The political environment in the European Union is not far from that of the US right now. Elections across Europe are promising to show us the widest support for populist, extremist, and Trump-like movements (these are three different things by the way) that the continent hasn’t seen in a very long time.
As if that was not enough, the first divorce for the organisation following the Brexit vote is definitely not settled yet.
Meanwhile, Europe’s chaperone since WW2, the United States of America, are losing credibility by the second as their leader makes headlines about his cable news watching and tweeting habits more often than his policies do. And even when his presidential actions are featured in what he has labelled as ‘fake news’ media, they are usually deep-fried in controversy.
Sounds like the perfect match, right? Well, no.
Just after Donald J Trump took office in January, European Council president Donald Tusk declared him a threat to the EU, highlighting the new Commander-in- Chief’s random statements of aggression towards some of the most controversial actors in international relations right now, including China and Russia.
Of course, while he mostly links the former with sharp blast of hatred, the latter seems to mostly be looked at favourably – as the US President seems to really like strong men constantly expressing admiration for Vladimir Putin. But let’s not go into that now.
While Tusk’s comments could be seen as burning bridges, and while other leaders seem to want to cover ideological and what are, basically, moral differences for the sake of common interests – yes, I mean Theresa May – Trump has not exactly tried to keep the Union by his side.
He loves Brexit. Like most things Trump loves, Brexit is great, and Nigel Farage is too. In fact, he got one of the coveted Trump Tower meetings – alongside Kanye West – during the transition period between US administrations. And yes, Theresa May went to the White House, but Nigel was still first to have Trump’s ear.
And then there is the man tipped to be US ambassador to the EU, Ted Malloch.
Mr Malloch recently recalled the last time he had moved to Brussels and said to the BBC: “I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union. So maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming.”
While senior members of the EU have urged member states to block the likely nominee, in an unprecedented and hostile move, even Trumps thought to send a person with such views as a nominee to Brussels is not really an act of friendship.
Oh, and I almost forgot about NATO – NATO has been Europe’s safety blanket for decades. Trump’s comments on the US being ripped off, in terms of contributions to the organisation, by many members, are again a red hot alarm for the Brussels group.
Though what will happen is yet to be seen, it is safe to say that we are off to a strong start. Even when Trump’s environment tries to reassure the EU of his positive sentiments towards them, neither of them likes each other, and the consequences will definitely be part of international politics sooner rather than later.
I guess, in the end, it all comes down to a question that many ask when thinking about many different things: Will Trump ever grow up? Or, at least, will he ever be kicked out of the White House?