Reclaiming European Sovereignty

As if there was any remaining doubt, the past few weeks have shown that US President Donald Trump is fully committed to demolishing the American-led post-war order and free-trade system. Europeans no longer have any time to waste: The EU must assert itself as a unitary, self-sufficient global power before it is too late.

BERLIN – After US President Donald Trump’s recent European tour – which culminated in his infamous press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin – there can no longer be any doubt that he and his supporters want to destroy the American-led international order and global trade system.

To be sure, Trump is not synonymous with the United States. He triumphed in the 2016 election despite winning three million fewer votes than his opponent, and his public approval rating has never surpassed 50%. Still, he is the US president, and that makes him the most powerful man in the world. His actions, though often absurd and contradictory, have serious real-world consequences, particularly for America’s closest partners. During his recent stop in the United Kingdom, Trump went so far as to describe the European Union as a “foe.”

By seeking to disrupt virtually all that has defined the West since the end of World War II, Trump has brought the world to a historical turning point. At stake is not the US-EU relationship, which remains strong, but rather the West’s dominant position on the world stage. Trump is accelerating a shift in the global balance of power that will leave both America and Europe weaker in relative terms. As income and wealth shift from the West to the East, China will increasingly be able to challenge the US as the world’s leading geopolitical, economic, and technological power.

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