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Blaming Trump for their problems is the one thing Europeans can agree on

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12.02.2019

James Kirchick, a visiting fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, is the author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age.”

OSLO — Here is a brief synopsis of the European political situation:

France and Italy are locked in an unprecedented feud. The European Union can’t agree on whether to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela; nor has Brussels managed to forge any coherent response to Moscow’s latest aggression against Ukraine. Britain still can’t finalize its divorce from the E.U. with less than two months to go before the March 29 Brexit deadline.

You’ll notice one name missing from this dismal summary, conspicuous by its absence: Donald Trump. That’s because the major problems confronting Europe today — anemic growth, Russian belligerence, migration, and deep internal divisions — existed long before Trump ever descended his fabled escalator, and will continue to plague the continent long after he’s gone. (Indeed, I wrote an entire book about them.)

Yet, listening to European elites, one would think Trump is the primary source of the continent’s manifold woes. One recent article in The Post compiled a litany of grievances. A representative complaint, from former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel: Trump “has done damage that........

© Washington Post