Trump with flag Ralph Freso/Stringer

Het veiligstellen van Europa in het tijdperk van Trump

BRUSSEL – Net zoals de opiniepeilingen voorafgaand aan het Brexit-referendum in Groot-Brittannië zaten de peilingen in de aanloop naar de presidentsverkiezingen van vorige week in de Verenigde Staten er flink naast. En net zoals in het geval van de Brexit is het ondenkbare gebeurd: Donald Trump is nu verkozen als de nieuwe Amerikaanse president, wat duidt op een overwinning van het bekrompen nationalisme op het internationalisme. In de strijd tussen open en gesloten samenlevingen zijn laatstgenoemde duidelijk aan de winnende hand, en de liberale democratie is in rap tempo een verzetsbeweging geworden.

Met Trump in het Witte Huis zullen de Verenigde Staten geobsedeerd raken met zichzelf. We kunnen gerust stellen dat het Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP-verdrag) tussen de Verenigde Staten en de Europese Unie nu de prullenbak in kan. Maar het presidentschap van Trump zal Europa op meer manieren raken. De integriteit van de EU zelf staat nu op het spel.

Trump heeft het overduidelijk gemaakt dat de Europese veiligheid niet tot zijn prioriteiten op buitenlands politiek terrein behoort. Hij ziet de strategische noodzaak van de NAVO niet in, en heeft louter belangstelling getoond voor de transatlantische verhoudingen wanneer hij zinspeelde op onbetaalde rekeningen. Het presidentschap van Trump zal tot een epische geopolitieke verschuiving leiden: voor het eerst sinds 1941 zal Europa niet meer onder de defensieparaplu van de VS kunnen schuilen, maar er alleen voor staan.

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