1. The US' power potential and "America first"
The US had, in 2015, a population of 320 million inhabitants. From 2010-2015 the average annual growth rate was 0,72% (United Nations: World Population Prospects 2017 (1)). The GDP in 2017 amounted to 19.485 billion US dollar (World Bank: GDP (current US$) 2017 (2)) with an annual growth rate of 2,22% (World Bank: GDP growth (annual %) 2017 (3)). In 2018 its military expenditures were at 649 billion US dollar (SIPRI: Military expenditure by country, in constant (2017) US$ m., 2019 (4)) what represented 3,2% of its GDP (SIPRI: Military expenditure by country as percentage of gross domestic product, 2019 (5)). In the same year it had a total of 6.450 nuclear warheads (SIPRI Yearbook 2018, 6. World nuclear forces (6)). At the end of 2017 BP estimated the US’ oil reserves at 2,9% and its reserves of natural gas at 4,5% of the global reserves (BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2018 (7)).
The GDP and the military data are the best in the world, immigration keeps the population growing (World Population Review: United States Population 2019 (8)). But there could appear economic problems: Thus, many US firms leave America and go to China because they can produce cheaper there. Furthermore, the debt of the US rose fast in the last years, as the US permanently imports more, above all from China, than it exports. Thus, the International Monetary Fund shows the US governmental debts of the country as only 53,1% of the GDP in 2001, in 2007 it was at 64,7%, but then followed a fast rise of the debt, and in April 2019 it reached 106,7% (International Monetary Fund: World Economic Outlook (April 2019) (9)). And of course, because of the US’ trade conflicts with China and Europe that can have bad consequences for the US’ exports when China and Europe answer US tariffs with own tariffs against US products. But all in all, the data of the US are good in comparison with the other great powers, so that it will probably remain among them for a long time.
But there seems to be a perception in the US that the country is fast declining: For this the slogan of US President Donald Trump “make America great again” means that he wants to stop this decline and return to better times in the past when the US was still more powerful. The origin of this perception of decline doesn’t result from absolute data of the economy or military power, but stems from the change of relative power vis-à-vis the new rising great power China – although the distance between both is still large. Above all, because it is a fast-rising economic power with an export-based economic growth, one of the world’s largest investors and it’s on the way to become a science and technological great power. Furthermore, China’s growing GDP allows it to modernize its military forces and raise its defence spending, thus it has become the strongest military power in the region (Ferguson, Yale H.; Mansbach, Richard W.: America's decline, President Donald Trump, and the global liberal order, in: Mansbach, Richard W.; McCormick, James M. (ed.): Foreign Policy Issues for America. The Trump Years, London, New York, 2019, pp. 3-15).
For Trump one of the biggest of Americas problems results from international cooperation and US leadership in the world, as this causes too many costs for the US (Daalder, Ivo H.; Lindsay, James M.: The Empty Throne. America’s abdication of global leadership, New York 2018, pp. 1-11). Thus, he told the Washington Post in March 2016: “why are we always the one that’s leading […]?” And referring to Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea “I mean, we pay billions– hundreds of billions of dollars to supporting other countries that are in theory wealthier than we are.” (A transcript of Donald Trump’s meeting with The Washington Post editorial board, Washington Post, 21.03.2016 (10)). Furthermore, in April 2016 he told the New York Times: “We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down and will never enter.” (Transcript: Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech, The New York Times, 27.04.2016 (11)) Instead of international institutions and cooperation he prefers his “America first” policy as he already announced in his inaugural address, January 20, 2017:
“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. […] From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.” (Trump, Donald J.: The Inaugural Address, 20.01.2017 (13)).
And he repeated this “America first” policy at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017: “As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first.” (Trump, Donald J.: Remarks by President Trump to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 19.09.2017 (12)).
Thus, two of the first things he did once in office, was the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between twelve nations, that was aimed against the rising China, and pushing to get out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico, but was persuaded to try to negotiate a better deal for the US. He also complained about the trade with the European Union, seeking to negotiate with individual European countries instead of the whole EU although it is responsible for trade matters, for example with the leaving Britain and with Germany. He called NATO “obsolete”, as most European members didn’t pay enough on defence. He also abandoned the Paris climate agreement insisting that it was bad for American jobs and withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, Russia, China, France and Britain) plus Germany had negotiated in 2015 with Iran to prevent the country from building a nuclear bomb. Moreover, he got angry at China, because after its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 it robbed the US, he said. Instead of such international commitments, he wants that America comes first and everyone else pays: “The allies would spend more on defense. Middle East oil would pay to defeat terrorists. New trade deals would send jobs flooding back to the United States” (Daalder, Ivo H.; Lindsay, James M.: The Empty Throne, p. 37).
