There is an urgent need to forge an alliance again. We need to do so because our ties are too old, too deep and too necessary for both the United States and for Europe to let them fray even more. It is necessary, because there are so many fires smouldering around the world that they force us to act together lest they spread everywhere.
It is necessary, because the rule of law, the Enlightenment and the international consensus are openly contested by an ever-increasing number of states and political movements. It is necessary, because the European Union is still far from being able to do without the protection of the United States. In a word, it is necessary for the stability of the world, for upholding democracy and our own security as Europeans, but is there still time to do so, and how?
If Donald Trump were to be re-elected in November, the answer would be all too clear. There would be a poor chance of strengthening our links, because his ambition would remain to bend the Union and certainly not to recognise it as a partner to be treated as an equal to the United States. There would even be a strong possibility that he might end up getting along with China, Russia, or both, at the expense of Europeans, with those dictatorships to which he is culturally closer than to the democracies of the old world. A second Trump mandate would do such damage to transatlantic relations that we would have no choice but to switch to the fifth gear on the road to common Defence, but defeat for the Democrats is, fortunately, by no means certain.
Since the incompetence that the outgoing President showed in the face of the pandemic, and the awakening, through the assassination of George Floyd, of the immense capacity of Americans for compassion, Joe Biden has a real chance of entering the White House. Around him, a new America would then take the lead, driven by a desire for fairness both inside and outside the country, carried by the universalist breath of the current demonstrations and eager to pick up the pieces with the Europeans so that it can carry weight and act with us, and not alone.
From Ankara to Beijing, Moscow or Tehran, many situations could thus change as of next winter. Thanks to the unrivalled and formidable power that Americans and Europeans represent together, a new page could soon be opened for the world, but we must prepare this historic opportunity by reminding the Democrats of five obvious facts without which we will get nowhere.
The first is that we understand perfectly well that the United States no longer wants to be the world’s policeman and no longer feels it has to finance our Defence for us. This is only logical, but if America wants to withdraw from Europe and the Middle East in order to devote itself better to the Chinese challenge, it must no longer stand in the way of the creation of a European Defence and the transformation of the Atlantic Alliance into an alliance between two equal powers, American and European. Not only must the new America be open to this development, but it must also convince the European capitals closest to Washington that this is the only way to ensure the continuation and deepening of transatlantic ties.
The second of these five obvious things is that we must work together to stabilise relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union, because we have a common interest in ensuring that China and Russia do not form a bloc and that Russia stops its destabilising campaigns in Europe. The Atlantic Alliance, including the United States, with the US in the lead, must therefore propose a trade to Moscow: in exchange for a guarantee that the NATO will not extend to Russia’s borders, a guarantee of respect for the new European borders, for the independence and political sovereignty of the states that emerged from the break-up of the Soviet Union.
The third obvious thing to remind the new America is that the Democracies cannot defend and promote the rule of law and international consultation if America does not commit itself to respect international treaties, human rights, international justice, and its own signature within its own borders, and everywhere else.
The fourth: together, using a common language, we must make China understand that its rebirth obliges it to respect, on the one hand, the stability of Asia, the autonomy of Hong Kong and the independence of Taiwan and, on the other, the environmental, social and monetary standards guaranteeing fair trade.
As for the fifth obvious point to remind the new America: the United States cannot be less willing than Europe to fight global warming and less ready to impose this imperative in its trade relations. Five evidences, five months: we must start calling Joe Biden today.