2. Shaping Europe’s role in the world
- Tomáš ValášekDirector of Carnegie Europe
U.S. President Donald Trump did not just part ways with Europe on climate change; he also painted the continent as the source of America’s problems. That will reverberate far beyond climate change. In fact, given that 37 U.S. states with 80 percent of America’s population have adopted some form of renewable standards, the impact on the environment could be dwarfed by the collateral damage on U.S. standing in the world.
Expect anti-Americanism in Europe to bloom. I fear overreaction on the European side. The United States will find it far more difficult from now on to secure more troops for Afghanistan or more money for defense.
That is bound to weaken both sides eventually. But grandstanding to the United States, even if self-defeating, will become politically too attractive for many to resist.
The task before European governments and institutions now is to distinguish between those issues—such as the deterrence of Russia—where U.S. assistance remains essential and those—such as climate change—where the United States has become a hindrance. European leaders will need to build alternative coalitions to advance issues in the latter basket, and take the risk with their own voters to seek transatlantic solutions to the former. This is going to be difficult.
- Pierre VimontSenior fellow at Carnegie Europe
From the French viewpoint, yesterday’s wake-up call is welcome. It all boils down to a simple conclusion: German Chancellor Angela Merkel was right, and French President Emmanuel Macron, by being too confident in his ability to make U.S. President Donald Trump change his mind, was not. But the new young French president is a quick learner. He sees all too well now that Europeans cannot expect much serious or constructive leadership from the Trump administration.
That means Europe has no choice but to take its future into its own hands. Waiting for Washington’s decisions does not make much sense as long as Trump sticks to his domestic priorities. This new reality opens the door to deeper relationships with nations Europe was hesitant to engage too quickly, like China, India, or even Russia. And these enhanced partnerships will encompass a broad scope of areas from trade and investment to security, migration, and, naturally, climate change.
As Macron hinted in his statement yesterday, Trump’s move will also stir a new type of relationship with the United States, based on revived networking with representatives from across civil society. In the end, this could well be the best way of rekindling U.S. leadership.
- Maha YahyaDirector of the Carnegie Middle East Center
U.S. President Donald Trump may have pulled out of the Paris climate deal under the pretext of protecting U.S. workers, but he has sold out the future prosperity of their children in the process. Perhaps CNN best captured the moment with the headline “Trump to planet: Drop dead.”
To Trump, the world is not a community of nations but a collection of colliding interests, and U.S. leadership is not an opportunity but a burden. In withdrawing from the pact, he not only displays complete irresponsibility for the world but is also ceding America’s economic advantages in clean energy.
That undermines the United States’ geopolitical standing as a world leader and opens the door for China and others to step up to the role. Withdrawal from the deal has augmented the sense of global uncertainty and transformed the United States from a world leader into an unpredictable force of instability.
This action may be viewed as an invitation for other countries to follow suit. For Middle Eastern oil-rich countries whose economies depend on fossil fuels, withdrawal from a binding agreement to use cleaner and more costly technologies is welcome news. Trump’s move also places voluntary agendas such as the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and their funding mechanisms at great risk.