Europeans would do well to remember that the Trump Presidency represents an opportunity rather than threat given President Obama’s disinterest in Europe during the past eight years.
Under Obama’s presidency the world has become significantly more dangerous. The decision not to enforce the “red lines” set by Obama himself revealed a weakness which has since been repeatedly exploited. The unwillingness to commit Western air power in Syria early has allowed Russia to take up that space and engage in repeated deliberate bombing of civilians. Similar unwillingness to show resolve elsewhere has encouraged Putin to carve up parts of Eastern Europe, a process which may yet continue. We must hope that Obama’s farewell tour of Europe will mark the end of these serious deteriorations in our security situation.
Trump’s demands that America’s NATO allies pay their share of the defence burden represent nothing new. Though Trump has been more aggressive, all US Presidents have argued that Europe should allocate reasonable funds for its own defence. It’s too early to tell the new direction of US foreign policy on Europe and Russia. More will be revealed by the new President’s cabinet nominations. At present Europe should attempt to build a relationship with the incoming administration which will serve all parties’ safety.
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, said: “After 8 years of the Obama Presidency, the start of which saw such high hopes in Europe, it is only the fear of the unknown that keeps him within Europe’s affections.
“President Obama has neglected Europe throughout his term of office and made it clear that he felt the USA’s old allies were not of interest. Transatlantic relations have been allowed to wither in the wake of Obama’s failure to meet challenges in Russia and Syria, while European concerns over the Iran nuclear deal were pushed to one side.
“Europe would do well to remember that President-Elect Trump’s views on foreign policy are still being formed. Future relations with him can therefore offer a more promising future than the past under this failed foreign policy President.”