In an interview with Die Zeit, Donald Tusk told the unnerving truth about a man who shares his initials.
“For the first time in history, there is an American president who is openly against a united Europe”, Tusk said. “[Donald Trump] supports Brexit and prays for the breakup of the Union”.
This is not “news”, per se, but these are the kind of reminders the world needs on a regular basis, lest everyone should become so numb to the abject insanity, that the reality of the situation ceases to cause alarm.
Tusk – who is on the verge of wrapping up his five-year mandate as European Council president – characterized Trump as “perhaps the most difficult challenge” for the EU going forward.
The US president, you’re reminded, has variously assailed NATO and at one point called Europe a “foe” of the United States. Starting early in 2018, he appeared to accelerate his efforts to undermine a variety of multilateral institutions. That push manifested itself in a famously contentious G-7 meeting in Canada and allusions he made in Brussels to pulling the US out of NATO, a suggestion so wild that it reportedly prompted a “damage control” push by the Pentagon.
Angela Merkel on Wednesday reiterated how important NATO really is ahead of a pseudo-summit in London next month marking the alliance’s 70th anniversary.
“The preservation of NATO is in our very own interest today, more strongly than during the Cold War – or at least as strongly as during the Cold War”, she said, in the course of promising to raise Germany’s spending on defense. “Europe cannot defend itself alone at the moment; we rely on this trans-Atlantic alliance”.
She was responding to sharp criticism from her ally in Paris. Earlier this month, Emmanuel Macron called NATO “brain dead” following the debacle in Syria, where Turkey was allowed (by Trump) to launch a cross-border incursion that resulted in war crimes, hundreds of deaths and the displacement of nearly a quarter million people.
“I understand your desire for disruptive politics”, Merkel told Macron at a dinner to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. “But I’m tired of picking up the pieces. Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so that we can then sit down and have a cup of tea together”. “I cannot sit there and act like nothing has happened”, Macron responded.
This is all very remarkable – that the occupant of the Oval Office is the biggest threat (because Tusks’s use of “challenge” is just a euphemism for “threat” in this case) to the future of America’s traditional allies across the pond – not the Kremlin, but the White House.
And there’s a connection there, of course. Trump’s adversarial stance towards the EU (and especially NATO) and the policy decisions which emanate from that stance seem to advance Moscow’s interests at nearly every turn.
Apologists for Trump (and Kremlin-sponsored web portals) will note that it may well be just a “happy” coincidence that the US president’s nationalistic agenda includes policy leans that advance Russian interests in Europe.
Coincidence or no, it’s bad news.
Unless you’re of the mind that Russia’s agenda is worth pushing, in which case you’re entitled to your opinion. Assuming it’s an informed opinion, and you’re not just falling hook, line and sinker for propaganda.