Trump Drives European Allies into Arms of China and Russia

British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27
British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

European allies warned Donald Trump he could drive them into the arms of China and Russia if he decertified the Iran nuclear deal — and that is exactly what’s happening.

In a rare joint statement, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom reiterate their commitment to the 2015 agreement:

The nuclear deal was the culmination of thirteen years of diplomacy and was a major step toward ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is not diverted for military purposes.

European foreign-policy coordinator Federica Mogherini is even more adamant:

The deal has prevented, continues to prevent and will continue to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Trump nevertheless refuses to confirm Iran’s compliance and has threatened to withdraw from the agreement altogether unless it is somehow improved.

China and Russia, the other two signatories, have made common cause with the Europeans, virtually isolating the United States. Only Israel and the Arab Gulf states support Trump. Read more

Transatlantic Challenges Ahead

German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, March 17
German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, March 17 (Bundesregierung)

Carnegie Europe’s Erik Brattberg sees challenges ahead for the transatlantic relationship:

  • Afghanistan: Donald Trump’s administration is preparing for a troop surge in the country (despite the president’s own doubts). European support is lukewarm at best. Germany, where the pacifist Green party is probably going to be part of the next coalition government, could prove especially problematic.
  • Iran: Trump is determined to blow up the 2015 nuclear deal. Europe — together with China and Russia — wants to keep it in place.
  • North Korea: Europe plays little role in this crisis, but public opinion blames Trump for escalating it. Leaders will be hard-pressed to back him up, even if North Korea is in the wrong. Read more

Allies Hope for the Best from Trump, Must Plan for the Worst

Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Donald Trump of the United States listen to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO making a speech in Brussels, May 25
Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Donald Trump of the United States listen to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO making a speech in Brussels, May 25 (NATO)

American allies are coping with Donald Trump’s disruptive presidency in similar ways, a collection of essays in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine reveals:

  • All feel they need to step up and defend the liberal world order as Trump is determined to put “America first”.
  • They worry that a new era of American isolationism could make the world poorer and less safe.
  • Leaders are doing their best to rein in Trump’s worst impulses and most of their voters understand the need for pragmatism, although they have little faith in this president. Read more

Europe Rises to the Challenge Posed by Trump

Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29
Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29 (La Moncloa)

I argued here last month that Donald Trump was inadvertently breathing new life into the EU — whose demise he has publicly wished for — by driving France and Germany closer together.

Now Politico reports that Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have agreed to:

  • Jointly develop a new generation of fighter jets;
  • Push ahead, together with Italy and Spain, to procure a European alternative to American drones (a “Eurodrone”);
  • Cooperate on military space surveillance; and
  • Beam data to the EU’s European External Action Service for use in missions around the world.

At a joint news conference, Merkel also left the door open to creating a eurozone finance minister and harmonizing French and German tax rates.

“It’s complicated, but it could boost the internal market,” she said. Read more

Little Wonder the World Doesn’t Trust Trump

Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Donald Trump of the United States listen to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO making a speech in Brussels, May 25
Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Donald Trump of the United States listen to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO making a speech in Brussels, May 25 (NATO)

Donald Trump promised to make America great again, but that’s not what it looks like to the rest of the world.

The Pew Research Center found that only 22 percent of people around the world trust the American president.

The figures are worse in Western Europe, traditionally home to America’s closest allies. Fewer than one in five Europeans have confidence in American leadership anymore.

This matters. A lack of faith in Trump could have costly ramifications for the United States in economic and national-security terms. Read more

In Era of Trump, Europeans Become Free Traders

French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15
French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15 (Bundesregierung)

European leaders are preparing for a showdown on trade when they meet Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg next month.

“Whoever believes that the world’s problems can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is mistaken,” Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, told her parliament on Thursday.

French president Emmanuel Macron chimed in: “If free trade is questioned by a member state then we need to address this.” Read more

World Doesn’t Trust Trump: Allies Lose Faith in American Leadership

American president Donald Trump gives a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24
American president Donald Trump gives a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24 (Michael Vadon)

Since Donald Trump’s election, the world’s confidence in American leadership has plummeted from 64 to 22 percent, the Pew Research Center has found.

The decline has been sharpest in America’s closest allies. Less than one in five Europeans trust the United States anymore. Only 22 percent of Canadians do. In Australia and Japan, the numbers are 29 and 24 percent, respectively. Read more