Two Possible Futures An outlook on EU-US relations
Things will not go back to the way they were before 2016. Regardless of how one thinks Donald Trump handled the relationship with Europe and with Germany in particular, he was right that something was fundamentally off. The fundamental reason for this is not personality but power, economic growth, and structure.
China’s rise – and especially its behaviour in recent years – has buried the notion that geopolitics was a thing of the past. In the United States, this realization dawned a few years ago and has now increasingly come to be accepted – belatedly, for sure, but definitively. This is leading to a re-examination of every facet of US foreign and domestic policy.
This must include US relations with Europe. US policy toward the continent will need to be shaped by the overall demands of dealing with China. Asia is the world’s largest market, and China its most plausible aspiring regional hegemon. Accordingly, preventing China from dominating Asia will be the top priority for Washington. US policy towards Europe will necessarily have to follow from how Europe fits into that framework.