After the US elections, it is very difficult to foresee what kinds of global predictions can be made. Europe and Russia share common interests, as they always did – on political, economic, and cultural levels. On the one hand, in the last weeks nothing has really changed in EU and Russian relations, and business seems to run as usual. On the other hand, external factors for both parties changed from one day to the next with the election of a new US president. One thing seems to be clear already: Donald Trump’s foreign policy will differ from Obama’s. Trump is a businessman, and it is expected that he will treat external relations pragmatically, meaning he will strive to achieve only clear win-win situations. For the European Union, this raises a terrifying scenario in which the level of US solidarity with the EU will be reduced and the United States’ policy towards the EU will change.
Does that mean that the US will lose its leading global position? ‘It is very unlikely that the USA will reduce its military presence worldwide. At the same time, there might be new aggravations regarding missile defence and arms control on a global level, due to Republican foreign policies of the past. Therefore, the importance of arms control will increase. For this reason, the European Union and Russia have common responsibilities and need to find new ways of mutual comprehension. ‘EU-fatigue’ is of course a given among Russian decision-makers, but this does not point to a fundamental change in attitudes. Russia still defines itself as a European country, belonging to the family of European states, deeply rooted in European culture and history’, said Peter W. Schulze, Co-founder of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, during the Valdai Club meeting held jointly with the German Russian Forum last week in Berlin. From a European perspective, dialogue is necessary to keep transatlantic bridges active and to find new means of comprehension with Russia and Asia, not only regarding arms control, but also regarding business, culture, and global peace.