The multi-polarisation of the planet is currently going through a bipolarisation phase, something we anticipated in 2009, if Europe could not reposition itself intelligently, taking clear account of the great global geopolitical reconfiguration.
Having dealt with the Middle East (without success, so far, since Iran has not yet yielded – but it’s only in November that the sanctions will be applied), Donald Trump’s United States began to make a serious effort to rebuild the transatlantic relationship it needs to secure its economic recovery and attempt to maintain its dominance in the face of China’s growing influence.
With his famous ‘trade war’, D. Trump has indeed effected this bipolarisation between two worlds, Chinese and American: on the one hand, the countries/regions reorienting their markets towards China; on the other, those who prefer closing ranks around Washington rather than losing the American market, especially when the US economy reboots.
As far as Europe is concerned, our team has never doubted that if a choice were imposed on it, it would start by returning to its old habits, rather than jumping into an Eastern adventure. It is this choice precisely into which Trump is currently forcing Europe and a new framework for the transatlantic relationship is about to emerge. In this GEAB issue, we’ll be exploring some strong features that are already apparent. We shall also analyse the political process by which Trump’s America intends to achieve its goals; a process which will be a decisive factor in the series of transformations that the EU is about to witness. Meanwhile, the 2019 European elections are still, in our opinion, a tipping point for the aforementioned developments.
A US takeover bid on Europe?
Here are three items of news that indicate a hardening of the United States’ European policy:
This kind of news confirms the scenario we articulated just after the election of D. Trump. Contrary to all the conjectures of the time on the inevitable European distance of the United States with such a president at their head, we warned of the risk of the emergence of a ‘transatlantic Union’ to replace the European Union. Given some recent developments, and with the coming European election, it is time to take stock of this anticipation.
Starting point: The New NAFTA
As everyone knows, Trump uses some negotiation techniques drawn from the ‘game theory,’ a theory that basically boils down to a ‘madman’ strategy. But what exactly is he looking for?  Mr. Trump wants to reorganise global trade in a way that better serves his country’s interests and thereby better integrates national sovereignties in general. He has discredited the major trading arenas (G7, WTO, etc) and has invited the whole planet to his table: Mexico, Canada, Europe, China … As a result of this course of action, this summer, Mexico declares to be in favour of a new NAFTA agreement, in which Canada is certainly reluctant to participate, but will undoubtedly end up agreeing to. The stumbling blocks are as follows:
These clauses, the same as those that mobilised anti-CETA and anti-TTIP activists on both sides of the Atlantic, were dismissed at Trump’s request and after a swift assent by the new Mexican president. Canada, on the other hand, has announced that its lobbies will block the signing of any agreement not incorporating those clauses… Difficult to guess the compromise that Mexico, United States and Canada will find on this topic, but they will find one most certainly. And we bet that the model they’ll come up with will serve the great transatlantic agreement.
Figure 1 – Trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Source: Seeking Alpha.
The United States is thus already on the verge of quickly reuniting a North America whose cohesion was seriously disintegrating, especially following the recent signing of the Canada-Europe agreement, so-called CETA, which has reduced the US influence on its northern neighbour since it was adopted by the European Parliament in February 2017.
When Trump talks about a rebalancing of global trade relations in favour of the USA, we have to pay attention to him. If Europe has been able to develop its market and its infrastructure for several decades, it is also because it has had no need – or very little – to invest in its defence. Similarly, Europe’s dependence on the US financial system has also given it inexpensive access to powerful tools of international influence… The European alienation to transatlanticism, which we often denounce by the way (because it is a strategy of short-sightedness and low-income), can also be explained by the facility it provided for European economic interests. But this influence of the United States on Europe ended up costing the former, impoverishing it by the permanent bleeding of its dollars to the rest of the world – and particularly Europe. To the point that the influencing often tended to be reversed between the two shores in certain fields: Buyouts of major US companies by Europeans, preferential trade agreements between Europe and Canada, imposition of a “de facto protectionist” European regulation system and so on. Within the next transatlantic plan Trump is preparing for us, it is likely that the Europeans will no longer be able to use the United States as volunteer peacekeepers and cash machines.
Of course, this presentation of the old transatlantic relationship is something of a caricature, but it is important to understand how Europe is perceived by part of the US establishment, and why things are going to change fast.
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