China responded to Trump’s threats to raise tariffs to $500 billion, stating the U.S. is not needed. The E.U. responded to Trump’s criticism by boosting its unification to move forward without the U.S.
Attacking Friends and Allies
“The times in which we could rely fully on others – they are somewhat over,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel following U.S. President Donald Trump’s tour of the European Union.
Trump managed to attack and insult a swath of the longest standing friends and allies of the United States throughout his tour.
He broadsided NATO, enraged the Germans by involving himself in their politics, then the British by speaking out against them to their press while he was a guest in their country, failed to meet many of the basic courtesies to the Queen, referred to the E.U.as one of the United States’ “biggest foes,” then traveled to Helsinki, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin and insulted the United States and its intelligence agencies – though he briefly apologized for that last action the next day when he claims he’d misspoken.
He also attempted to clarify the word “foes” by saying that he meant “competitors” when he’d said it. This, despite the fact that he agreed-upon word until now had been “partners.”
This all occurred just before he threatened to increase import tariffs on all $500 billion in products from China, The latest step in an ongoing dispute.
Reducing American Ties
Trump’s actions have set countries around the world to begin building trade, security, environmental and foreign policies that greatly reduce or even exclude the United States altogether.
“This seems to be the end of an era, one in which the US led and Europe followed,” said former U.S. envoy to NATO, Ivo Daalder. “Today, the US is heading into a direction on key issues that seems diametrically opposite of where Europe is heading. Merkel’s comments are an acknowledgment of that new reality.”
States have started aligning with Trump’s recommendations that they pour more money into their defense budgets. That said, it is not being done for the reasons Trump laid out. Instead, countries are increasing their defense budgets as a precaution in case the United States should no longer prove to be the reliable ally it once was.
Trade Deals Signed Without the United States
While Trump continues to lay down more import tariffs, many of the other world powers are signing trade agreements. Trump has threatened China with tariffs affecting everything imported into the United States. China has fired back with a statement that it does not need the United States.
Equally, the European Union has just signed on to the largest free trade deal in its history. In Tokyo, it signed on for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a trade pact among 12 Pacific Rim countries. Though the United States had been aligned to take part, Trump withdrew. Now, the deal has been recreated without the United States, and the E.U.-Japan agreement is ready to move ahead.
The E.U. also signed an important cooperation agreement with China, which specifically spoke to a defense of global free trade multilateralism, using a foundation of the World Trade Organization’s rules.
While the United States places more distance between itself and all its trading partners, the E.U., China, and many other countries around the world are looking to make deals with each other and to move on without the U.S.