US election battle: a blueprint for Europe?
After Donald Trump falsely declared himself victorious on Wednesday, he received congratulations from Europe by Slovenia's far-right Premier Janez Janša. Commentators discuss whether Trump's breach of law could serve as inspiration to others in Europe and what the defeat or victory of Trumpism means for EU security policy.
We are not immune
It would be naive to believe that what has happened in the US could never happen on this side of the Atlantic, warns Christoph Schwennicke, editor-in-chief of Cicero:
“There is no sign of a figure like Trump here in Europe. But there are people who take him as a role model. Nigel Farage, the British ex-Ukip boss and close buddy of Trump, for example. Yesterday it was Ukip and Brexit, today he's founded an anti-lockdown party. ... And when you see people like [German AfD MP] Beatrix von Storch in the news, urging Germany to adopt Donald Trump's political style and goals (Us First!), when you read the comments of Trump supporters on the web, still defending him even in the face of this spectacle, then unfortunately this indicates that the European continent and Germany are not immune to what is happening in the US.”
Sovereigntists getting lonely
A defeat for Trump would be a bitter blow for some Europeans, Angela Mauro, Brussels correspondent of HuffPost Italia notes:
“Without Trump in the White House, the European sovereigntists would be a little more lonely. From the little known [Slovenian Prime Minister Janez] Janša to the Hungarian Viktor Orbán and the Pole Jarosław Kaczyński. But above all Marine Le Pen - and with less than two years to go before the presidential elections in France. All of them are leaders who would lose a critical international point of reference in the global and networked world. And even the Briton Boris Johnson would feel lonelier, he who pushed for the Brexit, which like Trumpism was born in 2016, and which is only happening now, just as Trump's term in office ends.”
The US remains on our side
Regardless of who ends up winning, Lithuania and Europe needn't worry too much about their partnership with Washington, political scientist Linas Kojala explains in Delfi:
“The US election has attracted the attention of the whole world because it has a global impact. But Lithuania must observe it from the perspective of an ally. Whoever the next US president is, the country's strategy towards its friends will not suddenly change. The essence of alliances is longevity; we must rely on each other and look beyond the limits of individual personalities. We have no reason to doubt that whatever the final election result, the United States will be on the same side as we are.”
No return to the way things were
Columnist Pierre Haski has some disappointing words in France Inter for anyone who thinks that under Joe Biden the US will return to its former role and Europe can nestle back under its protective wing:
“This is undoubtedly an illusion. For one thing, America has changed and is no longer prepared to take on its old international role. And secondly, Europe cannot limit its ambition to that of 'junior partner' in an alliance where the boss has lost motivation. The one good thing about these contested election results is that they will force Europe to face its responsibilities. And it's a lesson that applies whoever wins.”