One Big Thing: Do you think the U.S. needs to strengthen the Euro/Trans-Atlantic relationship?
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What is it?
- Protests sprung up throughout Europe in response to the death of George Floyd and the #BlackLivesMovement. They were solidarity protests and at the same time a reckoning of racial and injustice in European countries.
- The European protests also showed how Europeans still put the United States on a pedestal, holding the U.S. to a higher standard. It also showed that the U.S. still matters throughout the continent.
- On Friday, June 5, the Pentagon unexpectedly announced that the Trump Administration will be removing 9,500 troops from Germany, causing concern over the already weakened security relationship between the NATO members.
- The current administration has been highly critical of NATO, frequently complaining that other member states have not met the required defense spending levels. NATO requires that member states spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense and Germany is projected to meet that mark in 2031.
- Positive opinions about the United States continue to decline throughout most of Western Europe and at the same time, Europeans are looking at China more favorably. These opinions have been on the decline for several years but have been exacerbated by COVID-19 responses by the United States versus China.
- The NATO alliance has been seen as one of the most important relationships in modern history.
- Historically, the relationship between the United States and Europe has been built upon the principles of liberal democracy and economic cooperation. Since, the relationship has evolved into a strong, multifaceted partnership which includes collaboration on political issues, foreign policy, human rights and defense responsibilities.
- More recently, the transatlantic relationship has worsened as the U.S. has clashed with its European partners including notable issues including tariffs, defense spending, and the unilateral U.S. withdrawals from the Paris climate accords and the nuclear deal with Iran.
- The United States’ disengagement from the transatlantic partnership has caused concerns in Europe that Russia or China could step into fill the void. This would significantly weaken the U.S. influence in Europe and around the world.
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