The Foreign Service Journal - April 2017
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APRIL 2017



interests on the continent. U.S. investment and trading inter-

ests are served by stability. There is a close and productive

relationship between the United States and the two European

nuclear-weapon states in NATO, the United Kingdom and


In Europe, Washington would continue to find a partner

which upholds the rule of law, protects freedom of speech

and assembly, and is based on democratic values. What better

partner could there be in an increasingly uncertain world? But

beware. There are already those in Europe and the United King-

dom who argue that the language of Pres. Trump’s campaign

must be taken seriously and is likely to emerge as established

policy. They further assert that Europe can no longer look to

the United States with the same certainty as before; and that a

Europe on the one hand destabilized by the United Kingdom’s

decision to withdraw from the European Union and, on the

other, by a diminished commitment fromWashington would

have to learn to go it alone.

That this outcome is even thought possible makes it impera-

tive that those on both sides of the Atlantic who understand and

value the relationship actively resist any moves in that direction.

Yes, the United States is entitled to require the European mem-

bers of NATO to meet their commitment to spending at least 2

percent of their GDP on defense. In return, European members

are entitled to expect the Trump administration to curtail its

reliance on conducting policy via the informality of social media.

Foreign relations in government need to be formulated and

conducted with deliberation and clarity, following consultations

with allies.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has an obligation and an

opportunity to be an honest broker and candid friend on both

sides of the Atlantic. She can bring home to the Europeans that

their relationship with Washington must become less one-sided,

and she can help the Trump administration see that mainte-

nance of that relationship is essential to advancing their own