By his focus on US interests, that he wants to realize regardless of Americas partners, Trump shows the world that he isn’t very interested in taking the leadership. As a consequence, the biggest beneficiary of that policy was China that filled the leadership vacuum to some degree, positioning itself as a defender of free trade, invested heavily in its “One Belt, One Road Initiative” in Asia and Europe and created own multilateral institutions.
2. The US' strategic shift towards China
The shift of the US' focus from Europe and the Middle East toward East Asia already began under President Barack Obama and his "Pivot to Asia" policies in 2011 that was designed to counter Chinese growing economic power and attempting to develop Beijing into a strategic partner that did not pose a threat to US interests in the region. But the Trump administration considers this approach as failed and regards China as a challenger to American power, influence, and interests, as well as a threat to American security and prosperity. Thus, the US-Chinese relations worsened. ((author anonymous) Breaking the Mould: Trump’s China Policy, Institute for Security and Development Policy, February 2018 (16)).
Trump's National Security Strategy of December 2017 regards China as a threat to free trade in the South China Sea and the US access to the region: "Its efforts to build and militarize outposts in the South China Sea endanger the free flow of trade, threaten the sovereignty of other nations, and undermine regional stability. China has mounted a rapid military modernization campaign designed to limit U.S. access to the region and provide China a freer hand there." (White House: National Security Strategy of the United States of America, Washington D.C., December 2017, p. 46 (14)). Likewise Vice President Pence said in October 2018:
"China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages on land, at sea, in the air, and in space. China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail. Beijing is also using its power like never before. Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan. And while China’s leader stood in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015 and said that his country had, and I quote, “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea, today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands. […]. [But] the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated and we will not stand down." (The Hudson Institute: Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Administration’s Policy Toward China, Washington D.C. 04.10.2018 (15)).
The US Intelligence Community assesses that “China will continue increasing its maritime presence in the South China Sea and building military and dual-use infrastructure in the Spratly Islands to improve its ability to control access, project power, and undermine US influence in the area.” With “[t]he People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continu[ing] to develop and field advanced weapons and hardware while honing its ability to fight in all military domains. The force is undergoing its most comprehensive restructuring ever to realize China’s long-held goal of being able to conduct modern, rapid military operations based on high technology to assert and defend China’s regional and growing global interests.” Its military modernization “includ[es] a growing emphasis on the maritime domains, offensive air operations, and long-distance mobility operations.” (Coats, Daniel R.: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, 29.01.2019, p. 26 (17)).
On June 1, 2019 US Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan declared at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue that “our geographical focus, the priority theater of our strategy is right here, in the Indo-Pacific”, mentioning that “America’s annual two-way trade here is $2.3 trillion, and U.S. foreign direct investment is $1.3 trillion, more than China’s, Japan’s and South Korea’s combined.” As a consequence, “the U.S. Department of Defense is investing significantly over the next five years in programs critical to ensuring a stable and secure Indo-Pacific”. Additional billions of dollars (he mentions a total of $104 billion – the most ever – in research and development and $125 billion for operational readiness and sustainment, both requested for the next fiscal year) are thought “to enhance our already sizeable and reliable capabilities distributed across the region”, as the more than 370,000 American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and civilians there, the more than 2,000 aircraft, as well as the more than 200 ships and submarines (Shanahan, Patrick M.: Acting Secretary Shanahan’s Remarks at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2019, 01.06.2019, (18)).
In December 2019 China appears for the first time as a security challenge in a official NATO declaration: "We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance." (NATO: London Declaration, London 04.12.2019 (45)).
