After the US presidential election Americans and Europeans were concerned of Donald Trump’s presidency because it might have hurt transatlantic relations and change the attitude of the US towards NATO and the European Union.
Since the Cold War, Europeans and Americans have had a special relationship, East European countries rushed to have close ties with the West by joining the EU and NATO but also by creating strong bilateral relationships with the US. Therefore, the US influence grew tremendously in Europe, and it has not gone anywhere.
The EU is the world’s largest market and the United States is the second largest. Not to forget Canada, which has a free trade agreement CETA with the EU. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is has increased his popularity among Europeans during the recent years. It is the first time in history when Canada’s PM has received such attention from Europeans. As a combination Europe (the EU) and North America have created an economical and a cultural area, which has a strong foundation. TTIP would have created the world’s largest free trade zone and it might be revived in the near future because it would boost American and European economies.
However, reputation of the US has fallen around the world. During President Barack Obama’s period 64 percent of the people had a positive image of the US. Trump’s presidency has decreased this number to 49 percent. People expected that as a businessman Trump would have understood the importance of nurturing the brand image of the US, and even to make more appealing. Trump’s ultra-conservative values, Muslim ban and withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement have affected these numbers.
Some European conservatives support Trump’s presidency, and they are also strengthening the special relationship because they see Trump as a modern time Ronald Reagan. Some people are very sceptical of this scenario because Reagan was tough against the Russians. The power balance of the West against Russia is overwhelming than during the time of the Soviet Union. Russia is also a declining society.
Americans should not be worried of plummeting approval ratings because those are merely anti-Trump and not anti-US figures. European liberals still favour New York, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other places as their favourite cities. Connections between business, culture, education, political and research life remains strong. Europeans are not going anywhere.
Europeans know that American liberals are once again gaining a new momentum, which can lead to victories in upcoming elections. This is also one of the reasons why the transatlantic relation remains strong because people see Trump as a short-term phenomenon. People still remember how Obama won a moderate republican John McCain with a landslide. McCain is a strong supporter of transatlantic relations but Europeans did not favour a Republican.
However, Europeans also remember how Senator John Kerry was not able to win against President George W. Bush in 2004. Kerry’s defeat was a bitter one because Bush was not popular in Europe. Nowadays Europeans are even remembering Bush as a very good president compared to Trump, hence, a moderate republican would be also a good choice. Still, democrats should have a strong presidential candidate for 2020 presidential elections who could win against Trump.
Trump’s presidency will be defined partly by his ability to enhance transatlantic relations. The US and Americans have benefited greatly from Europe by expanding to new business markets and growing its global influence. Europeans admire the US for many reasons, and Europeans are thankful for the US’ support against fascism, communism and terrorism. However, the US must understand that it has the power to support the global order or to go against it. If the the US goes against the global order – it will only hurt herself. Therefore, the US needs Europe because it is a trustworthy partner.