Goodbye. Donald Trump finally left in his helicopter and his American One for Florida. EU presidents and prime ministers watched with curiosity, live on television, his final gestures, his speech, his farewell ceremony, a mixture of Micky Mouse and the music of My Way in a Las Vegas casino, without the required carpet red.
As new President Joe Biden began to reverse his most outrageous policies, Britain and the European Union were turning the page on Trumpism.
They dream of power recreate an air of normalcy and multilateralism in the transatlantic relationship, in their common strategic interests, after a relationship in crisis, devastated by scandals and the assault on the institutions that link them by the now former US president.
The divisions that Trump managed to apply in the United States did not spread to the EU or Britain. Its leaders simply verified how “the worst president in American history” damaged the foundations of democracy and its reputation, not only its interests and its leadership.
A Biden administration must forge new ties with Europeans and his first gesture was to reaffirm the Paris Climate Summit.
Europe said goodbye to the Trump era in America. The Republican tycoon left the White House early Wednesday. Photo: EFE
The complex link to London
With Great Britain, historically America’s best transatlantic ally, the relationship is complex and divided by Brexit. In direct interference, Donald Trump promoted division with the EU, sniffed at then-British Prime Minister Theresa May and her agreement, and embraced “his friend” Boris Johnson, the prime minister, who soon realized he was the “bear hug”.
Neo-populism could unite them, but Boris is a Nobel Prize in strategy in the face of Donald Trump’s fascist elementarity and his xenophobia. Explosives didn’t help either trumpist tour of Nigel Farage, the true ideologue of Brexit and friend of Trump, in the United States.
In the middle of Brexit, Joe Biden told Boris. “I am Irish. Take care of the Good Friday deal ”, when the delicate border between Ireland and Northern Ireland was being negotiated.
But while Biden and his team were skeptical of Brexit, they will privilege national interests with their old British ally. After a visit to Canada, Biden’s likely second presidential trip will be to Britain for the G7, in Cornwall, in June. There the world leaders will discuss economic contributions and vaccines and how all countries will unite to fight the pandemic. A possibility that Trump opposed.
In the middle of the pandemic, the Biden administration will promote internationalism, a quality that Britain will need post Brexit and post Covid. The Glasgow Summit will build the foundations for the other great meeting. At COP26, the most significant climate change summit that Great Britain is going to convene in Scotland, Biden has promised to raise ambitions against emotions and send a strong message to protect the planet post-pandemic.
The main proposals of the president of the United States Joe Biden. / AFP
With a democratic crisis spreading from Hong Kong to Hungary, from China to Moscow, the transatlantic relationship is going to be tested at another summit: the D10 of the world’s democracies for a foreign policy plan.
The post Breton Wood will be born from all these summits to confront the pandemic and the attacks on democracy. A plan of renewal and global hope.
Former British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday accused Boris Johnson of “handing over Britain’s global moral leadership” during his tenure.
He accused him of not respecting “our values”, by threatening to break international law in the Brexit negotiations and suspend his international aid commitments in a direct and personal attack on The Daily Mail.
“We are leaning towards absolutism in international relations: ‘if you are not 100 percent with me, you are 100 percent against me.’ Commitment is being seen as a dirty word, ”he said.
“The world does not owe us a prominent place on its stage, whatever rhetoric we deploy. It is our actions that count,” May warned Boris in this post-Trump stage.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and now former US President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS
The former prime minister attacked Boris Johnson for some foreign policy decisions. May, who navigated a difficult diplomatic tightrope with Trump by clashing with him on several occasions but is wary of damaging the “special relationship” between London and Washington, also shed light on what it was like to be a leader alongside Trump.
“I never knew what to expect, from offering me, sometimes literally, the hand of friendship to hearing him question the basic principles of the transatlantic alliance,” he said.
When a prime minister walks to a joint press conference unsure of herself, the president next to her will agree that NATO is a bulwark of our collective defense, you know we are living in extraordinary times. Mr. Biden will have his own agenda but he will be a more predictable partner, a reliable partner, ”insisted Theresa May.
Middle East, China and NATO
All alliances are fragile between the United States and its allies. NATO and global security, plus the Iran nuclear deal, are the next topics that the governments of the EU will discuss with the new North American president. Trump transformed the Cold War organization into a business and not a strategic security body: he punished those who did not contribute 2 percent of their GDP in defense spending.
“It’s a new day in America,” Joe Biden said before his inauguration. After four years of unilateralism, the president must renew a consensus with its European allies, a modus vivendi with China and Russia, and a balance in the nuclear agreement with Iran with the Troika, following the enrichment of uranium by the mullahs and the abandonment of the agreement by Trump, which is now going to force the United States to lift economic sanctions.
Donald Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The relationship with Israel, another challenge for Joe Biden. Photo: REUTERS
The legacy of the agreements between Israel and the Gulf countries is yet another undermined ground plus its difficult link with Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia, suspected of murdering Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post. As if that were not enough, the North American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is added.
President Biden will have to unravel the deliberate mess that Donald Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, made.
Europeans and the Biden administration must find a common path to resolve the conflict with Iran. The other pending subject is China, fueled by the neo-nationalism of Beijing, and the impasses that Trump decided, with the link with Taiwan included.
A vast majority of Europeans celebrate Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump but doubt “a restoration of the transatlantic alliance.”
This is the survey of the YouGOv Institute and Dataproxis. carried out between November and December 2020, among 15,000 people in eleven European countries, including France, Germany and Great Britain.
Most believe that the US system is “wounded” and judge that “China will be more powerful than the United States” in 10 more years.
And the worst conclusion is that “the European continent cannot depend on a country in decline like the United States to ensure its defense or represent its interests.”
54 percent of those interviewed believe that “the world is in a worse situation because of the presidency of Donald Trump.” A European out of three and a German out of two believes that “Americans are no more trustworthy”, having voted for Trump in 2016. Only the majority of Hungarians and Poles do not share this point of view.
Most Europeans believe that Americans “will not be able to overcome their internal divisions to deal with world problems”, climate change, peace in the Middle East, relations with China and European security. They are 48 percent in Germany, 52 percent in France, and 41 percent in Great Britain.
With these indices, Europeans want to reduce their dependence on the United States and converge “to a more sovereign and autonomous Europe, adapted to the strategic games of the moment.”
Europe must strengthen its defense capabilities, according to seven out of ten Europeans consulted. In half of the countries surveyed, “Europe must remain neutral”, in the event of a conflict between the United States and China and also in the case of Russia.
For those surveyed, true “European sovereignty” is this form of neutrality and prudence in the face of someone who shows their power to avoid being held hostage to disputes between the US government and its adversaries.
France wants the United States to engage in the battle against terrorism in the Sahel desert, especially in Operation Bakane, from which Donald Trump retired.