Alwaght – Trump’s anti-EU attacks make media headlines every now and then, making many analysts suggest that the American president is targeting the very existence of the 28-nation bloc.
The Washington Post has recently revealed that during the French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to Washington, the US President Donald Trump suggested that Macron pull Paris out of the European Union in return for a bilateral trade pact.
Washington Post said the US president asked Macron: “Why don’t you leave the European Union?” In return, Trump suggested the US could offer France a substantial bilateral trade deal.
The issues have raised questions about the US administration’s approach to the Union. Does Trump seek to confront the EU? Or is the White House seeking to mess up with the relations between the two sides of the Atlantic?
Trump’s negative approach to the EU appears to have mounted recently, a supposition given more validity by his EU withdrawal suggestion to the French leader. Such remarks are apparently aimed at EU undermining or even its collapse. No comments from the White House have denied the news, meaning that Trump is going behind the lines of traditional diplomatic compliments and is brazenly seeking to see it dismantled.
Trump, a vigorous EU critic
Although the Trump’s offer to Macron is recently given media publicity, his misanthrope towards the EU is never new. When Trump assumed the power at the White House, one of his initial calls with the foreign diplomats was with Nigel Farage, the EU Parliament member and leader of Britain’s UK Independent Part, who is known as Brexit architect. Trump told Farage he supported his and other nationalist European politicians’ agenda, who favored the exit from the EU.
The Sky News network reported that during the French election, Trump administration established close contacts with the Eurosceptic president of National Rally of France Marin Le Pon, who was also a candidate competing against Macron. Talking to a French magazine, she reportedly said that if she was an American, should voted for Trump. Trump’s strict rightism, which opts for strong national sovereignty in the face of international rules, control of the borders, and blocking entry of the refugees, cause him to oppose a united and integrated EU, a unifying organization based on regional convergence, blurring the national border lines, and cutting the national governments’ law-making powers.
Divisions deepen as trade war looms
In addition to the political issues, now trade disputes caused by Trump’s tariffs against EU and others are widening the gap between EU and the US. The White House accuses Germany of manipulating the Euro rates to restrict the American exports to the EU, the same accusation made against China by Trump. The two sides’ commercial fight reached a peak when Trump announced tariffs on the European imports, a move prompted retaliatory measures by the Europeans. Brussels has recently imposed levies reaching 50 percent on the American goods in response to similar Washington actions.
US stabs NATO in the heart
The EU has very well understood Trump’s anti-EU disposition. When John Bolton was picked as Trump administration’s national security advisor in March, Euronews channel reported that Trump sent a strong message to Europe by choosing Bolton and stabbed North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the heart.
Bolton is a harsh detractor of the NATO, so far several times asking for its current structure to be remodeled, the same demand made by Trump frequently, especially when he was campaigning for the presidential race. Trump bemoaned “unfair” share paying system of the Western organization, saying the US contributed to the budget more than any other member and that others needed to pay more. The Europeans in response considered forming their own army, an idea raised in the 1950s and also 1990s but failed to materialize. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany backed a Macron’s European Defense Force initiative. If realized, the force will very much put Europe’s security and defense policies in an independent path from the US.
Washington eyes EU breakup
Some analysts, meanwhile, argue that Trump’s anti-EU sentiments stem from an ideological mindset of his administration which leans to pick a fight against the international organizations and treaties. They present as an example his dumping the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Another example is his pullout from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade bloc bringing under a trade umbrella the US, Canada, and Mexico. He also blasted and cut the budget of the UN for a set of steps, including resolutions passed against the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. All these cases picture Trump White House’s treaty and organization-skeptic nature, something naturalizing negative view of the European bloc.
But a fine line can be drawn here. The EU is not an international organization, rather it is a political unit. So, Trump is developing an antipathy to a political unit, not an international organization. Under this view, Trump should desire an undermined bloc lacking the ability to rival Washington. But his desire goes beyond that. He seeks to dismantle the EU. His proposal to the president of France, a founding member of the bloc, and his backing to the Eurosceptic agenda of some European parties plainly exhibit his will to take the Union apart.
Trump may have understood the fact that the world is moving away from a US-led unipolar system to a multipolar one. Such an unfavorable-to-Washington future provokes the American president into struggling to thwart other actors’ rise and role-playing on the global stage. Rows with EU, China, and Russia obviously stand proof to this struggle, though a success of Team Trump’s agenda is not guaranteed due to pressures mounting on Washington from the international players. The certain point is that the US eventually have to bow to a multi-player international structure.