Jonathan Hassid argues that there even might emerge the danger of a minor conflict between China and the US if China’s economy gets in problems. Referring to Chinese history, he shows that Chinese leaders sometimes initiated such minor conflicts abroad to divert the public’s attention from domestic problems and to bolster their legitimacy: For example as the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) of Mao Zedong failed spectacularly and caused a grave economic crisis, China invaded India in 1962, or during the power struggle over the succession of Mao, as Deng Xiaoping urged for the invasion of Vietnam in 1979 to increase his popularity at home if the invasion went well and to support his argument that China needed major reforms if it didn’t go well. In the future Chinese spectacular economic growth rates might end as workers’ wages are rising and China is thus losing competitivity as an exporter country, and the imposition of high tariffs on its goods by the Trump administration. At the same time China’s middle-class consumers remain reluctant to spend their money and the one-child policy has resulted in the decline of China’s workforce and a rapidly aging society. Starting a trade war between the US and China could cause thus significant economic problems for China, and perhaps President Xi Jinping and others in the Chinese leadership could, as a consequence, be inclined to start a minor foreign conflict as a way to divert the attention of the Chinese from economic problems. (Hassid, Jonathan: A poor China might be more dangerous than a rich China, in: Mansbach, Richard W.; McCormick, James M. (ed.): Foreign Policy Issues for America. The Trump Years, London, New York, 2019, pp. 33-44).
Also Mearsheimer predicted in 2010 a certain probability of conflict: "Because the stakes are smaller and a number of the possible conflict scenarios involve fighting at sea—where the risks of escalation are more easily contained—it is somewhat easier to imagine war breaking out between the China and the United States than between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It is also worth noting that there was no territorial dispute between the superpowers— Berlin included—that was as laden with intense nationalistic feelings as Taiwan is for China. Thus, it is not hard to imagine a war breaking out over Taiwan, which is not to say that the odds of such a war are high." (Mearsheimer, John J.: The Gathering Storm: China’s Challenge to US Power in Asia, The Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. 3, 2010, 381–396, p. 392 (43)).
The interesting point here for Europe, and the reason for making a whole chapter about the US-China relations, is that this is the background for the “clear shift in US strategy toward China”. Because “while Russia is the more immediate security concern”, “China is certainly the more important long-term challenge for the United States”, as the first is a declining power and the second a rising one. (Munich Security Conference: Munich Security Report 2019. The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?, p. 8 (19)). This view is shared by Mearsheimer, who predicts the likely emergence of “three different realist orders in the foreseeable future: a thin international order and two thick bounded orders—one led by China, the other by the United States. […] [T]he institutions that make up the international order will focus on facilitating interstate cooperation. The two bounded orders, in contrast, will be concerned principally with waging security competition against each other. […] [T]hat will be the central feature of international politics over the course of the twenty-first century. Military alliances will be core components of those two orders, which are now beginning to form and will resemble the Soviet-led and U.S.-led orders in the Cold War.” (Mearsheimer, John J.: Bound to Fail. The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order, International Security, Vol. 43, No. 4 (Spring 2019), pp. 7–50, p. 44 (44)). For Europe this means that the decades old US priority of preserving and expanding its zone of influence in Europe will come to an end, the US’ main focus will move to Southeast Asia and the Europeans will have to take more responsibility for their own security.
3. Europe: Living at the expense of the US?
The problematic areas between Europe and the Trump administration are various, from NATO, to trade conflicts, Russia, the Iran agreement, or Brexit.
One of the most important of them is the US’ commitment to NATO. Thus, the not yet president Trump tweeted for example in March 2016 “N.A.T.O. is obsolete” (20). And this was not the only case, he repeatedly called it obsolete as a presidential candidate, even suggesting that he wouldn’t defend NATO allies unless they paid their fair share in defense spending – that is, the 2% of the GDP agreed upon in 2014 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But, according to the agreement, this 2% should only be reached in 2024. (NATO: Wales Summit Declaration, 05.09.2014 (25)). But in April 2017 he seemingly changed his mind and said “It’s no longer obsolete.” (McCaskill, Nolan D.; Lima, Cristiano: Trump reverses on NATO: ‘It’s no longer obsolete’, Politico, 12.04.2017 (21)). But that this was not an expression of conviction of Trump, showed his reiterated reluctance to commit himself to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, that treats the collective defense. At a meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels in May 2017 he still omitted the respective sentence of his prepared speech (Daalder, Ivo H.; Lindsay, James M.: The Empty Throne, p. 97f.).
It is, consequently, no wonder that not everyone seems to be convinced: thus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in May 2017 „Die Zeiten, in denen wir uns auf andere völlig verlassen konnten, die sind ein Stück vorbei. (The times in which we could fully count on others are somewhat over)“, she said. „Wir Europäer müssen unser Schicksal wirklich in die eigene Hand nehmen (We Europeans really have to take our fate into our own hands)“ („Merkel sieht in den USA keinen verlässlichen Partner mehr“, Welt, 28.05.2017 (22)). Likewise, French President Emmanuel Macron didn’t trust Trump, as he tried, in 2018, to establish a European 10-nation coalition for military cooperation outside NATO, including the leaving Britain (Taylor, Paul: Emmanuel Macron’s coalition of the willing, 05.02.2018, updated 05.12.2018, Politico (26)).
