American political system allows the President to follow his own agenda despite available checks and balances unlike in any other democratic countries, mainly, due to the power of his executive powers. I have used the masculine pronoun since the U.S. is one of the few Western democracies that still has not appointed a woman as head of a state/government.
The recent political turmoil in the country has opened our eyes to the instability of our closest ally. It became clear that Trump will be working in opposition to his predecessor Obama. Opting out from the Paris Agreement was the first step in the realisation that he will not be following the European Union policies and agenda either. Instead, this dangerous development will be at the expense of Europe and the world – “America First” they say.
The U.S. as a dominant power should always spearhead the initiative in battling global issues of any kind. However, by declaring its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2017, the U.S. has become the only country in the world to reject the necessary steps to mitigate climate change. The country is the second largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions in the world after China and the second largest pollutant per capita amongst advanced economies after Australia. In times of growing renewable energy sources and the importance of tackling global warming, it appears that the U.S. doesn’t seem committed to resolving the problems which arise. In other words, the country pursues further economic advancement at all costs. Further, Trump has openly claimed that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese and, until recently, he refused to say anything confirming climate change. The response from the E.U. was overwhelmingly negative and, certainly, their sympathy grew further apart.
On top of that, the NATO disagreement between the member states regarding spending 2% of total GDP on defence has caused enormous insecurity amongst the allies. Since only a small number of countries are committed to spending given quotas, Trump threatens to pull out of the collaboration unless the remaining allies boost military spending. It certainly is “America First” where long-lasting alliances reaching back to 1949 (and before the formal pact) can simply be shifted to money issues, dislike and grievances. If this was not enough, recognising Jerusalem as an Israeli’s capital questions common goals between the transatlantic partners. Trump is very inconsiderate – he pushes whatever policy and decision he desires regardless of the positions and stands of his international partners.
By imposing tariffs on aluminium of 10% and on steel of 25% on the E.U. nations, the E.U. Commission declared the balancing measures to counter the tariffs. A trade war was almost inevitable when Trump threatened to impose, in response, extra tariffs on European cars. In the end, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Trump decided to put aside trade conflict during the meeting in Washington last month leaving, however, the previously announced tariffs on steel and aluminium. Other tariffs imposed on Turkey, a NATO ally, resulted in a financial crisis in the country where the currency, lira, plumped record low. The problem arises, however, because Turkey as an ally of the Western world is now pursuing closer ties with Russia. Putin, certainly not an unintelligible leader is taking the advantage of the deepening economic crisis in Turkey to increase Russia’s economic influence in the country.
One of the worst, yet, decisions made by Trump was to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal and the retaliation with even stronger sanctions towards the country. Not only does this lead to a regional risk on neighbouring countries but also by not controlling the nuclear development another nation might be in possession of nuclear warfare threatening its use globally. Again, the U.S statement faced strong opposition from the E.U. officials that still pursue the implementation of the JCPOA.
The E.U. must definitely be reliant on itself in these tough times, particularly, as I believe, Trump is most likely to be re-elected in 2020 Election. How long can this alliance last for? It has survived over a hundred years and the two-term presidency can barely alter anything that has been achieved so far. And yet, the military, economic and environmental disputes between the allies create feasible shifts in a global alliance where the E.U. may form closer ties with its trading partner China.
There might be only one winner in this game. The crises between the U.S. and its allies certainly gives Russia a great deal to offer in this regard. What is more, Trump’s tributes and sympathy to Russian President Vladimir Putin do not go in line with the E.U. disapproval of Russian actions in Ukraine, Amesbury and Wiltshire poisoning in the U.K., and the apparent meddling in member states’ elections, amongst a few. Even though we are living in the Trump era, the ties with our transatlantic partner are and will remain strong. We need to adapt to changing realities and hope for the goodwill of the American people and their opening up to the world.