The Russian “foreign ministry” has been reported of being in contact with Donald Trump during the election night, and Kremlin speaker Peskov recently visited New York just to state that confidence could be rebuild with Russia in persuading NATO to withdraw forces from Russian borders (Kaliningrad is the only territory where NATO forces come close to Russia, other territories are Belarus, Moldova etc. which apparently are already regarded as part of Russia). He also suggested this would lead to another “detente” in Europe which can be understood as a nice term for “peacefully invading” eastern European NATO territories left unprotected (which would possibly repeat the Crimea 2014-scenario).
Edward Lucas has rightly found: “We cannot rely on America for the next four years, and perhaps never again. If we want our safe, comfortable, prosperous life to continue, we need to get used to spending real money, coping with real threats, making real sacrifices and taking real risks.”
Richard Herzinger for his part has assessed how the recent election victory of Donald Trump probably will affect the European security environment. He has been one of the few in Germany media outlining the destructive effects of Russian and western elite conduct on the international system since Russia’s occupation of Crimea in February 2014 (also repeatedly warning of aggressive scenarios against European countries beyond Ukraine):
“The real surprise with Trump’s victory has been to see the overwhelming majority of the German and western public to be so stunned over his election. However, it should have been clear after the Brexit-vote that the unexpected has become the norm of our times […] With a minimum of political sense it could have been deducted that the time is ripe for a neo-authoritarian leader such as Donald Trump.
Instead, the phenomenon of Trump has provoked collective self-deception and reassurement. First he was treated as a political clown who would not survive the primaries. When it became clear he had chances to become the nominate of the Republican Party, it was assumed the party establishment would prevent it. When he ran against Clinton, it was found he had no chance against her experience and professionality […] And now as a president Trump is reality, the next stage of illusion has been entered: Trump – we are told – in reality does not have a program, besides of being in power, and the checks and balances of American democracy will guarantee he will be more or less guided by reason. However Trump has won without the support of his own party establishment, even in confrontation with it, and openly showed his contempt for the institutionalized democratic framework. In his victory speech, he has underlined that he did not lead an election campaign, but a movement. This was a hint at his readiness to mobilize his supporters if the established institutions are to obstruct his will – a classic measure of authoritarian leaders to annul democratically legitimized institutions.
Only the incorrigible will believe he is ready to constraint himself by the forces that could not stop him from entering the White House. The auto-suggestion that Trump has no agenda concerning foreign politics (finding his strong words against NATO, insulting speech directed against close US allies and his admiration for the Russian president as a real and strong leader have been tactics in the election campaign) is beyond sense and means to ignore reality. For any serious observer it had to be clear that during the presidential campaign Trump adjusted more and more to Russian propaganda – until practically merging with it. His being close to Putin, political and seemingly financial links with the Russian regime have been underestimated or played down systematically in Germany. For Europe such links mean a first degree security threat. Trump even does not have to ally with the Kremlin in serving the interests of the Russian president. It is sufficient if he does not interfere with Russian warfare in Syria and Ukraine (with the argument no direct US interests are touched in those cases) […] If he materializes his unwillingness to clash with Russia over Ukraine and recognizes the annexation of Crimea as announced, it will bring the Europeans in an extreme difficult position.
[…] One of the most persistent legends the public has cultivated is to suggest that a supposedly underpriviledged electorate supported Trump: Those to whom globalization brought losses and the marginalized not profiting from the excellent shape of US economy. However this has not been the full picture. New studies indicate the average income and education of his supporters are above those of other candidates’ supporters […]
Trump’s triumph is more than a mere warning for the defenders of liberal pluralistic democracy and transatlantic community. His victory could be understood as an irreversible turning point of western democracies. For the US his victory means a watershed event, not only because of the danger his autocratic voluntarism will be for inner security. The US for the first time in history will be led by a president who does not connect American strength to universal values [the Obama presidency has paved the way for such an outcome as values were only defended with empty words and not with deeds, and the logical consequence of this development now seems to abandon values completely]. For Trump, American power is understood as a capability to apply force in order to frighten both enemies and friends.
In Europe, the example of Trump will fuel right-wing nationalist forces, such as the Front National in France, and drastically support destructive forceswithin the EU. It is no longer utopy that Marine le Pen will be elected French president next year. To react now with a continuing underestimation of Trump and vague hopes that we will be just fine amounts to suicide.