Donald Trump’s new presidency may be the final push for Europe to really stand on its own two feet. This is what lawyer and American expert Kenneth Manusama says in BNR’s De Strateeg. “If Trump pulls out of the NATO agreement, I hope it will encourage NATO allies to act more unitedly on defense and foreign policy.
A new Trump presidency could further unite Europe
In the short term, such a scenario would be disastrous, says Paul van Hooft, strategic analyst at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies. But in the long run, this could be the shock Europe needs. “In the US we see a generation of politicians and policymakers who are very much stuck in the Cold War model. On the other side of the coin, we see this in the Netherlands and in Europe as well: many Western Europeans think America is not the America it was then.
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According to van Hooft, a generational change is also necessary in Europe. ‘Here too we want such a shock; I feel that people of a certain age have a very different picture of America’s role in the world. If Europe leaves the game played by the US, Russia, China and perhaps Iran, it will surely become stronger, Manusama thinks. Then it should realize that it belongs to itself and should not become a plaything of other countries.
Desired security capability
According to Manusama, compliance with the NATO treaty is about more than just putting extra money in a pot. What is most essential is that you as a country contribute enough to the coalition so that you have enough budget to meet the desired defense capability and be able to make an effective contribution if needed. ‘For the last 75 years we have depended on the American’s huge defense budget. I think we had more of a valued society with the Americans.
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That community of values is what NATO was originally based on. But in the meantime, those common values are increasingly difficult to find, Manusama says. “Joe Biden is paying lip service to it, but we’ve already established that it’s a message that’s no longer relevant; we can no longer assume that we share certain values. You see tough support for Ukraine, especially when America sees itself at odds with itself, especially when it comes to those values. .’
Connection points are corrupted
According to Van Hooft, these common values are significantly clouded by the loss of shared interests during the Cold War. Also, previous generations of Americans had even greater ties to Europe because they were first- or second-generation immigrants. “It doesn’t mean that they always had a positive image of Europe, but it does mean that they had knowledge and a relationship with the old European culture. All those little points of connection crumbled.