With the Donald Trump victory in the US presidential elections, the Baltic States can await uneasy times warns Edward Lucas, chief editor for The Economist and VP of the Centre for European Policy Analysis. According to him if already Brexit was bad news, then this is even worse.
Security architecture needs rethinking
“This is really bad for the United Status and especially bad for the US’ allies in Europe. For the frontline states which rely on US deterrence it is even worse. Europe has to rethink its security architecture because it may have to do without American assistance. Interacting with Trump may be difficult,” he warns.
E. Lucas believes that Trump’s victory is bad news for the Baltics because from now on they will have to take care of themselves.
“These are big and bad news, you have to act cautiously,” he stresses.
The specialist recommends to turn to regional allies, Germany and Scandinavian states such as Finland and Sweden.
20 years of relying on the US – a mistake
“I believe that all Europeans should start thinking about what they haven’t done for their own security. For the past 20 years we have relied on the idea that the United States will protect us and we did not take up the expenses needed to protect ourselves, we avoided decisive decisions,” observed Lucas, noting that “D. Trump is insufficiently experienced, we have to foster his people, educate them about Lithuania,” he urged.
The expert agreed that Trump’s victory is a big message to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, but what their relations will be in the future is unclear, despite the relatively favourable impressions portrayed during the campaign.
What the USA may do next
Even earlier E. Lucas had observed that the USA may completely depart NATO or may act as France did in 1966 – withdraw from the military structure of the bloc. That said, regardless of proceedings, Europeans can expect a harsh new world, where we will be responsible for our own defence.
“Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland will have the most to be concerned about. Our plans to defend them have so far been based on the idea that the United States will come to help, even if somewhat late. This principle holds because all of Europe is interested in maintaining the rule-based security structure, but now we have to plan a different sort of assistance. It’s difficult but doable. It is worth remembering that Europe (in the broad sense) is three times larger than Russia in population count and ten times based on GDP. If we lose, it will happen not because we are weak, but because we were weak willed,” he explained in July.
According to E. Lucas, everyone has to spend more on defence and spend it more prudently. Specialisation and cooperation will need to improve. Territorial defence and intervention into neighbours will have to become important facets.
“To put it simple, we have to get serious,” he said.