And it seems that they were right with their skepticism. Thus, the New York Times writes in January 2019, that senior administration officials told the newspaper that “several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”. And in the same year he told his top national security officials “that he did not see the point of the military alliance”, presenting it as a drain of the US. (Barens, Julian E.; Cooper, Helene: Trump Discussed Pulling U.S. From NATO, Aides Say Amid New Concerns Over Russia, The New York Times, 14.01.2019 (23)).
In December 2018 Trumps Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced in a letter to the president to step down from his position, as there were substantial differences between both regarding the right policy toward NATO, Russia and China. As for NATO, he wrote: “One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.” Continuing: “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.” (resignation letter from Secretary James Mattis available at (24)).
The next problematic area is that of US-EU trade relations: Thus, Trump blames the EU for the US’s trade deficit with the Europeans due to their alleged unfair trade practices. Thus, the US’s trade deficit with the EU has increased since 2009 and reached, in 2017, 101,2 billion US dollar – caused mainly by its huge trade deficit in goods that reached 152,6 billion US dollar. Only with China the US has a larger trade deficit: 335,7 billion US dollar in 2017. Especially problematic for the US trade deficit with the EU is Germany, as almost two thirds of this deficit are caused by this country alone: 66.7 billion US dollar – a reason for several angry Trump tweets against Germany, as for example this one of May 2017: “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change” (27).
As Trump perceives this trade deficit as a threat to the national security of the United States, he imposed steel and aluminium tariffs of 25% and 10% respectively that came into force on 1 June 2018. They remained in force despite the de-escalation in trade tensions reached between Trump and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in July 2018. As the EU regards these tariffs as unjustified and inconsistent with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it imposed retaliatory tariffs on US products, for example on Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon whiskey. But not only steel and aluminium imports from the EU could threaten the security of the United States, also the import of cars could be such a threat. As a consequence, President Trump repeatedly threatened to impose 25% tariffs on imports of automobiles and automotive parts. (Schneider-Petsinger, Marianne: US–EU Trade Relations in the Trump Era - Which Way Forward?, Chatham House, March 2019 (28)). In May 2019 Trump declared that imported cars indeed represented a threat to the national security of the US but announced to delay the imposition of tariffs for 180 days to pursue negotiations. (Leonard, Jenny; Donnan, Shawn: Trump Delays EU, Japan Auto Tariffs for 180 Days for Talks, Bloomberg, 17.05.2019 (29)).
As for Brexit, Trump clearly supports the separation of the UK from the EU. Thus, after a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in January 2017 Trump said “[a] free and independent Britain is a blessing to the world …” and called Brexit "a wonderful thing" for the UK: "Brexit is going to be a wonderful thing for your country. You are going to have your own identity and the people you want in your country and you are going to be able to make free trade deals." (Peter Dominiczak, Steven Swinford, David Lawler: Donald Trump says 'Brexit is a blessing for the world' after meeting with Theresa May, as UK and US vow to deepen the special relationship, Telegraph, 28.01.2017 (30)). In July 2018 he said about Boris Johnson, the former British Foreign Secretary and advocate of Brexit “I am just saying I think he would be a great Prime Minister.” (Tom Newton Dunn: Donald Trump says Boris Johnson would be a ‘great Prime Minister’, The Sun, 12.07.2018, updated 13.07.2018 (31)). In July 2019 the British then got an idea of what it will mean to leave the EU and to become, in consequence, more dependent on the US under its President Donald Trump: After a diplomatic cable had leaked in which the British ambassador Kim Darroch wrote about the Trump administration “[w]e don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” (Oakeshott, Isabel: Britain's man in the US says Trump is 'inept': Leaked secret cables from ambassador say the President is 'uniquely dysfunctional and his career could end in disgrace', The Mail on Sunday, 06.07.2019, updated: 07.07.2019 (32)). Trump declared the US government would no longer work with the UK ambassador. Some days later, the ambassador had to resign. (Castle, Stephen: Kim Darroch, U.K. Ambassador, Resigns After Leak of Trump Memos, New York Times, 10.07.2019 (33)).
