Trump with flag Ralph Freso/Stringer

Protecting Europe in the Age of Trump

Donald Trump's presidency will lead to an epic geopolitical shift: For the first time since 1941, Europe cannot rely on the US defense umbrella. Now that the EU is on its own, it must quickly build its own European Defense Community and develop an independent security strategy.

BRUSSELS – Just like the polls prior to the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, the polls in the run-up to the United States’ presidential election were wrong. And just like Brexit, the unthinkable has happened: Donald Trump is now President-elect of the US, signaling the triumph of nativism over internationalism. In the contest between open and closed societies, the latter are clearly winning, and liberal democracy is quickly becoming a resistance movement.

With Trump in the White House, the US will become obsessed with itself. It is safe to say that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the European Union is now a nonstarter. But a Trump presidency will adversely affect Europe in more ways than that. The EU’s territorial integrity itself is now at stake.

Trump has made it abundantly clear that his foreign-policy priorities do not include European security. He doesn’t recognize NATO’s strategic necessity, and he has shown an interest in transatlantic relations only when he has alluded to unpaid bills. A Trump presidency will lead to an epic geopolitical shift: for the first time since 1941, Europe cannot rely on the US defense umbrella; it now stands alone.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.


Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.;

Handpicked to read next

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.