It’s become clear that Donald Trump wants nothing less than the the dissolution of the European Union. Now I have my problems with the EU myself; in fact, I think it’s almost intentionally designed not to work. But Trump actually considers them to be a foe of the United States instead of an organization of nearly every close ally we have in the world.
In an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union — comprising some of America’s oldest allies — when asked to identify his “biggest foe globally right now.”
“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive,” Mr. Trump said at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland.
“I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills,” he added.
He doesn't respect those leaders; he's done nothing but be disrespectful of them at every opportunity. But the problem here is that Trump sees everything as a zero-sum game -- every single aspect of our relationship with other countries has to have winner and loser and we always have to be the winner, by whatever standard he decides to apply at any moment. But that simply isn't how alliances work, not if we want them to last. But it's become increasingly obvious that when Trump says "America first" he really means America alone, isolated from our closest allies. He fosters that isolation both through his personally boorish and repulsive behavior and through his unreasonable demands.
Take Canada. That country has one-tenth our population and we have a trade surplus with them. Because of course we do, we have ten times as many people to buy their goods and services as they do to buy ours. But Trump is so eager to foster his narrative that they're taking advantage of us that he has repeatedly lied and claimed that we have a trade deficit with them. That's how zealous he is to play this childish game, he's willing to lie about our closest allies and one of our biggest trading partners to support his unreasonable demands.
And make no mistake about it, this is all tied up with his own version of toxic masculinity, part and parcel of which is this obsession with "winning." It's all about conquering, asserting control and domination. There is no room for mutual benefit or cooperation, there is only authority and ego-soothing dominance. Except, of course, when it comes to Russia and Putin. He genuflects endlessly in the presence, real or metaphorical, of Vladimir Putin.