one major foreign-policy speech, “to the false song of globalism.”
Europeans will not only have to get used to Trump; they will have to look at the world through different eyes. There are four reasons to expect that Trump’s America will be the single biggest source of global disorder.
First, American guarantees are no longer reliable. Trump has questioned whether he would defend Eastern European NATO members if they do not do more to defend themselves. He has said that Saudi Arabia should pay for American security. He has encouraged Japan and South Korea to obtain nuclear weapons. In Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, Trump has made it clear that America will no longer play the role of policeman; instead, it will be a private security company open for hire.