Does Trump leave Europe to fend for itself?
The first press conference of the president-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, which took place after the elections, has become the number one topic of the outgoing week. Harsh rhetorics with journalists, many questions left without answers (primarily on the economic policy), as well as the traditional theme of the relations with Russia - perhaps, were the main issues in Trump’s statement, which are discussed the most actively by the European media.
Trump’s press conference has also become the source for the policy experts in Europe, puzzled over the foreign policy that will be pursued by the new American leader, and, in particular, what place will be given to Old Europe. It is significant that during the press conference, Trump did not mention Old Europe, and this has strengthened the European concerns about the priorities of the new administration of the White House.
An expert of the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP), Daniela Schwarzer believes, that Donald Trump by ignoring the European topics during his press conference, indicates that his priority will be the domestic policy. ‘’His interests are in America. The economic growth should be increased and employment should be improved there. The foreign policy, ultimately, is only a function of his eternal mantra about how to ‘make America great again’. Europe is neither a big problem, nor a solution of the problems, which he wants to overcome. And that is why it is not important for him,’’ Schwarzer said in an interview to Deutsche Welle.
According to the analyst of DGAP, the EU should tune in to the period of the presidency of the United States, during which Europe itself will have to send a strong impetus for the creation of a positive agenda. And this should be done with a strong position that involves, first of all, a clear definition of its own interests. ‘The danger for Europe, of course, is a scenario, in which Donald Trump, united with the other international players, will create the facts that infringe upon the interests of Europe. In particular, this is about the US relationship with Russia and, to a certain extent, with Israel. The question is how Europe with its more moderate approaches to the international conflicts and individual actors will be able to carry out its policy towards the US and beyond.’’ Daniela Schwarzer believes that the new American president sees Europe as a weak partner with a missing leader.
A professor Thomas Yeager, the head of the department of international relations at the University of Cologne, in turn, wrote in his column in Focus Online: ‘’Trump spoke clearly and strongly on one issue: he wants to improve the relations with Russia. Other foreign policy statements still remain vague, or the president-elect contradicted himself.’’ According to the politician, at the moment there is a following picture: "Trump’s Administration in its Russian policy is guided by the Chinese policy The deeper is the US conflict with China, the more openly the White House will seek closer relations with Russia.’’
At the same time, Thomas Yeager recalled that the economic interests of the US are initial for Donald Trump, and the policy towards Russia will be also measured by its possible contribution to the economic success of Trump. The remaining interest will be subject to this factor. ‘’I do not remember any of Trump’s speeches, when he mentions both Russia and the human rights,’’ the professor of the University of Cologne said. According to him, Trump's position on Russia not only enhances the sense of threat in the NATO countries, but also calls into question the entire regulatory framework of the Russian politics of the alliance. ‘’The only these dynamics of the new US government can alarm greatly the entire Western alliance. Are Europeans ready for this? No!’’ Thomas Yeager concludes.