In recent years, when Republicans have criticized President Obama's approach to foreign policy, they invariably complain that his priorities are backwards. America's allies, the argument goes, no longer count on us, while America's adversaries no longer fear us.
In a foreign policy speech delivered in April, none other than Donald Trump, reading from his trusted teleprompter, argued
, "[O]ur friends are beginning to think they can't depend on us. We've had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies."
The entire line of attack has long been deeply ironic. Under Obama's presidency, the United States' international reputation has improved considerably over the Bush/Cheney era, and our allies' confidence in our leadership has grown. Now that Trump is poised to take power, however, anxiety and mistrust among American allies has reached levels unseen in generations. The Washington Post reported
European leaders grappled with the jolting reality of President-elect Donald Trump's skepticism of the European Union on Monday, saying they might have to stand without the United States at their side during the Trump presidency.
The possibility of an unprecedented breach in transatlantic relations came after Trump -- who embraced anti-E.U. insurgents during his campaign and following his victory -- said in weekend remarks that the 28-nation European Union was bound for a breakup and that he was indifferent to its fate. He also said NATO's current configuration is "obsolete," even as he professed commitment to Europe's defense.
To put it mildly, the president-elect's weekend comments have rattled much of the world. As we noted
yesterday, Trump sat down with two European newspapers for an interview in which he dismissed NATO as “obsolete
”; criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel
for assisting Syrian refugees (whom Trump referred to as “illegals
”); said the United States “should be ready to trust
” Russian President Vladimir Putin; and endorsed
the further unraveling
of the European Union.
added that Trump's attitudes "have raised alarm bells across Europe," as America's traditional allies come to the "painful realization" that Europeans may no longer have "the full backing of their oldest, strongest partner."
The article went on to note, "The full ramifications of a potential breakdown in transatlantic ties are so extensive, they are difficult to total.... For decades, European nations and the United States have worked tightly together on issues of war, peace and wealth."
This has been the backbone of the world order for generations, and in the United States, there's been a steady, bipartisan commitment to the Western alliance. American allies counted on this international partnership to endure. read more