President Biden has started his term in office by reversing many of Trump’s decisions. In a ‘day one’ flurry of executive orders, Biden has cleared the way for the US to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement; halted America’s departure from the World Health Organization (WHO); strengthened environmental and lobbying rules that his predecessor had weakened; lifted a a travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, and rescinded a declaration of national emergency Trump had used to justify funding an (unfinished) US-Mexico wall.

Can Biden undo the damage of the Trump years? The US-EU relationship has clearly suffered over the past four years, with disagreements over everything from steel and aluminum tariffs, to NATO spending, to US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. With a new administration in the White House, are normal relations about to resume?

What do our readers think? Our reader Jthk wants to know whether we can expect the US trade wars with China and Europe to end under President Biden. To get a response, we put Jthk’s comment to Jörg Wojahn, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Germany. What would he say?

I think, under the new US administration there is a big chance that Europe and the United States can come closer again, and can cooperate much more closely again. There are some underlying competition issues between the two blocs – between the EU and the United States – but this can all be overcome through dialogue, through negotiation, and through commitment to our multilateral system. We very much hope that with the new administration (and I think there is a lot of reason for hope) that we can strengthen the World Trade Organization in the first place, and that we can – through negotiation and dialogue – find a lot of common ground, and a lot of agreements with the US. So, I think the times of trade wars with the US should be over.

Trump frequently complained about European contributions to NATO, and famously threatened to pull the US out of the Alliance. Our reader, Delta9t, wonders if there will now be less pressure for EU governments to invest in defence spending under President Biden.

We put Delta9t’s comment to Prof. Marina Henke, Director of the Centre for International Security at the Hertie School of Governance, to see what she would say:

Finally, Donald Trump was the first US President since Jimmy Carter not to enter US troops into a new conflict. Natasha is worried that President Biden might drag Europe into new wars. Is that likely? What does Professor Henke think?

I don’t think so. As I said before, the US is on a trajectory of retrenchment or restraint. This is the result of the last two decades, since 9/11. The US responded to the terrorist attack by deploying military abroad and fighting the terrorist attack on foreign soil. As many of your readers know, this hasn’t been very successful. The middle east is still extremely unstable, and so is Afghanistan. What you can see now in Washington, not just under the Trump but also under the Obama administration, is a change in strategy. There is a reluctance to get engaged outside. There is even a reluctance in upholding the liberal world order, spreading democracy and even in upholding human rights.

Some would still say there was this last “hoorah” in Libya, where the United States did get engaged. But if you look closely, and I did a lot of research on Libya, it was actually not a US initiative. It was really a European initiative. And here, the Europeans need to look at themselves. It was the French and the British driving this military intervention. Yes, the Americans under Obama were helping. “Leading from behind,” as Obama called it.

I really think this era of foreign interventions, the threat of the United States dragging Europe into these adventures is over for now. That does not mean it is over eternally, but I really don’t think this is a threat in the next four years. However, what Europe needs to think about is what it will do vis-à-vis China, which is where all American focus will be on under Biden.

Can President Biden repair the damage of the Trump years? Has the USA become an unreliable partner and should Europe become more independent? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts!

IMAGE CREDITS: White House (CC-A 3.0)

70 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Jesper Jørgensen

    I believe that President Biden will do an honest attempt to repair the damage. And I think he will have. at least a chance to be somewhat successful in doing so. With that said, I still think the experience we had with Trump makes it very clear, that the EU needs to more independent in some areas, while still work closely together with the rest of the world.

    In my opinion, the EU should have our own joined military force, which will make it possible for us to defend the union, while also being able to support our allies.

  2. avatar
    catherine benning

    Can President Biden repair the damage of the Trump years?

    Please will someone be kind enough to tell what damage you feel has been done that needs this crook to repair?

    Is Biden planning to repair the damage his son, Hunter, did in the Ukraine? And how will he make absolute sure there is no more voter fraud in the USA?

    If people make accusations of damage against a person, especially a President of any country, it is their responsibility to expose what that accusation includes. Therefore, what is Trumps damage. Other than alternative political differences, what is the damage. 73 million American people decided Trump made completely the right decisions for their country from their point of view and wanted him to continue to make those decisions on their behalf.

    • avatar

      Oh, maybe the thing he used the office of president to:
      Line his own pockets with taxpayer money. Take bribes from businesses and foreign countries. Blackmail Ukraine for digging up dirt on political rivals. Pay hush-money to a prosititue out of campaign funds. Asked russia to dig up dirt on political rivals. Offer pardons on quid-pro quo basis to crooks and political sycophants who lied for him in order to save him from being impeached. Fired every member who testified against him, or generally opposed him in any away. Used twitter to verbally attack random people. Supported far right extremists, inciting a riot, tried to overturn the outcome of the election, incited a coup…..

