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Can America Be Trusted Again?

After the initial euphoria of Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election, Europeans have since watched American politics descend into anti-democratic violence. A recent survey suggests that it might be a long time before their confidence in the transatlantic relationship can be restored.

STOCKHOLM – A sigh of relief swept across Europe when it became clear that Joe Biden would replace Donald Trump in the White House. New leadership in the United States would mean that after four years of disruption to the transatlantic relationship, an era of constructive cooperation on bilateral and global issues was at hand.

But in recent weeks, that previous sense of relief has given way to nervousness as the US political scene has plumbed new depths of dysfunction. America’s democratic institutions have withstood assaults unlike anything seen since the Civil War. The ransacking of the US Capitol on January 6 – broadcast live to a stunned world – will not soon be forgotten.

The hatred and disdain for democracy exhibited by the insurrectionists will not disappear with Trump’s departure. Millions of Trump supporters around the country will maintain the false belief that the election was stolen. Trump has left American society deeply wounded, and Europe with an abiding sense of nervousness and concern for its longtime ally’s future.