Will Trump Unite Europe?
Beyond his bizarre, intemperate tweeting, the challenge that US President Donald Trump poses for Europe is real, but not always easily defined. The current American administration has made cooperation within Europe more important than ever, but whether Europeans can overcome their worst instincts remains to be seen.
PARIS – Beyond his bizarre, intemperate tweeting, the challenge that US President Donald Trump poses for Europe is real, but not always easily defined. There are differences between what Trump says, what his administration does, and what Congress makes him do. In fact, just last week, Trump was given no choice but to sign a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia that he had stridently opposed.
Moreover, the European Union’s capacity for collective action varies from issue to issue. Europe can come together on soft-power issues such as trade and climate; but its security and defense is largely dependent on the Franco-German relationship, which has never been more important than it is today.
Trump launched an offensive against multilateral trade as soon as he took office. He abandoned the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and withdrew the United States from negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the EU, which would have created a vast North Atlantic common market. This has put the EU on guard, because it is more dependent than the US on trade, and especially on the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body, which the Trump administration may try to bypass.