Europe caught between Putin and Trump

Europe and the US are drifting further apart and Britain will be left to flounder

Rafael Behr   Published: Wed 14 Feb 2024 06.00 GMT

NATOFor decades, UK foreign policy had two pillars: the EU and Washington. Who would be our allies in a Trump 2.0 world?

Nine months is a long time to hold your breath. The identity of the next US president won’t be known until 6 November, but already the prospect of it being Donald Trump has America’s allies clenched in strategic suspense.

In European democracies, the fear is existential. For 75 years, their security has been guaranteed by the North Atlantic treaty, which Trump scorns as a bad deal for the US. At a rally over the weekend, the former president boasted of having encouraged Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to countries that weren’t, in his view, paying their Nato bills.

If returned to the White House, Trump might not actually renege on US commitments of mutual assistance to countries that fear they are in Vladimir Putin’s firing line. But the former president doesn’t have to mean exactly what he says, or even win the election, for his words to have effect. Ambiguity undermines deterrence.

American unreliability will permeate every discussion when Nato defence ministers gather in Brussels this week.

The gripe that Europeans free-ride on America’s defence budget is an old refrain. Most Nato members accept it is also a fair one. Only a minority have met the commitment made in 2006 to allocate 2% of GDP for defence spending. But in the past, frustration at the asymmetry of contribution has been softened by historical allegiance and alignment of values. Even in terms of self-interested realpolitik, Washington could value the upkeep of European democracy, stability and prosperity as a Nato dividend.

Not Trump. He doesn’t do alliances, only transactions and threats. Mutual benefit is for wimps. The test of a good deal in Trumpworld is that the other party feels cheated. For that reason he despises the EU even more than Nato because it isn’t a US client. It has its own commercial heft as a continental trading bloc.

The ambition to spike Europe’s guns as an economic superpower is another thing Trump has in common with Putin. It is why they were both enthusiasts for Brexit.

US unreliability is already stalking the battlefield in Ukraine. Vital aid has been held up in Congress, which is partly the effect of Trump having a thumb on the military scales before he has even been formally nominated as the Republican candidate. It looks like payout for a Kremlin bet that western finance and moral support for Kyiv will run out faster than Russian shells and conscript cannon fodder.

There is a faction of the US right that admires Putin on ideological grounds, as a scourge of degenerate liberalism. But mostly Republicans are just glad if the war goes badly for the side Joe Biden has backed, so they can cast his presidency as an era of US weakness and Trump as a restoration of strength.

The repugnant cynicism of that game will poison America’s international relationships, even if Biden wins a second term. It is already clear that the old congressional consensus in favour of constitutional democracy and the rule of law has gone.

Seeing the writing on the wall, European leaders are talking with new urgency about what Emmanuel Macron calls “strategic autonomy”. This used to be dismissed as an improbable flight of Gallic fancy. Now it frames the continent’s agenda. The implications in terms of where the extra money for bigger defence budgets – even more than 2% of GDP – will come from, and what a consolidated continental defence capability actually involves, are only slowly seeping into domestic politics.


A somewhat startling headline, it will be interesting to see this thought continue to develop within the EU as the EU is challenged to deal with its future security post the Ukraine war and a second term for TRUMP.  President Emmanual Macron wants to bring Russia back to the negotiating table and begin dialogue on some form of a Security Pact with Russia, NATO’s existence in its current form will be an issue even more so now.

The Bible has long revealed that Russia and an EU Army will enter into a final conflict with Israel and the Middle East.  Germany is the key country in what Bible Prophecy refers to as the land of “Magog”. They are spoken of militarily as the “King of the North”.  Together the Bible says that Russia and the EU will invade the Middle East in the Last Days.  So Bible Students expect to see Germany and France taking a greater role in leading Europe.  It is also interesting to see Germany taking greater control of a continent they tried to take by war and failed.

Yet again we see in Todays News Headlines words that show how the Nations are fulfilling the latter day alignment of Nations as Prophesied by the Bible. 

See this article to learn more about this and the latter day prophecies of the Bible.

See this article for more on this subject: WHAT IS NEXT FOR EUROPE