November 11, 2016
What Trump means for Europe ...
There is a lot we don't know about the Trump presidency, but it will have an important impact on global security, and especially on the EU which is unprepared for any shock that comes its way. We thought the best comment of the day was by Robert Cooper who made the following point about the EU's ability to draw the right conclusions, and to construct a genuine foreign and security policy:
"Instead of asking whether Donald Trump is serious, we should ask when we are going to get serious ourselves, collectively. Here are three difficulties: first our record of getting serious is not good. Second, it would be better to do this with the UK but maybe that’s no longer possible; third the United States itself has been an important element of the glue that keeps the EU together. That is surely over. Now it’s up to us."
We agree specifically with his point about the UK. The UK, together with France, is the EU's most important security power. The EU will need extensive policy and military cooperation with the UK post-Brexit, and this means that hard-Brexit scenario are not in the security interest of the EU itself. This view was also expressed by an unnamed UK government official, according to Bloomberg, who pointed out that security would become part of the Brexit negotiation. The UK has the second-largest defence budget in Nato, and strong capabilities in anti-terrorism and cyber-security. Coincidentally, after Brexit Jean-Claude Juncker had to replace the Briton Jonathan Hill as commissioner for financial services, and gave Julian King a security portfolio centered on organised crime and counter-terrorism.
Werner Mussler writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine that Donald Trump is a disaster for Germany in particular. There is no way now that Germany can get away with its extremely low rates of defence spending, as even the recently agreed increases are well below to what Germany committed to, but never fulfilled. And, since Germany has healthy public finances, it will not be in a position to deny the request.
"It would not be without irony if the federal government would have to acceed to the permanent demands by the EU and the IMF for higher fiscal expenditures because of Trump."
That falls under the category of events intruding. Mussler also makes Trump will mean more global protectionism, which in itself will be a disaster for Germany in particular, given the country's dependency on exports.
One of the countries where Trump's victory was celebrated, other than in Russia, was Turkey. Asli Aydintasbas writes that this is in part to do with Trump's support for Racep Tayyip Erdagan after the coup, coupled with the hope that Trump is far more likely to extradite Gulen. What also matters Trump's promise to not get involved in Syria, which strengthens Turkey's role in the region, as a partner to Russia.