According to a report from Politico, European leaders -- and their aides -- who are meeting with President Joe Biden at the G-7 conference in England are expressing open relief and joy that Donald Trump has been replaced but are also concerned that Trump may return one day due to the volatility of U.S. politics.
As Politico's Anita Kumar wrote, "Biden's predecessor spent four years disparaging world leaders — in public and on Twitter— accusing their countries of freeloading off the United States. He pulled out of international agreements, refused to sign others and scoffed at the trans-Atlantic alliances that served as a bedrock of U.S. foreign policy in the post-WWII era," before adding, "So many leaders at the latest G-7 meeting, including those from Germany, France and Canada, seemed simply eager to move past Trump this week; so much so that they greeted Biden like an old friend even when he wasn't."
Case in point, upon her arrival on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a not-too-subtle jab at Trump, telling reporters, "Being able to meet Joe Biden is obviously important because he stands for the commitment to multilateralism, which we were missing in recent years."
With British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, considered to be closer to Trump than the others, calling Biden "a breath of fresh air," one U.S. diplomat explained that the sense of relief is palpable.
"There's no way of describing our friends' relief at the change of administration. And not just because it isn't Donald Trump anymore," admitted Stephen Sestanovich, a former National Security Council advisor. "It's that the alliance has a backlog of real problems to address. The Biden administration wants to talk about how to develop cooperative responses to them in a way that the Trump administration couldn't ever be serious about."
However, there is some unease among European leaders about political instability in the U.S. where attempts are being made to not only overturn the 2020 presidential election but also create doubt about future elections.
Explaining the underlying worries, Alexander Vershbow, former deputy secretary of NATO remarked, "The allies do have lingering doubts about the forces that produced Trump's election in 2016 and are wondering whether those forces are gone for good, or that possibility that the US could shift back to a more contentious, more transactional approach to NATO in 2022, or 2024. I think this concern is real that, you know, the Trumpian trend tendencies in the U.S. could return full bore. And in the midterms, or in the next presidential election."
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