      And that’s not even half of it.

  3. avatar

    Sure. Europe will once again be able to grow and prosper without having to contribute anything to their own defense. Europe will be invited to open markets in the US while placing the most prohibitive tariffs on American goods to prevent any real competition at home. It’s going to be great.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @ Jurre

      I too could write that of you. Where is the evidence, not simply accusation. All you write sounds identical to Clinton, Obama and Biden. Especially, Biden, 47 years of it.

      Now the treep is sucking in Europe… Again.

  4. avatar

    ,,, Dılerım Joe Bıden,, müttefiki Türkıye ile ıyi ilişkiler kurar.

  5. avatar

    There is no turning back. We have to pick it up from where we stand. I wished I knew what the European stance on many things – China, Russia, Afghanistan, Middle East, North Africa etc. – is as well as I am being informed on US plans.

  6. avatar

    Give him time. Rome was not made in one day. He will pick up the pieces left by insane creature who made the country his own playground.

  7. avatar

    Yeah how dare a president do what the people elected him for, not start wars not kiss china’s ass, sort North Korea and broker multiple peace deals

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward wahahahahhahaha. Trump canceled the pivot to Asia and made China more powerful than it could be.
      Not start a war. He worsened yemen he gave marokko free reign and got the us closer to a war in iran than ever. He didn’t pull out anywhere.
      Sort north korea rofl. Why are y’all so deluded. This man almost started a war in his home country and you would still defend him.

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus yeah a lot of ira loving dementia patient is exactly what I want controlling the largest nuclear arsenal in the world

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward well you were lucky that you had that the past 4 years.

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus hardl

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward not true

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus you keep drinking the CNN poisen

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward you keep drinking your hate.

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus yeah because Biden isn’t a hater then? You msm hack

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus wasn’t me throwing insults was it you man baby

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus in your opinion 70m+ Americans disagree. But I guess you prefer ira supporting swamp dwellers as you representation, probably love the eu for a guess?

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward yea and so did they in other times in history.
      Yea please unite Ireland and stop UK nationalism.
      Yea sofar the longest lasting peace thanks to the intensive cooperation within the EU. Leaving is easy, disconnecting sadly always leads to the things we wish we never want to see again.
      I am happy the UK is now breaking it’s ego, just like France, italy and germany had to do. No 1 is special here.

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus you total joke, please stop replying you total melt

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward I’ll decide what I’ll do. And if you spread your bs hate around I’ll just give it back. Untill you release that it isn’t helpfull.

    • avatar
      Chris Coward

      Arnout Posthumus whatever I will let you get back to your new European or red star or whatever. Oh and the eu had zero to do w ithoeacd in Europe that would be nato

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward yea because investing in tanks is all you can think of in making peace. No love, the world peace is made by intensive cooperation it has little to do with nato as we realised after ww2. Sharing resources was the key.
      But hey you probably still think that the UK beat the Germans.

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward nope he isn’t you racist.

    • avatar
      Arnout Posthumus

      Chris Coward you did so by supporting an insult to humanity. Maby you can take some of his phrases and act like you don’t support them. But you do. A basic bigot.

  8. avatar

    Damage? … under Obama, ISIS thrived.Did you really think Biden will go against USAn corporation interests, and not sanction EU for buying gas from Russia? ;)

    • avatar

      Trump was better. The USA did not invade any other country in the world. He was peaceful.

      Did you know that the USA do not have any legitimate language? Yes they speak English, but it is not recognized as licensed by law language.

      The Senate tried two times to legalize English, but they just could not do it.

  9. avatar

    The most serious of the hardest points. It will probably be the country’s debt, which is similar to that of the former president in his company’s.

  10. avatar

    You mean a cheated election with a pedo, child sniffing criminal?

