To that end, the EU ought to develop its own vision of where it wants to be in the next 15 to 20 years, and what measures it must take to preserve the integrity of the European alliance. The door will remain open for America’s leadership under a sane and principled president who understands the far-reaching values of the alliance.
This time, however, the EU should build the political and defense mechanism with all that implies to stand on its own as Germany’s Chancellor Merkel has recently stated, and accordingly develop a strategy that will lead it to the realization of such a vision in stages. The EU should obviously be prepared to take any corrective measure and rise to any challenge that may emerge.
Sadly, regardless of how long Trump may last, he has already caused incalculable damage to the Western alliance. The fact is, there is a constituency that blindly supports such a misguided leader, which will undoubtedly outlast him and continue to impact American foreign and domestic policy.
As such, the EU cannot rule out potential American policies skewed in favor of “America first” that the Republicans will continue to embrace if they want to remain in power. To counter that, the EU needs, for obvious reasons, to continue to fully adhere to any agreements and treaties agreed upon, in defiance of Trump. The Paris Agreement on climate change and the Iran deal provide good examples.
Independently from the US, the EU ought to strengthen its military capability and acquire credible deterrence against Russia. As such, the EU must remain the most potent military force in Europe within NATO’s framework and allocate all necessary funding to that end.
In this regard, the EU should reassess Turkey’s reliability and trustworthiness as a member in the Organization and must not rule out kicking Turkey out as long as Ankara defies the NATO charter by its gross human rights violations and its cozying up to Europe’s foremost nemesis—Russia.
The EU must also consolidate its institutions by reforming its constitution, particularly the decision-making process to enact timely and more effective policies. This is very important, especially now that it faces turmoil related to Brexit and internal political discord. Furthermore, it must develop a permanent financial structure that address the needs of member states experiencing financial difficulties such as Greece.
The EU should freeze further expansion of its member states until such time when it has realized much of its reforms. Meanwhile, the EU ought to develop and nurture relations with all potential candidates for membership, particularly the Balkan countries, to stifle the ambitions of Turkey’s Erdogan from luring these states into his Islamic orbit.
The EU needs also to focus on conflict resolution, especially in the Middle East and Africa, that have a direct and indirect impact on Europe. The EU has direct strategic and security interests to play an active role in the search for a solution to the conflicts in Libya (a byproduct of the European role in toppling Gaddafi) and Yemen and should certainly make continuing efforts to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however illusive that may seem.
The EU ought to change the nature of the relationship with Africa not simply from donor to recipient but play a direct role in in the growth of underdeveloped African countries—not only because it has a moral obligation resulting from colonialism, but because such efforts serve the EU’s own security interests.
A substantial part of the EU’s extensive financial contribution to the African Union (over $3 billion since 2004) should be devoted to sustainable development projects to provide job opportunities and empower local communities. This is the most effective way of addressing the root causes of violent extremism and migration, from which the EU suffers greatly.
Trump has become a marionette manipulated by a master puppeteer, Putin. He can no longer be trusted to serve either America’s or our allies’ interests. To be sure, Trump will face the judgment of the American electorate, hopefully sooner rather than later, and the historically indispensable alliance with our European partners will be restored.
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for