IN a recent Los Angeles Times piece, James Kirchick, author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age,” among other works, wrote:
“Since the end of World War II, the transatlantic relationship has been the bedrock of American foreign policy. Presidents of both parties, from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, all supported a politically and economically integrated Europe bound to the United States by shared democratic values, robust trade and a military alliance—NATO—rooted in the principle of collective security. It is no exaggeration to say that the postwar effort to build a liberal democratic Europe has been America’s most successful foreign policy achievement, helping to ensure peace and prosperity on a continent once racked by total war, genocide and economic privation.
“That consistent, bipartisan commitment to a ‘Europe whole, free and at peace’ is at stake now that Donald Trump is President of the United States. Like no American leader before him, Trump has questioned the very foundations of transatlanticism, openly rooting for the dissolution of the European Union and repeatedly denigrating NATO as ‘obsolete.’ Trump’s ascension to leadership of the free world could not have come at a worse time. With Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, massive migratory waves from the Middle East and North Africa, stubbornly low economic growth, rising Islamic terrorism, political disintegration in the form of Brexit and the rise of nationalist movements across the continent, Europe is facing a series of challenges that collectively pose its greatest crisis since the Cold War. By providing succor to anti-EU populists and forging a new diplomatic entente with Russia, Trump may aggravate these tensions, destabilizing Europe from within and without.”
Now, that he is US President, however, Mr. Trump is sure to be less indifferent to Europe than Trump the Candidate.
Still, he may continue being opposed to European integration as he expressly said he was months before January 20 (when he assumed his White House post).
James Kirchick also said: “Trump’s opposition to European integration breaks with more than seven decades of US foreign policy tradition.” And Kirchick wrote also, “In a recent joint interview with the Sunday Times and Germany’s Bild, Trump disparaged the EU, saying, ‘I don’t really care whether it’s separate or together, to me it doesn’t matter.’ Echoing claims one normally hears from Mediterranean socialists, Trump said the multinational body is ‘basically a vehicle for Germany,’ when in reality it restrains German power. Whereas the outgoing US ambassador to the EU warns that 2017 may be ‘the year in which the EU is going to fall apart,’ Trump’s likely replacement looks upon the prospect with glee. ‘I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union,’ Ted Malloch told the BBC. ‘So maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming’.”
We in The Times don’t share Mr. Trump’s campaign-period statements about Europe.
But we do have one hope—that his campaign-period insouciance to Europe will be matched by his warmth, attentiveness and zeal for us in Southeast Asia.