The New York Times news pages have been attacking Donald Trump from all angles to deny him a second term. Here's one: The Europeans don’t like him! On Wednesday, Steven Erlanger, the paper’s chief diplomatic correspondent, fretted about how “Europe Ponders a ‘Deeply Damaging’ Trump Re-election.”
Erlanger’s piece has a strong whiff of anti-Trump, pro-European superiority for a “news” story:
There was a lot for diplomats and policymakers to consider when they gathered at a recent global security conference in Munich: China rising, Russia meddling, Germany weakening. But the inescapable question -- the one that might change the world most immediately for Europe -- was whether President Trump would win re-election in November.
Rightly or wrongly, the consensus among European diplomats and analysts is that Mr. Trump is likely to get a second term. But there was also consensus that such an event would be a significant part of a drastic, and potentially permanent, shift in global affairs for which Europe remains woefully unprepared.
The story was one long list of Europeans maligning Trump without any journalistic pushback (click “expand”):
Mr. Trump’s re-election would represent a fundamental change, said François Heisbourg, a French analyst. “Eight years in political terms is an era, not an error. And it would undermine the reality of American democracy.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s admonishment to the Europeans to accept American leadership and “reality” was met at the conference with stony silence. Traditional American allies were far from assured that they would be able to depend on the United States in another Trump term.
A second term could leave Mr. Trump feeling ever freer and more empowered to pursue his every whim in global affairs, diplomats and analysts said.
That could include what some consider to be the very real possibility of withdrawing the United States from the NATO alliance that has kept peace in Europe for more than 70 years.
Many anticipate a collapse in the already eroding trust in American leadership and credibility.
It was bad enough that Trump won once, imagine the horror if it happened again!
A second Trump term “will be more of the same and yet worse,” said Amanda Sloat, a former State Department official now at the Brookings Institution.
Mr. Trump has questioned the American commitment to NATO. “That has been corrosive to the underlying trust among allies,” Ms. Sloat said. “That might be reversible after one term, but eight years of Trump would be deeply damaging.”
Erlanger quoted not a single defense of Trump or his foreign policy. Even his single positive sentence was quickly neutralized:
Not everyone is unhappy at the prospect of more of Mr. Trump. Central Europeans who have a history of occupation by the Soviet Union tend to be his strongest supporters.
But they, too, worry about Mr. Trump’s apparent ambivalence toward NATO and his seeming admiration of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
It’s no surprise Erlanger was a virulent Brexit-and Boris Johnson-basher before the Conservative Party’s overwhelming victory in the U.K.