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Europe wonders if whoever wins can rely on the US again

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BRUSSELS – A number of European leaders who despise President Trump, who sees them as rivals and deadbeats instead of allies, are hoping for Biden to run for president. They know full well that Trump’s four years have changed the world and the United States – an irreversible world.

Although civilization can be restored, a fundamental belief has been shattered, and many European diplomats and experts believe that US foreign policy is no longer bilateral and therefore unreliable. “The shining city at the top of the hill is not as bright as it used to be,” said Reinhard Bettikofer, a prominent German member of the European Parliament.

Ivan Krastov, director of the Center for Liberal Strategies, said for the first time, “Europeans fear that there will be no more foreign policy consensus in the United States. Every new administration can mean a whole new policy, and for them it is a nightmare. ”

And Trump. Thursday will also show ideological differences Joseph R. Biden Jr. The final president will hold talks.

Most would consider it a low-hanging fruit for a Biden regime that pleases Europeans. The crop includes an extension to the New Start Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with Russia and the return to the Paris Climate Agreement, the World Health Organization and the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Summit meetings of Group 7 and NATO will have a less combat atmosphere, with sentimental-positive meetings and statements on multinationalism, trade confrontations, renewed efforts to reform the World Trade Organization.

Trump’s complaints are shared by many Americans, and given the polarization of the United States, French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Europe to move forward in a transformed world, where China is emerging, and the Trump administration is only a sign of an American retreat from the global leadership.

European “strategic autonomy” – the idea that Europe does not depend on Washington and that the world has its own strong voice is more ambitious than reality, but it is gaining strength.

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Some, such as Natalie Toki, director of the Italian Institute of International Affairs, and French security analyst Franോois Heisberg, fear that a Biden presidency could short-circuit European autonomy and allow Europeans to continue. As Toky said, sand. “

A re-election by Trump may accelerate the trend towards autonomy, although some believe Trump can pull out of NATO, one of his former national security advisers, John Bolton, said. He suggested.

Continue the 2020 election

American foreign policy has traditionally been bipartisan – the old adage, “Politics stands by the water,” was especially valid during the Cold War. But the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that foreign policy was also subject to political polarization in the United States.

“As a leader, there is an incredible decline in Europe in the American sense,” he said. By mishandling the corona virus, Said Jeremy Shapiro of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“Biden does not solve their America problem,” he said. “He’s not going to be president forever, the Democrats will not always be in power. People have realized that America can not be trusted in foreign policy because the next government will come and wipe it out.”

The inconsistency of US foreign policy has weakened American credibility, some have warned.

“There is an American decline in the geopolitical burden,” said Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University. “The only fact that shapes the role of the US in global politics is polarization. This polarization will not disappear if Joe Biden is elected,” he said. “Americans do not agree on fundamental issues, including how much the United States should participate in global affairs and NATO.”

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Former U.S. diplomat William J. Burns is currently running the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C., who thinks the damage will continue no matter who wins the election.

“One of the more devastating consequences of polarization is to make foreign policy an instrument of partisan politics,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then.

When Europeans see Biden’s presidency as a “return to civilization,” as Mr. Heisberg called it, a new partnership demands new obligations and commitments, especially to China.

Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said there would be a new courage and reluctance to take great risks on the part of US allies after Trump. “If you know that whatever you do will last until the next election, you are looking at everything with more uncertainty,” he said.

Europeans see the confrontation with China as one of the few bilateral issues that drive US foreign policy, and Europeans are reluctant to make a pledge or playing card in that competition, given that China is Europe’s second largest trading partner behind Europe. States.

Opinion polls Show Most Europeans do not want to take part in certain wars between Washington and Beijing. “We do not see China challenging in the same way, we are not of the same age,” said Rem Corteveg of the Klingendale Institute.

There will also be constant pressure from Washington against Europeans to spend more on defense – a bilateral demand that has not been crushed.

Trump has successfully persuaded Europeans to spend more. Europeans were also reacting to a vacuum in the Trans-Atlantic leadership, raising doubts about Trump’s commitment to collective security and his outlook on Europe. A burden and an opponent.

“I see European partners being more assertive in saying that we disagree with US policies – that is the healthy tradition that Trump has abandoned,” said Alexandra de Hope Schaefer, director of the German Marshall Fund in Paris.

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Before Trump, these disagreements were very rare.

“We had differences of opinion, but we never had a fundamental distrust in holding a general view of the world,” said Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian Prime Minister, who has interacted with several US presidents from both parties.

But over the past four years, many European leaders have said they “do not think the U.S. can be trusted, even in basic terms.”

She also said that confidence in Washington will not return soon. “While most European leaders think it would be good for the global system to develop a closer US-Europe relationship, such a polarized situation between the two major parties in the US is frightening, and you wonder where it is going. ”

For Mr. Burns of the Carnegie Endowment, American global dominance is over. He sees the American hunger for “the great foreign policy crusade”: “We cannot go back to 1949 or 1992 – or 2016. The world must change and the trans-Atlantic relationship must change with it. ”

He added that the Biden government would first focus on domestic renewal in the country, which contains the corona virus. It will seek a more cooperative partnership with Europe by supporting “a European security identity that is not at the expense of NATO”.

Europeans “have their own doubts, considering the drift they have seen in America looking further inland,” Burns said. Working alliances are possible in China, 5G, Russia, Africa and climate change.

But Europeans must also be committed, Mr Burns said. “Both sides need to move forward to invest in a new relationship that has never been done before.”

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