The NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 and 12 is an opportunity for President Donald Trump to get the trans-Atlantic relations back on a constructive path — the place they should have never left.
It is absurd to think and say, as some do, that the European Union was created as an opponent to the United States. The EU remains a peace project where economic integration is a means of strengthening that epochal mission. The founding fathers sought to guarantee Europe’s peace by keeping France and Germany, the centuries-old sworn enemies, off each other’s throats. To do that, they put, in the early 1950s, these countries’ instruments of war — coal and steel — in a jointly managed organization called the European Coal and Steel Community. Successive stages of integration led to the European Common Market, the European Economic Community and the European Union.
The U.S. was fully involved in the initial stages of that peace project with large funds, and some of its best and brightest diplomats working alongside their European colleagues. Since then, the EU has been an important part of American foreign policies, in spite of occasional lapses of focus and attention as Washington had to attend to more pressing problems around the world.
It, therefore, seems very likely that America’s apparent distraction from trans-Atlantic affairs might have led to issues of unbalanced trade and improper burden sharing of allied security obligations.