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FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: The Best of 2018

Is Going It Alone the Best Way Forward for Europe?

Why Strategic Autonomy Should Be the Continent’s Goal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a press conference after their meeting at the German government guesthouse Meseberg Palace in Meseberg, Germany, June 2018. Hannibal Hanschke / REUTERS

Since the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Europeans have struggled to come to terms with his confrontational style and policies. From Trump’s tariffs to his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris agreement to calling the EU a “foe,” no U.S. president since World War II has appeared so distant, even hostile, to European interests. Early on, many European leaders attempted to cultivate a good relationship with Trump, hoping that a personal connection could help calm the increasingly turbulent waters of the transatlantic alliance. Some, such as French President Emmanuel Macron and EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, succeeded, while others, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May, fared less well.

In recent months, however, the tone coming from European capitals has changed. In August, in a rather undiplomatic op-ed, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed doubts that

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