  11. avatar

    Damage? To who? The ones that are allways waiting for US tax payers money, like UN, EU and NATO? I bet those were pretty unhappy whenever he said “America first”. I just wish polititians in my country would think the same way: to put their citizens first, not global interests of major companies and internarional organizations loaded with incompetents earning millionaire salaries

  12. avatar
    Kahraman Marangoz

    President Biden can do this. The human footprint has made us see the large picture how to not only live inside borders but how to live on the planet Earth. The modernisation have give us tools to monitor the situation of Earth from satellites in orbit. This information can be shared world wide to find out about the real situation where all citizens world wide have to deal with. Because this is not only important for European or American citizens, for all citizens this is important. More cooperation is needed world wide, companies form all over the world can contribute to help to produce products and goods in a way that keeps the planet in the long term liveable, so that the many generations that are coming can follow the good example what is expected from the leadership. It is also realistic that a change can not happen in 24 hours. Demands made from companies to change their way to make it to a certain deadline and not give a green card to continue to ignore the real situation that is going on to only have interest in profit and forget the many generation that will inherent this planet.
    The transatlantic relation can improve if views on issues that are going on in other nations are understand in the same way. To not single out a specific issue, the right way to understand the problem is also the right way to see a way to resolve the issue, make another nation attent on the problem to solve this, to start taking action in ending it. Demanding this from communication from the top who are the responsible people allowing what not should be allowed in their nation. This is not an attempt to cool or end the relation, next to having a strong economy doesn’t mean you have an option to do things that are not allowed by international law. That is why sanctions are not to cool down relations or protect the own economy, it is a signal that this can not continue with the course one nation is following into the future, so the other nation that wants to do trade can not profit from the other nation until it respects back the international laws.

  13. avatar

    I wanted Trum to win since he did not make any war anywhere in the world. He was like Jimmy Carter.

    Did you knew that the USA does not have an official language. Despite the fact that their national language is English it is not official. The congress tried two times to legalize it, but they failed.

    Technically the USA does not have any official language.

  14. avatar

    More interference in the Middle East, Afganistan, etc. More friction with Russia, etc. More wars. Yes, we are definitely better off with Biden.

  15. avatar

    Vassality of EU to US with destabilizations at its borders, economic and political war with neighbors instead of cooperations, in despite its own interests. Just like before.

  16. avatar

    I wonder if they will discuss Macron’s hostility to critical race theory and Biden’s promotion of it.

    • avatar

      Michał Szostało critical race theory is not an american idea. It’s a regurgitated ideological obsession.

    • avatar

      Diogo Castro Yes, I would partly agree with that, it has its origins in French and German philosophy. But it is true that it’s most popular in the US at the moment, particularly in the hands of the Biden administration. And some what Surprisingly, Macron has started to speak out against it, but I suspect he is afraid it will drive a lot of people into Marine Le Pen’s hands (which is undoubtedly true).

    • avatar

      Michał Szostało These ideologies have holes all around it and it’s a matter of time before people diverge on personal thoughts on it (even after being engulfed in all its misery). I believe the tendency is for these people to wander off (with their values) for a bit and fall back once they realize they can’t connect to reality anymore with this ideology.This critical race theory has its pull on people because they care for a reasonably vague moral standard, and this moral superiority feeling won’t hold long once they start noticing how faulty it is. Unless democrat propaganda machines do a really good job going around the inconsistencies.

  17. avatar

    A leader that actually acknowledges science and evidence? Yeah, that will be a change.

  18. avatar

    Depending on how much Europe is going to pay Hunter for being on the board….

  19. avatar

    Is it true that US spent less money in wars during Trump legislation? Just read about it somewhere…

  20. avatar

    No, EU won’t be better of with Biden. EU must stop to partner with US on its geopolitical games and interest

  21. avatar

    Why the … We care about the US?

  22. avatar

    we need to federalize, create EU army and kick out the americans.. they are occupying Europe since WW2 and moreover, we shouldn’t care that much of what’s going on in that circus.

  23. avatar

    What damage? Not endorsing foreign wars?

  24. avatar

    Wasn’t the rift that the Trump administration caused, an opportunity for Europe to learn to stand on its own feet and design its own foreign policy?

  25. avatar

    Dont let anyone fool themselves…Biden will follow the same America 1st policy on pretty much all policies, perhaps with the exception of climate.

  26. avatar

    Trump was great!!! No war started, borders closed, economy boosting….. ANd all these despite of the hostile fakenews propaganda.

  27. avatar

    They are guest in Europe, Europeans are guest in the USA. A guest know its place and don’t rule the host’s house! That is all!

  28. avatar

    ??? What change? The USA interest wil be always first!

  29. avatar

    We already have strong ties with the US. Unless he had anything specific to propose it seems like fluff. Regarding Huawei 5G it seems prudent to restrict it to non-military applications, but for civilian applications there shouldn’t be a problem with it.

  30. avatar

    Despite a strategic partnership being a good thing, We should strive to become independent in all measures possible.

  31. avatar

    LOL Biden is a clown, will be short lived and America will be brought to it’s knees. It’s only been a couple of months and it’s pure disaster.

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