The U.S. wants to negotiate trade issues with the European Union and China despite the fact that they ignored, for more than a year, Washington's constant warnings about unacceptably large surpluses on their American trades.
In doing so, China and a Germany-led EU have put themselves in an economically and politically untenable position. These two economic systems represent more than one-third of the global economy and 60 percent of demand and output in the industrialized world.
With their estimated trade surplus on goods and services of $713.6 billion at the end of last year, the Europeans and the Chinese live grandly off the deficits they cause in the rest of the world. They are exerting a powerful drag on global economic growth and, by virtue of their excessively high trade imbalances, they operate as a hugely destabilizing factor for the world economy.
I doubt that present EU leaders would want to place their post-modern community in that kind of a position. Insensitive economic policies are not exactly what they need in a world where they want to shine as heirs to the Enlightenment, "leitkultur" (leading culture) and civilizing missions.
With their customs union, the Europeans also have to think about the destruction they are causing to trade flows outside their tariff walls.