MUNICH – Donald Trump’s presidency poses a stress test for Europe, for transatlantic relations, and for the world as a whole. Indeed, in many ways, Trump’s “America first” policy is defined by its opposition to the internationalist US foreign policy of the past eight decades.
For starters, Trump says that he trusts German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin equally. Does that imply that the United States will pursue a policy of equidistance between the EU and the Kremlin?
It is not an idle question. Trump has made it obvious that established partnerships, alliances, rules, and protocols mean little to him. In his tweets, he rants about the media, attacks independent judges, targets individuals and companies, and belittles international organizations.
But even if the US under Trump is an unattractive ally for Europe, writing off the US as a European partner – which some in Europe would like to do sooner rather than later – would be a mistake.