Around the World, Readers React to Shifting U.S. Alliances
Posted July 21, 2018 2:40 p.m. EDT
Readers around the world largely denounced President Donald Trump’s behavior during his recent European tour. Many have accused Trump of diplomatic malpractice, speculating about his meetings with foreign leaders and raising concerns about the United States’ relationships with its allies.
Here are some of the reactions from our international readers as Trump’s trip unfolded. These responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.
America ‘Won’t Have a Better Ally’ Than NATO
I am really pessimistic about the future of NATO, let alone a “united West” that shares values and interests. It’s pretty obvious that Trump does everything he can to destabilize the European Union — from the outside and from within by supporting people like Viktor Orban. He offered Macron a trade deal if he leaves the EU? He praises the Brexiteers? He tries to blackmail us? The starts of a trade war based on false claims? Seriously? What else should we Europeans tolerate? What more evidence do we need that he is not an ally? — Mark B., Berlin
One of the reasons Europe spends less on arms is their generous expenditure on national health. Copying that would really make America great. — Paul, Australia
I think that Trump wants to demonstrate to every person on Earth that he can govern successfully by lying and trying to force other nations to do what he wants them to do. He wants to be different from his predecessors, but in doing this he has just created chaos all over the world, easing the rise of populism in Europe. He has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, from the Iran nuclear deal, and now is threatening to withdraw also from NATO. If we want to stop populism, we heavily need the United States to lead all the democratic world against this threat, because otherwise the game is already lost. — Marco Ghilotta, Italy
Balloons and Brouhaha in Britain
No wonder The Sun got the interview with Trump, because it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch. The tabloid is a fierce euroskeptic and urged its readers to vote for Brexit. That Trump heaped praise on Boris Johnson, saying he would make a “great” prime minister, sounded like a death knell for Theresa May. Now he makes himself even more unpopular in Britain. But Trump has once again scored points with Putin — to sow discord within the EU and create uncertainty in Britain. — J. Von Hettlingen, Switzerland
In the U.K., we tend to do things a bit differently from Uncle Sam. There will be leftist millennials deciding to wave banners around screaming “Down with Trump” and most of these will be in leftist London or university cities, but the real British people that actually support Trump will do as always and sit at home following Trump on the news programs, agreeing with him and then chatting at work on the Trump visit. The M.S.M. part of the British media will promote everything that the protesters say, but that’s because they are left-leaning, and please remember America, this isn’t the whole of U.K. portraying these views, a lot of the U.K. do support Trump entirely. — Britbazza2, England
I am an 84-year-old woman in England. I have not witnessed any belief or trust in the president’s attitude, apart from those who might seek some advantage for themselves in proclaiming their solidarity. I haven’t seen this hopeful self-deception since Neville Chamberlain’s return from Germany with his “peace in our time” document. That was a frightening time, as is this, but eventually we lived through it. Possibly we shall eventually muddle our way through this, too, somehow. — ETL., U.K.
‘Stable Genius’ Questions U.S. Intelligence
It would be great if this necessary investigation on foreign interference in U.S. elections, whose freedom was “hard fought,” was accompanied by a comparatively detailed historical investigation of the U.S. interference in elections of so many other countries — totally dismissing other countries’ democratic freedom. I think this should be an integral part of this discourse. — George T., Vienna
It’s not winter (yet), but could this be the proverbial snowball that becomes the so-desperately-needed avalanche? — Francis, Switzerland
This is a total shame. The president of the USA is showing how weak he is. Traditional allies are not allies any more. Empowering enemies is the new American strategy. Russia is strong and ready for becoming what the USSR once was and Europe is divided and under threat. This is the result of electing a president who doesn’t know about history, democracy, liberty, humanity and transparency. Wake up American people! Make America a respectful country again! — Luis, Portugal
Putin Meeting Stirs Controversy
Is not the principle job of the American president to protect American citizens and American interests and to defend the Constitution? Is that anyone’s interpretation of what just happened in Europe? Or maybe I just missed an amendment to the Constitution wherein the interest of Vladimir Putin and his merry band of oligarchs comes first. — Kevo, Sweden
I agree with our president that there is absolutely no collusion. On the other hand, there was probably collusion. — David U’Prichard, Greece
What I find astonishing is that the most powerful country in the world has allowed itself to be in the position where a real estate salesman and reality TV star, with absolutely no diplomatic negotiating skills or experience, who thinks he doesn’t need to read briefing memos or listen to expert advice, is meeting a man who spent 20 years working as an intelligence agent and then another 18 as a successful and all-powerful leader. If that isn’t a recipe for disaster then what is? — RHR, France
Donald Trump may be A problem, but he is not THE problem. The real problem is that half of U.S. voters went along with Trump, knowing exactly what kind of clown they were voting for — and that the whole of the GOP is still going along with Trump, in spite of every lie, perverse act, or treachery. You can remove Trump, but you cannot remove that half of U.S. voters who still back Trump nor the Republican Party, who are betraying their country along with Trump, by assuaging everything Trump does, whatever he says and permitting his actions. — Michel Couxijn, Amsterdam
Given that Trump is really just a logical consequence of many long-standing, deep-rooted problems in the U.S. centering on education, worldliness, racism, bigotry, unfettered predatory capitalism, gerrymandering and the Electoral College — all now enhanced by social media — there is no logical reason for assuming that the U.S. will in the future become a stable and reliable partner. — Robert Sanders, Japan
New partnerships are going to be formed all over the world. Those who imagine they can simply dial back the good old days after Trump the Destroyer has finished the job of making America hated again, may be sorely mistaken. We are moving on and may never want to come back.
The next chapter of commerce on this planet will have a more modest and sustainable cast. Economies largely based on consumerism, as in America, or speculation, as in China, will find themselves struggling to find traction with those that function just fine with less.
America cannot be made great again in the manner Trump and those who will not stand up to him imagine. We are giving notice we will not be bought, or bullied, or insulted into enabling their outdated agenda.
History will record that the Trump presidency presaged the decline of the American Empire as we have come to know it. Whether or not America succeeds in joining the rest of us as a decent and less self-serving partner remains to be seen. — Memi von Gaza, Canada