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Looking West

The first two years of Donald Trump’s term as the 45th president of the United States have seriously damaged Europe’s confidence in the US as a partner, and put a strain on transatlantic relations. However, this review of American foreign policy under Trump, which takes a look at how Europe and the US are actually cooperating in five regions and five policy fields, reveals a differentiated picture with some rays of hope.

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Looking West

  • The Fast-Forward President

    How Donald Trump Accelerates Long-Term Trends

    Hopes that Western allies would be able to better assert themselves following US mid-term elections are unfounded; preparations for the current political position begun long ago. However, new agreements remain possible. Within the US, resistance to President Trump’s position is growing.

    by Paul Linnarz

  • The Fast-Forward President

    How Donald Trump Accelerates Long-Term Trends

    Hopes that Western allies would be able to better assert themselves following US mid-term elections are unfounded; preparations for the current political position begun long ago. However, new agreements remain possible. Within the US, resistance to President Trump’s position is growing.

    by Paul Linnarz

  • Disenchantment

    The European View of Transatlantic Relations

    The result of the US presidential elections in 2016 came as something of a surprise for political leaders in the EU. During the campaign, many of Europe’s heads of state and government and also the heads of EU institutions had made it clear to a greater or lesser extent that they backed Hillary Clinton to be the next US president.1 Now they had to adjust to an American president whose programme seemed to be a declaration of war against established European positions and interests in many respects.

    by Olaf Wientzek

  • Talking Much, Changing Little

    Relations with Russia in the Wake of Trump

    The inauguration of Trump has not led to a radical shift in the way the United States and its European partners conduct policy in the post-Soviet space. It is true that Trump’s rhetoric expresses a sense of rapprochement that at times borders on admiration for Moscow. Yet, driven by Congress and large parts of the cabinet, the US has a second policy towards Russia that continues to pursue the fundamental elements of its traditional foreign policy. Despite a few differences, continuity prevails.

    by Claudia Crawford, Philipp Dienstbier

  • Less Trump, More Europe!

    America’s Tilt Away from the Middle East Requires Stronger European Commitment

    US President Trump is continuing his country’s withdrawal from the entanglements of the Arab world, a withdrawal that was already initiated under Obama. In political arenas such as the Saudi-Iranian and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the Trump administration has gambled away its ability to serve as a mediator by virtue of its unilateral measures. Germany and Europe will therefore face more responsibility.

  • Much Ado About Nothing

    Trump’s Africa Policy and Its Consequences for Europe

    Donald Trump’s Africa policy is dominated by the “War on Terror”. This was also the case under Barack Obama. The essential difference lies in the rhetoric of the current incumbent, which is marked by ignorance and derogatory attitudes vis-à-vis the African continent.

    by Christoph Plate

  • Trump, China, and Europe

    What Remains of the “Pivot to Asia”

    Donald Trump’s presidency has brought numerous global changes, not least for the Indo-Pacific region. In addition to the confrontational trade policy that primarily affects China, other countries in the region have also faced numerous challenges in the past two years.

    by Rabea Brauer, Alexander Badenheim

  • More than Walls

    Latin America’s Role in the Triangle with the US and Europe

    If Germany and Europe turned their attention to Latin America, they could extend the transatlantic partnership by adding new partners and focussing on new issues without breaking ties with Washington. However, the countries of the region have differing views of Europe. Mexico is a special case in Latin America because of its close ties with the US, and the economic, political, and strategic interests that it shares with Europe. There is a need for Europe and the US to work together more closely in order to counterbalance China’s growing influence.

    by Hans-Hartwig Blomeier, Patricio Garca Girón, Christian E. Rieck

  • “America First”

    Transatlantic Relations in the Trump Era

    Contrary to all the isolationist noise Trump made during the campaign, America’s foreign policy continues to be one that is more focused on global involvement and is strongly unilateral in nature. Whereas the political culture and style as well as the forms of international relations, even with allies, have radically changed, the essential elements of Trump’s foreign and security policy tend to be in line with those of the two previous US presidents.

    by Benjamin Fricke, Nils Wörmer

  • A Transatlantic Relic?

    The Future of the WTO and Its Role in the Transatlantic Economic Relations

    The ­WTO must adapt to the changes in global trade and investment flows – otherwise its role will be diminished in the future. Europe and the US must resolve their differences and put their weight behind urgently needed reform measures. Because the alternative to the ­WTO-based global trade order is global trade disorder – and that cannot be desirable on either side of the Atlantic.

    by David Gregosz, Stephen Woolcock

  • Between Innovation and Regulation

    The Necessity of Transatlantic Cooperation in the Digital Sphere

    The digital revolution is already increasingly impacting business and our daily lives, and fuels an accelerating process of transformation in Western societies. Due to its power to drive innovation, many people believe that shaping this digital transformation is not only an urgent endeavour, but perhaps the endeavour of our time. The digital revolution is a global process that does not stop at national borders, so configuring its future requires cross-border responses. This article looks at the role that the transatlantic alliance can and should play in this endeavour.

  • America Alone

    Transatlantic Challenges with Regard to Climate Change and Energy Policy

    The Trump administration’s announcement in June 2017 that it was pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement was one of its first specific decisions that dealt a blow to transatlantic relations. For Donald Trump, preventing climate change is often synonymous with job cuts and over-regulation. The US president’s anti-environment policy has a negative impact upon transatlantic relations, in terms of foreign policy, and possibly also as regards economic matters. The good news is that despite the attitude of the US administration, there are still many stakeholders in the US who are committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement, so avenues remain open for international cooperation.

    by Céline-Agathe Caro

  • Dasher of the Liberal World Order?

    Trump’s Unilateralism and Its Implications

    With Trump’s entry into the White House and the US’s gradual withdrawal from the multilateral context of the United Nations, the zero-sum game in international relations seems to have become acceptable again. This entails an increased threat of violent conflicts breaking out. The value-based world order is eroding and the US’s retreat into foreign, security, and development policies geared purely to national interests is finding its imitators.

    by Andrea Ellen Ostheimer

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International Reports (IR) is the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's periodical on international politics. It offers political analyses by our experts in Berlin and from more than 100 offices across all regions of the world. Contributions by named authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial team.

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Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication +49 30 26996 3584

Dr. Sören Soika


Editor-in-Chief International Reports (Ai) +49 30 26996 3388