Trump Doesn’t Understand Europe
When Mom tells you “no” and Dad tells you “yes,” what are you supposed to do? Anyone would be confused, so you can see why many European countries are worried trying to follow the yo-yo foreign policy coming from the Trump White House.
Vice President Pence’s recent comments in Europe about the commitment of the United States to our European allies was delivered without weight or authority. They contradict those by President Trump. The White House needs to stand behind our European allies and pronounce its unequivocal support for the unity of the continent. Continued support of the EU and NATO will show the world that America keeps its promises and maintains its credibility.
Inconsistencies in our foreign policy weaken America’s standing in Europe. Shifting and unconvincing messages to our European partners threaten America’s entire relationship with the continent. The European Union and the US have the largest trading relationship in the world. When the US starts to waver in its support for the continent, our allies take note and react accordingly. Risking this historic partnership because of mismanaged rhetoric and communications would be a blunder hard to correct.
An unsettled Europe has global ramifications for trade and security. This is especially the case given the recent Brexit vote and the wave of euro skeptic nationalism sweeping across the continent. While Pence was peddling a pro-EU stance, Trump was making remarks that ran counter to this message. Trump has questioned the value of the European Union itself by claiming that the organization is just a tool for Germany to control the continent. He has also caused controversy in stating that the Brexit vote was a good thing and that other countries will surely mimic the UK in leaving the EU.
A shaky European policy is detrimental to the US in other countries as well. America looks weak to other global powers when it can’t decide on a steady policy toward its closest allies. Weakening US credibility will have disastrous effects on our foreign policy elsewhere in the world.
Some say Trump’s inflammatory comments are simply the wake-up call Europe needs to take on more responsibility for its own defense and security. Trump’s comments do more harm than good, however. By unnecessarily creating uncertainty and tension between us and our allies, Trump has started us down a path of fear and distrust. We want to divide our responsibilities for European security, not divide our countries.
No matter how effective Pence is at temporarily easing worries in Europe, the fact remains that the man making the decisions has yet to make reliable statements coinciding with those of his Vice President. The back-and-forth stances of the White House are troubling for European countries and others hoping to have a relationship with the US. Caring for our valuable connections with Europe through a consistent policy will be beneficial for the Trump White House in forging relationships elsewhere in the world.