Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden has triggered a huge wave of relief among the United States’ European allies

Joe Biden

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There was a huge collective sigh of relief in Berlin when it became clear that Joe Biden had beaten Donald Trump in the presidential election earlier this month.

“People were so relieved that Biden won because there was not really a plan B in case Trump won,” said Jana Puglierin, head of the Berlin office for the European Council on Foreign Relations. “I cannot think of anybody who was not relieved in political Berlin.”

There is a widespread consensus in European capitals that the Democratic challenger’s victory will be a good thing for the transatlantic relationship, and the prospect of a president in the White House who supports rather than attacks multilateral institutions like NATO and the EU is a welcome one.

Nonetheless, there is also a recognition that Biden’s presidency will not return to that of the Obama years, or those before. The sheer force of Trump’s legacy has accelerated slow-moving trends in the transatlantic relationship, which means that relations will likely never be the same again.

Firstly, there is the issue that Trump secured more votes in 2016 than he did in 2020. In Germany, where the US president is deeply unpopular and widely disliked, it was a sign that Biden’s presidency had not fixed the underlying surge of populism that saw him installed in the White House in the first place.

“This is all taken with a bit of a grain of salt,” said Puglierin, “because many people think Biden is a president of transition — that he won’t do a second term, and that the election of Donald Trump and this election has shown that another Trump figure — or Trump again — can win in four years.”

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“This victory was not clear enough to really calm the Germans down.”

Then there is the thorny issue of NATO. President Trump made a habit of attacking Germany for failing to spend 2% of its annual GDP on defense, as required by the military alliance. While Biden seems unlikely to emphasize this as his predecessor, it seems equally clear that the US will nevertheless continue to pressure Germany on its defense spending under a new administration.

German’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said that he expected US pressure over Germany’s defense spending to continue under Biden.

“It’s very difficult for any administration now to walk back to a more relaxed approach,” Dalibor Rohac, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told Business Insider.

Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017

…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017

Then there is the issue of trade. Antony Blinken, Biden’s chief foreign policy adviser, has promised to end what he calls the “artificial trade war” Trump started between the US and the EU. But that …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics


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