And Britain is not the only lever to destroy the EU. Thus, Natalie Nougayrède, who refers in an article in The Guardian to a trip of the US secretary of state to Eastern Europe in February 2019, writes “Mike Pompeo’s wooing of eastern European states is an attack on the union’s very existence” designed to play on the east-west divisions within the EU and that “Trump and his team want to wipe out the EU”, which John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, identifies as a threat to US interests and which Trump called in 2018 “a foe”. (Nougayrède, Natalie: Why Trump and his team want to wipe out the EU, the Guardian, 18.02.2019 (34)). Meanwhile, just before the elections to the European Parliament in May 2019, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has planned to unite Europe's far-right into an international alliance of populists. (Maza, Cristina: Exiled by Trump, Steve Bannon could be about to rise again in Europe, Newsweek, 25.05.2019 (35)). It’s evident that a rise of such far-right parties throughout Europe would weaken the continent’s unity and strength vis-à-vis the US.
In the case of Iran and Russia, the Trump administration there undermines the politics of the Europeans. As for Iran, when Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) (also known as the Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, imposed sanctions on the country and sent additional military assets to the Middle East, he undermined thus the position of the other partners of the P5+1, that is, the United Nations security council's five permanent members (the US, France, the UK, China, and Russia) and Germany, which want to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb by this agreement. US officials even threatened the Europeans, calling on them to forego doing business with Iran or face punitive economic measures. (O’Conner, Tom: U.S. loses allies on Iran as Europe launches system to avoid sanctions, Newsweek, 28.06.2019 (36)). Iran responded by surpassing the deal's limitation on how much low-grade uranium it could stockpile. (Haltiwanger, John: Here's what's in the landmark nuclear deal that Iran just violated amid tensions with Trump, Business Insider 01.07.2019 (37)). And Europe responded by the creation of a mechanism to facilitate trade with Iran, INSTEX, the “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges”, declared “operational” by the European External Action Service (EEAS) on June 29, 2019 (EEAS: Iran nuclear deal: INSTEX now operational, 29.06.2019 (38)), confronting thus the US sanctions policy.
As far as the Trump-Russia relation is concerned, it was a reason for fears in some parts of Europe. Thus, during his presidential campaign Trump announced his intention to improve America’s relations with Russia, saying: “I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia – from a position of strength – is possible. Common sense says this cycle of hostility must end. Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.” (Trump, Donald J.: Trump on Foreign Policy, The National Interest, 27.04.2016 (39)). According to the report released by special counsel Robert Mueller in April 2019 his staffers made high-level contacts, set up secret communication back channels, and sought to water down the Republican Party’s stance on Russia ahead of the 2016 party convention (Mackinnon, Amy: Trump May Like Putin. His Administration Doesn’t, Foreign Policy, 29.04.2019 (40)). In 2017 the New York Times reported that some Trump campaign associates had worked on a peace deal for Ukraine that would give the Russians Crimea under a long-term lease agreement: “Essentially, his plan would require the withdrawal of all Russian forces from eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum whether Crimea, the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.” (Megan Twohey and Scott Shane: A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates, The New York Times, 19.02.2017 (41)).
Although the Trump administration, in contrast to the president himself, is not in favour of a rapprochement to Russia and thus the US-Russia relationship has remained frosty throughout Trump’s presidency, this is the background, against which fears have risen in Germany about a division of Europe by the US and the Russian presidents, a “Yalta 2.0”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel even saw Trump’s rapprochement to Putin at the G20 summit in 2017 as undermining her efforts to build a united front against Russia over Ukraine. And an internal foreign ministry memo noted: “The summit went very well for Russia…As long as the US breaks rank, Russia can swim in the mainstream.” ("Germany fears Donald Trump will divide Europe", The Economist, 15.07.2017 (42)).
With the end of the Cold War Europe loses its importance for the United States, independently of this or that president in the White House. Instead of focusing on the competing influence of a declining Russia in Europe, the US increasingly focuses on the rising China as a future rival of global leadership. This trend will grow to the same extent as China’s power will grow. And this refers to the area of security, that of the economy and the politics. And as the US will follow its own interests that are no longer mainly in Europe, Europe will have to care more for itself instead of relying on the US. And there is no reason why a united Europe could not become independent. The area of trade shows that a united Europe can speak with a strong and respected voice, that it can be, alongside the US and China, among the three global great powers. Thus, let’s do that as well in the field of security, let’s stop getting the Americans to pay for our defence, let’s discharge them as they demand and take more responsibility ourselves. Thus, they would not only get rid of the burden in Europe, but Europeans could also realize their own interests without the need to ask for help in Washington, like for example in ex-Yugoslavia and Libya, not to mention the Russian security challenge in Eastern Europe.