Trump Rules Out Europe as an Ally

Many observers and U.S. allies calculated that in Helsinki President Trump had intended to achieve the re-establishment of a triangulation between the United States, Russia and China. And there were good reasons for that hypothesis.

At a 2015  press conference, Trump advocated the Hanry Kissinger line: keep Russia and China divided so that they can never unite against Washington.

On that occasion, Trump said: “…One of the worst things that can happen to the US is for Russia to get closer to China. We’ve let them join in with the big oil deals that are being made. That’s a horrible thing for our country. We’ve made them friends because of a incompetent leadership.”

In an essay published by the Strategic Culture Foundation on July 23rd signed by Alastair Crooke, a former M16 agent, and British diplomat, there is speculation that perhaps, in Helsinki, Trump was doing something a little less strategic and more realistic – something more along the lines of The Art of The Deal [Trump’s book].

According to Crooke, “Over the decades, we have developed a model of how “people are supposed to behave when they’re not in a good mood. presidents and in the process of policy formulation. Bush and Obama were fully driven through that process. But obviously, Trump doesn’t fit that model. Trump’s process follows the following order:

1) Identify a major target (tax cuts, trade, etc.) balanced trade, a wall, etc..

2) Identify the points of influence in front of anyone who stands in your way (elections, tariffs, jobs, etc.).

3) Announce any extreme threat aggression to your opponent.

4) If the opponent backs down, mitigate the threat, declare victory and come home with a win.

(5) If the opponent responds, Trump applies the principle of double or nothing.

6) Eventually, the escalation must lead to negotiations with the perception of a victory for Trump – even though this is more apparent than real.

If we frame the Helsinki meeting in the context of this perception of Art of the Deal, we get that the divergences of vision between Russia and the United States are so substantial that the common ground is small and there are very few prospects for an ‘overall strategic agreement’.

In fact, President Trump has little to offer Russia: sanctions relief is not in his power (but in Congress’s), and you could not renounce Ukraine, “even if Trump understood that the US and Europe made a bad buy with their coup d’état.”

According to the Russian journalist specializing in the conflict in Ukraine, Rostislav Ishchenko, “We have a situation where both sides, even before they negotiated, they knew they could not reach an agreement and neither could bes even prepared for such a thing (there was no provision for the signature of a document after the negotiations).

At the same time, both sides needed the event to be successful. Trump, obviously, is blackmailing the European Union with a possible agreement with Russia. But I’ll tell you what, Putin also needs to show Europe that there are other fish in the the sea besides them.”

Europe’s position is clear. Not by chance, Trump, in listing Washington’s enemies (the EU, China and Russia), made it clear that he considers Russia to be a smaller problem than the EU because there are practically no economic contradictions with Moscow.

The main “enemy” of the United States is not China, with whom the US has the largest negative trade balance, but the European Union, which Trump defined as the main commercial competitor and which obtains from the relationship with the United States many unjustified economic benefits through political agreements.

With this, Trump solves his political-military contradictions with Russia and, consequently, reduces the value of the EU as an ally of Washington to zero. Recently, after the NATO summit, Merkel began to speak out clearly about Trump’s hostility to Europe. She considers it unjustified because of how much Europe has fought against Russia for the benefit of the interests of the United States.

Europe, which, unlike China, has not dedicated itself to the diversification of its economic ties in the world and which seemed to depend on access to the U.S. market, is not prepared for a strong confrontation with the United States.

Without running the risk of getting ahead of Trump on the issue of the normalisation of relations with Russia, EU leaders were fatally afraid that Trump and Putin, despite the difficulties, might do the impossible and come to an agreement, because both of them proved to be prepared for decisions that could change the world’s destiny in an instant.


Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.