Allies no more: Trump escalates threats against Europe
10 July 2018
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump will arrive in Brussels to attend a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) amid the greatest crisis in US-European relations since the Second World War.
“For the first time,” wrote the Financial Times, “the arrival of a US president on European shores is anticipated with trepidation and even fear.”
After the Trump administration launched a global trade war by levying tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports last month, and then exploded the G7 summit just ten days later by refusing to sign its communiqué, the European powers are worried that Trump might also blow up the NATO summit. US officials have anonymously told the press that Trump could do anything at the event, from announcing a withdrawal of US troops from Germany to threatening to exit the alliance itself.
All international relations, including those between the United States and its closest allies, have been thrown into disarray by Trump’s transactional “America first” approach to trade, geopolitics and diplomacy. As German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas recently put it, the “old pillars of reliability are crumbling.”
It is dawning upon European leaders that Trump is not some fluke or traffic accident on the scene of global relations. His brand of politics—of extreme nationalism based on unadorned self-interest—represents a new world order embraced not only by the United States, but the European powers themselves.
In his demand that the EU countries contribute more to NATO’s rearmament, Trump expresses the predatory drive of US capitalism to extract concessions from the whole world, “allies” and enemies alike. Rearmament on this scale cannot be carried out without…