A Year After: Trump and Transatlantic Relations in a Time of Risk
Almost a year into the Trump administration, uncertainty remains a hallmark of American foreign policy. Relations with Europe have yet to experience major change, but wider shifts in U.S. global engagement hold risks of their own for transatlantic relations.
America’s international policy has been strongly affected by the president’s tendency to project his distinct personality and Twitter based commentary onto a world stage where every word from Washington is parsed for meaning. It is a sharp departure from the recent norm. But it draws on a long tradition of leaders reaching over the heads of governments, and their own diplomats. Allowing for changes in technology — social media rather than telegrams — Lenin would have recognized the practice. The problem is that foreign policy pronouncements are uniquely capable of producing chaos, or worse, if misunderstood. Diplomats are there for a reason, and this administration has been notably slow to appoint them. Roughly a year into the administration there is still no American ambassador to the European Union in place.