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German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to President Donald Trump talk during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Washington, April 27, 2018 (AP photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta).

Will Trump’s Trade War Create a United Europe—or a Monster?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Will Donald Trump turn out to be Europe’s best friend? Despite himself, Trump’s decision to pick an ill-conceived fight over trade with America’s closest allies could actually have a salutary effect on European solidarity. It will certainly boost the desire in Europe to distance itself from America and the dependent aspects of the trans-Atlantic alliance. Whether the Europeans will be able to follow through is another story.

Trump’s trade war would seem to come at a bad time for the European Union. The incoming government in Italy is hostile to the EU’s fiscal rules and migrant policy. Spain is in transition from one minority government to another. Should either or both spook markets with their spending, it would represent a threat to the eurozone’s survival that is orders of magnitude greater than the one posed by Greece during the darkest hours of the European debt crisis. ...

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