europe politics Trump

Trump: The European Union Is A ‘Foe’ Of The United States

"I love those countries, but"...

A persistent theme in the geopolitical realm over the past several months is the idea that Donald Trump is getting more aggressive when it comes to alienating America’s traditional allies.

In the same vein, the President seems to be accelerating his efforts to undermine a variety of multilateral institutions. That effort has manifested itself recently in the contentious G-7 meeting in Canada and his allusions in Brussels to pulling the U.S. out of NATO, a suggestion so wild that it reportedly prompted a “damage control” push by the Pentagon.

The upending of traditional Western alliances and the concurrent realignment of politics in developed countries is mirrored in the Trump administration’s adversarial trade policy which, taken to its logical (or illogical, whichever the case may be) extreme, entails the U.S. abandoning the WTO.

All of this is objectively bizarre and as such, needs to be packaged in a way that can be sold to Trump’s base. That base, despite being generally lacking when it comes to foreign policy acumen and also wholly vulnerable to being manipulated by populist balderdash, probably still understands that there’s something a bit off about this whole thing.

So, Trump has variously attempted to demonize Europe (and also Canada) by accusing them of robbing the American “piggybank” through NATO and through trade.

Well, on Sunday, a new clip from Trump’s interview with CBS’s Jeff Glor, finds the President literally calling the European Union a “foe” of the United States. Here’s the clip:

 

When Glor pushed back on the characterization of the E.U. as a U.S. enemy, Trump resorted to the same tactics outlined above, replying as follows:

I love those countries [but] in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills.

This is the same old story. He is attempting to castigate America’s closest allies on the world stage by painting them as a gang of cruel robbers engaged in a conspiracy to “take advantage” of America, an assertion that is wildly ridiculous.

Equally absurd is his attempt to paint trade as a “competition”. It’s not a competition. Every economist (aside from Peter Navarro, apparently) understands that. Trump’s conceptualization of trade is so rudimentary that it would be laughed out of the room in a freshman level Econ class.

Additionally, when he says “they want to do well and we want to do well”, you should note that the surest way to realize an outcome where everyone “does well” is to promote globalization and free trade.

As BofAML put it in a note out last week in the context of Brexit, “globalization has created complicated supply chains, with countries specializing in areas of comparative advantage [so] splitting up is very much a negative-sum game”.

As ever, it’s entirely unclear whether Trump understands how absurd what he’s saying truly is, but what he implicitly suggests in the clip above is that the E.U. is no different than Russia. They are both “competitors”.

This comes just a day ahead of his meeting with Putin in Helsinki.

[Side note: the interview with CBS also contains some truly laughable clips of Trump discussing the Putin summit, one of which you can watch here]

6 comments on “Trump: The European Union Is A ‘Foe’ Of The United States

  1. I don’t know where all these European institutions came from but I’m sure it wasn’t America’s idea. In fact, it was probably a globalist plot against America.

    Once we can get rid of this pesky international law stuff, the stock markets will go to the Moon because everybody will be required to buy America’s stuff and America won’t have to buy any of theirs.

    MAGA.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Once all our trade partners are dealt with (or, in plainspeak, our government leaders have finally run out of time), there better be a gDp explosion like never seen before or there’s gonna be some hell to pay.

    The punchline here isn’t that the emperor has no clothes. The punchline is that we are all standing naked…and winter’s on its way…

  3. Error404 says:

    Have you ever considered the possibility that obnoxious as he seems to be in so many ways, Trump is in fact a lot smarter than he is given credit for? Perhaps he sees clearly that the neoliberal economic order is en route to destroying the nation-state, and that progress in this direction relies on the foundational underpinnings of a bunch of multilateral organizations. Billed as benign facilitators of a better world, they are in fact the vehicles used by a global elite – the Davos crowd – to capture for themselves the major part of the benefits flowing from globalisation (which, of course, is presented as having an almost Marxist historical inevitability and irreversibility about it).

    Perhaps Trump sees that to swing the pendulum away from the Davos crowd he has to dismantle the infrastructure they have imposed on the world over the last seven decades. This, of course, is very risky so he surrounds himself with billionaires, generals, and spooks who were they not inside the tent pissing out would be outside the tent pissing in (h/t LBJ). Inevitably, the Establishment has to find a way to fight back or face erosion of its privileges. Hence Russiagate.

    Perhaps.

    • PaulMiller says:

      Eror 404,
      I cannot imagine trump thinking along the intellectual and subtle lines of your eloquent post. He seems to me to be of the “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke” type of thinker.

    • So your thesis is that the Establishment ordered Russia to assist the Trump campaign so that in the event of a Trump victory, said Establishment could use said Russian involvement as a club against any future Trump presidency?

      I mean, it seems awfully convoluted, but you know those Establishmenters. They work in mysterious ways.

      I thought I saw an Establishmenter once out of the corner of my eye, but when I looked again, he was gone. Maybe he was never there. Is it true that you can only see them in the light of a full moon?

  4. Free Capital says:

    These actions are causing rifts among traditional long-standing allies in the West. This is serving Putin’s agenda of undermining the West. The question is: is that happening because Trump is just to dumb to know better? Or is it happening because Putin and the Russian state have evidence of money laundering for mobsters from Russia and other CIS states that, if turned over to US authorities, could send Trump to prison and they are using this to blackmail him to do their bidding, thus making him the agent of a hostile foreign power? We just don’t know YET. All that is plain is that something is VERY amiss with these actions and that they are simultaneously damaging to the West and beneficial to Russia, whether deliberately or out of stupidity. What worries me is that I honestly don’t think Trump is in fact this dumb. This is all very bad for US business interests and the sooner the Mueller investigation concludes and delivers its report to Congress the better.

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