By Robert Andersson
The new President of the United States, Joe Biden, has quite a different image than his
predecessor. John Kerry, the climate secretary, was recently on a visit to Europe to discuss
the Paris agreement, but also to mark the old but new stance that the U.S. has towards
Europe. Friendship and alliance are the tradition to continue. This stance provides a much-
needed break from the four years of its opposite. Donald Trump did not spare his time as
President to verbally attack both friend and foe. Although, his twittering was not the biggest
problem from the perspective of the European Union. On several occasions, Trump
threatened to reduce the importance of NATO and the number of troops in Europe. One of
his demands was that European states, and especially Germany, increased their contribution
to the military forces. The four years of Trump held Europe on its toes, and now the Union
can take a breath. But maybe that breath will be shorter than many realize. As the second
impeachment proved unsuccessful Trump has the chance of returning to the White House in
the next election. And his supporters, who already have proven ready to put him back in
power with all means possible, do not show any sign of reducing in numbers. So, what does
it take for Europe to be ready should Trump make a comeback?
First of all, European states have not invested in the level of security that they want to have,
which entails why they still remain in need of American reinforcements. For example, even
neutral Sweden hold exercises to prepare for arrival of foreign support, and Swedish
Supreme Commanders have stated that the defence would not hold very well without it.
When the Soviet Union collapsed and the immediate threat vanished, this was not a problem.
However, with Russia, China and Iran proclaiming an increasing hostility toward the West,
the threat has returned. Maybe not for large military campaigns, but for covert, cyber and
propaganda operations in destabilization campaigns.
Europe is one of the richest and most developed regions in the world, continually being
ahead in technology, democracy and human rights, so it should afford its own security. With
increased military capabilities both American and European forces could also have the ability
to actually conclude foreign interventions in the name of human rights, such as the mainly
French effort to steer of jihadists in the Sahel. However, investments in security are not
enough. No European state is large enough to compete on the global stage, rather they are
all too small to afford being nationalistic. Cooperation is the key to deal with covert, cyber
and propaganda operations, and just as in the economic sector, security cooperation can
bind together the once warring continent.
European states cannot move to the U.S. or take vacation from the behaviour of
superpowers and harassers. Our future is European, whether we like it or not. So, it’s time to
take the initiative of our own future. Investments and cooperation in the security sector must
be arranged and deepened, but before that can be implemented, leadership and reform of
the European Union is necessary. As of now, only the very politically interested care about
the debates in the chambers of Brussels or Strasbourg. The whole institution is perceived as
an impenetrable labyrinth of bureaucracy and costs. The European citizens are left out. By
reforming the institution, making it effective and enhancing more influence directly to the
people of Europe, it can become more respected by the people, and so can its leaders.
Reform, leadership, investments and cooperation is thus the medication that Europe needs
to prescribe to itself during the four years of breath to come. With this successful treatment,
Europe may be ready, would the twittering Trump come back again.
Illustration: Aina Olsson
Robert Andersson is a romanticist who spent three days climbing the Alps to find a flower that turned out to be ugly. He returned from his adventure to study Peace and Conflict combined with History. He has three dreams: to contribute something positive to society, to feel the real wild nature and to end up in a little farm cottage, writing poems to whoever needs a little fairytale.