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Trump Changes the Logic of His Policy Towards Its European Allies


After the election of the US 45th president, the relations between the US and its European allies are not that smooth. The expectations of the European allies were great from the first foreign trip of the US current president, during which he participated at the NATO summit in Brussels and G7 summit. As it was noted in various European analytical articles, it was expected that the US president would use these opportunities to reaffirm the US support to its European allies. To what extent were the expectations of the European allies met and what conclusions can we draw about the future relations between the US and its European allies?

NATO Summit

It was expected that during the NATO summit in Brussels, the US president would express his clear stance on the alliance and like the US previous presidents would express his commitment to the Article 5 of NATO, according to which an attack against a NATO member state is considered an attack against other member states. However, during his speech at the NATO summit, Trump emphasized the need of NATO members to fulfill their financial obligations, underlining the fact that 23 of 28 NATO members do not pay their financial obligations to the alliance. Trump also noted that during the recent 8 years, the USA has spent more on defense than all other NATO states taken together. What refers to the Article 5, although in his speech Trump referred to it, noting that it was first used after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the US, Trump refrained from directly confirming the Article 5 of NATO. To compare we can state that the US former president Barack Obama during his first NATO summit clearly underlined: "The NATO was founded on the basis of a simple but solemn commitment: an attack on one is an attack on all.” (Strasbourg, France, 2009)

G7 Summit

During G7 summit the main problematic issue discussed between the USA and its European allies was the disagreement on Paris climate agreement. After the summit German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that the negotiations on climate were not "satisfactory," while the US president Donald Trump on his Twitter page noted that he would make a decision on the Paris agreement next week.

Already on June 1, the White House issued a statement, where the US president declared that the US withdrew from the Paris agreement. Still he noted that they would start negotiations on returning to the same or to a new agreement with the conditions that would be "just for the United States, American companies, employees, people and tax payers." In his speech Trump explained their decision in a detailed way in terms of numbers. He particularly noted that the limitations defined in the agreement will cost the US 2.7 lost jobs by 2025.

To compare we should note that such a policy of the current US president drastically differs from the policy employed by Barack Obama, who considered the international agreement on climate "tribute to American leadership".

Commenting on such a change in the US policy on the issue, we should note that in this case also Trump put the interest of his country on the first place in contrast to the common interest on the climate and the leadership role of the US on the issue.

In this context we should also refer to the last formal note by the US administration to review its participation in the UN Human Rights Council. On June 6, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, explaining the US such a stance, spoke about the negative stance of the Council against Israel. To note, since Trump’s election, he and his administration has posited against the UN and not once. In one of his Twitter posts, Trump called the UN "a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time." Trump suggested to cut the US financial contribution by nearly a half (to note, the annual contribution of the US to the UN is 10 billion dollar, which is 22 percent of the UN budget).

Thus commenting on Trump’s policy towards his European partners, we should note, that there is a clear change in it. If the previous US administration considers it its mission to protect and patronize his European counterparts gratuitously, the current US administration wanted to give up the US such a role, instead demanding from its European allies to have their own contribution in different issues. This is a change, which will be hard for the European allies to accept and which will be a point of disagreement between them for a long time. 

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