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Opinion: What Europe fears most about the US election

October 29, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Europe, but particularly France and Germany, recognize that the future of the trans-Atlantic relationship, the very nature of the Atlantic alliance, could depend on the outcome of the US presidential election, writes David Andelman.

(CNN)Europe, but particularly France and Germany -- the two motor nations of the continent -- are holding their collective breath for the outcome of Tuesday's American presidential election.

Yet at the heart of all feelings among French and Germans today is the increasingly intransigent belief that the will of the American electorate is so unpredictable, their choice of a leader so self-centered and dependent on forces spiraling out of control, that Europe may be unable to count on a solid and dependable United States over the long term.

The ECFR found, in a continent-wide survey, that even if Joe Biden were elected, voters in France and Germany believe Europe should "maintain good relations with the US, [but] prepare for disengagement. " Should Trump win, however, voters in Belgium, Sweden, Austria and Croatia also believe preparation for disengagement would be necessary.

Macron, who sees himself as the rightful heir to the mantle of European leadership that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be relinquishing when she retires next year, has already begun campaigning for the creation of a European defense force that could make Europe less dependent on the American military, even if Biden reverses Trump's announced plan to begin withdrawing thousands of US troops from bases in Germany.

But equally, as it happens, by Biden who described it four years ago as "a bad deal" for Europe that would lock in "a greater dependence on Russia. " Biden's views, though unchanged, are likely to be somewhat more nuanced than Trump's escalating threats of retaliation if the pipeline project were to continue.

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