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Indispensable relationship

It takes a strong and united Europe to correct the flaws of Trump

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Indispensable relationship

Of all flaws that American president Donald Trump has caused in his year and a half in power, one of most serious and lasting can be his attempt to liquidate alliance between US and Europe.

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Helsinki Summit (18/07/2018)

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The alliance was for decades a necessary condition for prosperity and stability on both sides of Atlantic. It served interests of Washington and global order that after Second World War consolidated United States as first economic power. And it guaranteed its unequalled military influence, which had on westernmost peninsula of Eurasia its strongest basis. The alliance served with similar efficacy to Western European interests: American umbrella acted as an insurance that contributed to post-war economic miracles and integration process. All of this is at risk since arrival at White House of a president who calls his European partners "enemies", who threatens to dynamite NATO and insinuates a pincer with Vladimir Putin's Russia that would have his first victim in EU.

Trump's meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker provides an example of destabilizing effects of President of United States. In this case, in trade policy, example of Trump method manual. The method combines courtship of its electoral clientele in states hit by deindustrialization, negotiating tactics of harassment and demolition, and gross manipulation with victimist accusation — directed in particular to Germany, export power — of a Non-existent plunder. The same scheme is reproduced in its dealings with EU as a political partner and NATO as a military partner.

The tensions come from afar and Trump is not only one responsible. He is not first president to demand greater military spending from Europeans, nor first to open trade disputes. A dreamlike and divided Europe, in which Trump's emulate win positions, is also not in a position to exert its full weight to save alliance. Trumpism also advances, as he pointed out a few days ago, without mentioning it, former president Barack Obama in South Africa.

The US is more than Trump, though Trump may not be short-sighted, because it reflects a profound change in America, just as rise of populism and nationalism in large European countries expresses a tectonic shift in EU. Trumpism has come to stay. And yet, before transatlantic relationship is liquidated, it would be appropriate to assess costs of its non-existence and consider what would occupy vacuum.

One solution may be to reform, to preserve m, common institutions such as NATO or WTO and to keep open channels — diplomats, military, business, regional and municipal government levels, civil society — that, beyond Presidents, constitute basis of confluence of values and interests.

None of that will be enough if Europeans do not fix ir inner courtyard before. Because only a strong and united Europe, able to protect its citizens, can talk about you to Trump and exercise its weight to save transatlantic alliance. Only n will it be prepared for, if one day United States is definitively unaware of European friend, to fend for itself in a Hobbesian world of competing powers.

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