Yesterday, in discussing Mike Pence’s speech in Munich, I argued that the animosity towards President Trump expressed by some of our European allies has little or nothing to do with Trump’s statements about Russia and NATO. Rather, the animosity stems from the fact that Trump isn’t a leftist and the view that he is a vulgarian.
American left-wing elites despise Trump. Why expect European left-wing elites not to?
I forgot, however, to mention the one substantive issue that engenders European hatred. Trump is not supportive of Europe’s ultimate left-wing project, the EU.
Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to Washington who ran the Munich conference, gave voice to this concern. He wondered whether Trump will “continue a tradition of half a century of being supportive of the project of European integration, or is he going to continue to advocate E.U. member countries to follow the Brexit example?” If he takes the latter course, “it would amount to a kind of nonmilitary declaration of war.”
There you have it. Forget about Russia. The Eurocrats are demanding that Trump take their side in a domestic policy dispute. If he doesn’t, he has declared “nonmilitary war.”
Not surprisingly, the nations that have the most to fear from Russia, and know it best, are taking a different line. The president of Estonia said of Trump and Pence, “I put my trust in them, so I am reassured.” Other Baltic leaders “echoed this sentiment,” according to the Washington Post.
The Post suggests that these leaders are merely giving Trump the benefit of the doubt because their parlous situation with Russia leaves them with “little choice.” That’s possible, although (as I will discuss later today), the Russians agree with their neighbors that, as president, Trump has not been pro-Russia).
In any case, true allies will give their partners the benefit of the doubt when a new administration comes to power. They will not reject its reassurances or condition acceptance of them on supporting their domestic policy preferences.
The EU is in trouble, but it’s problems are not of Donald Trump’s making. Trump is merely expressing the obvious when he points them out.
The EU’s problems stem from arrogance and overreach, both of which were on clear display in the Eurocrats’ reaction to the Trump administration’s overtures this past weekend.