If Trump returns, what will become of Europe?

If Trump returns, what will become of Europe?
If Trump returns, what will become of Europe?

Twelve small yellow stars form a circle, on a dark blue background, which turns black in the background. Isolated European stars, this is the image chosen by Foreign Policy to raise the prospect of the ostracization of the Old Continent by the United States.

The American bimonthly devotes its summer edition to the prospect of a “Post-American Europe”, while the hypothesis of a return to power of Donald Trump, who has openly questioned the commitment of the United States to defend its allies, is increasingly likely.

So, as NATO member countries meet in Washington from July 9 to 11, Foreign Policy tries to project: what kind of place would this Europe be without the American military umbrella?

“Second round”

November 2016. Europe is still reeling from the decision of British voters to leave the European Union (EU), with leaders fearing that Brexit could trigger a domino effect of other exits. The scars of the European debt crisis and bitter divisions over immigration are still fresh.

When suddenly the news breaks: Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States in 2016. Horrified, Europeans do what they had been unable to do: they unite. “Trump has brought Europeans out of their navel-gazing by reminding them of what their union is all about: democracy, multilateralism and the rules-based order,” summary Foreign Policy.

Eight years later, the result could be quite different. While Trump and his speech “America First” with anti-NATO overtones are well on their way to winning the November 2024 US presidential election, Europeans “are not ready for a second round”, warns the article.

Trump 2.0 would also enter the scene at a time when Europe is “more tense and more fractured, knowing that“More European governments agree with Trump and his denigration of the EU”.

For Hal Brands, a specialist in international affairs, without the support of Washington, “The continent may struggle to cope with the threats,” even “returning to an anarchic and illiberal past.”

A Europe charged with managing its own security affairs would be forced to “to transform into a world-class military actor”, as much to push back Russia and help Ukraine, as to “to address other threats that were previously pushed back by the United States”such as Chinese predominance. Which means that it would be “much more heavily armed than it is today,” notes the American media.

Without the United States, therefore, uncertainty about Europe’s status and security will return. “The geopolitical shock absorbers provided by American power will disappear,” which would have “global repercussions”. In other words, the day the United States moves away from the other side of the Atlantic, “they will endanger much more than the future of Europe,” concludes Foreign Policy.

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