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USA - The European Union relations in the Trump era
Tuesday 28 February 2017

Since Trump has assumed US Presidency, it is anyone's guess what the transatlantic relationship between the USA and the European Union shall look like in the future. The prospect of Ted Malloch being appointed US ambassador to the EU can be taken as a first critical indication that quite a different wind will blow over the Atlantic. Malloch claims to have helped to take down the Soviet Union and to be willing to do the same with the EU. Alongside other strong Brexit believers, he repeats what Trump does not like: a EU being run by “non elected officials”. Oddly enough Malloch claims to be doing this in the name of democracy, although that is very much under threat by Trump.

Given this development, it is clearly advisable for Europeans not to get their perception 'wrong' as to what is happening in Washington. Moreover American responses shall be based on 'belief analysis', so that a 'belief' of the European Union being bad for nation-statehood shall be treated as a fact. Four specific premises ought to be taken into account to respond to this challenge.

1. What Bannon wants

Chief architect of further going plans is Steve Bannon who savours if he is demonised because he can then present himself as the enlightened Capitalist. He wishes to install a belief-system based strictly on Judeo-Christian values, in order to restore Capitalism with moderation. It is a long term strategy as it aims to be something passed on from generation to generation.

Source: https://qz.com/898134/what-steve-bannon-really-wants/

2. The rule of the rich

Trump and Bannon assume that any challenge to the Neo-Liberal establishment can come only from the Right. It will mean ruling without the law as was the case under Hitler in the Third Reich. For an analysis thereof, see https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-supermanagerial-reich/

3. Foreign policy challenges

The USA imperial overreach has suffered set-backs before, but during the Obama Presidency it meant getting out of Iraq. All this and more has been stamped by Trump as bad leadership since it gave the USA a diminished role in the world. Consequently, future US foreign policy shall be guided by the principle of making America great again. To achieve that, Bannon has convinced Trump it is wise to withdraw from the world and engulf it at the same time in a new war. Hence the world is in Trump's view complex, but he also qualifies it as a 'mess'. Such a belief that a new war will allow the USA to emerge from it only to be greater again, is based on the historical reading of the aftermaths of WWI and WWII. This strategic vision shall soon be tested against world opinion, with the US allowing Israel's settlement expansion at the risk of negating the two-state solution. To kindle a major war and then step in as the saviour from such a mess, for that is needed an enemy. Bannon and Trump find such an enemy in the Muslim world - but will be that enough? Surely not. The breakup of the European Union would add fuel to this tactic of lighting fires at the same time in different places. For a further internal assessment of US foreign policy challenges, see article by Francis Shor, Dec. 16, 2016: http://newpol.org/content/end-%E2%80%9Camerican-century%E2%80%9D-whither-us-global-hegemony-and-indispensable-nation

4. EU – challenges

Trump should not be seen as a threat, but as a challenge. Tusk has indeed used that word 'threat' in his letter to the member states, but that would drive the European Union into a state of alarm and over-exaggerated fears. Not a new narrative is needed to bind Europe together, but as said already before, moral legitimacy has to be regained by ensuring equality of all citizens. For sure Steve Bannon and Alt Right will want to influence the election outcomes in the Netherland, France and Germany, but Europe has a future if it comes to terms with what is really needed: life in freedom guaranteed by democracy.

About the author

 

Hatto Fischer, poet and philosopher, coordinator of the NGO Poiein kai Prattein has been involved with questions of culture in various ways: European projects, advisor for the Greens to the Cultural Committee in the European Parliament, study for the European Commission on how culture in Greece has been financed through the structural fund. Besides his own writings, he is engaged in dialogue with poets and coordinates the world wide Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth movement with children and youth painting peace murals on a canvas having the same size as Picasso's Guernica (7,8 x 3,5 m). His latest research work has been on how Europe is connected through culture as exemplified by ECoCs since 1985.

Web: www.poieinkaiprattein.org