Bruno Macaes on Trump on Europe

Trump the businessman has been operating in a global economy where, for the past thirty years, Europe has produced a single company that deserves to be called a world leader: the Spanish Zara. For the first time, an American President believes that Europe is a has-been. The secret of Trump’s approach to Europe is this: he will not allow the United States to be dragged down with Europe, even if that means bringing about a new schism in the transatlantic alliance…

Posed with the existential question of its own diminishing global influence, Europeans seem happy to settle for a world where their civilization and their values are protected from outside influence, even if that means renouncing the old “civilizing mission” to export them. The United States could of course reach for a similar bargain, in which case transatlantic ties would be strengthened. This seems unlikely because it would be tantamount to sacrificing its role as global leader and giving China a free hand in all those regions uncommitted to any of the two poles of the new Eurasian world. The alternative is for Washington to insert itself between Europe and Asia, drawing on the strengths of both and appealing to a global public from the position of what could become a common denominator.

…If the West ever falters, America will want to become less Western. As the fulcrum of world power moves away from the West, so does America. That—insofar as there is a doctrine—is the core of the Trump doctrine.

Interesting throughout, as you might expect, read more here.


That is a weird take on things. Europe hasn't quietly protected their values from outside influence; they have actively adopted values from their mass of third world and developing country emigres. I doubt that outside of the invented language of the left that Europe will be called Liberal in any sense at all within a generation.

My first thought exactly.


Blair’s Labour government admitted wanting to replace British values with imported values - and votes - which the current government has done nothing to change. Swedish ministers have openly called for the replacement of Swedish culture with imported culture. The UK and France have introduced hate crime laws that are in effect blasphemy laws to protect a foreign belief system.

Eastern Europe has swung to the protection of their culture, but as an exception to the European norm.

I'm not so sure things are actually as bad as some people say they are. People who say things are bad in Europe often have a (perhaps understandable) anti-islam agenda they're pushing. That is to say, they're more inclined to represent the situation as worse than it is.

If you exclude islamic/ north african immigration from the picture, Europeans *have* resisted a lot of changes to their values -- one notable example that comes to mind is their outdated and frankly annoying resistance to technology on the basis of privacy etc.

The UK has changed. When I was a child, the standard response from authority to children complaining about verbal insults was "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". Now we have a host of initiatives and programs and campaigns intended to control speech at all levels, with police enforcement of hate crime laws just the top level. Soccer players who insult their opponents in the heat of the match are treated as if they are politicians plotting genocide (while some politicians whose careers are based on identity politics get away with comments about "all white people"). We have never had anything akin to constitutional protection of free speech, but the lack has never been more evident.

"Europeans seem happy to settle for a world where their civilization and their values are protected from outside influence"

This news has yet to reach European capitals, with the exception of minority parties like the National Front, Sweden Democrats and UKIP.

"Trump wants to copy or import what the Chinese do well. "

Collect taxes, increase labor costs, drive profits to zero, all pure Keysian policy???

Trump wants the growth of China with none of the costs.

He wants no taxes, no labor costs, and 100% profits.

Oh, my.



Well no, not exactly. Mulp is just delusional. It's not at all specific to Trump. He'd be making the exact same comment about any Republican President.

His belief that Trump has a "doctrine" is ... uh, puzzling?


I am totally unconvinced that Trump has a coherent "doctrine" structuring his foreign policy.

I am also unconvinced that Trump has a coherent doctrine. Which makes the fact that his policies have been so massively successful while those of the much better credentialed members of the Ruling Caste failed so badly seriously worrying.

Never have so many people been ruled by such incompetents marked by worthless pieces of paper and incredible senses of entitlement.


The really-smart-kids left America with dozens of "ticking time bombs," which, to their chagrin, President Donald J. trump is handling quite well. .

The "mandarins" on both continents not only are grossly incompetent, they passionately hate America/Europe and Americans/Europeans. Otherwise, they would not rabidly push to fundamentally change both.

Who is the Dem alternative to Trump? Crazy Hillary, Dirty Joe Biden, Fauxcahontas, seventeen-year-old David Hogg? That doesn't matter. All they got are propagandized academia;, lying media; and illogical, unreasonable, unscientific BS.

Beautiful words from the butcher - they should be set to music.

Dick, I wish we could amicably split up. We'll take our cities, our businesses, our scientists, and you can take yours. You can keep your guns. You can put up all the barriers to migration and trade that you wish. You can have Trump, and Breitbart, and Rush. We'll take the NYT and the WSJ ("globalists", right?) and Colbert. We'll take the tax dollars generated by the libtards and globablists to fund our schools and build our bridges. You can kill public education (turns people liberal) and starve the beast.

Yes, "A Liberal", the elites always want to take their ill-gotten goods and flee. But it rarely works.

I suspect that trying to win elections is going to work out better for you. And the change you will have to go through to do that will be better for the country.

@Jack: wouldn't it be better for the country if all the liberals left like he proposed? Then you guys would have a liberal-free paradise!

Who is us guys?

I'd actually be a Liberal if liberal still meant liberal.

I'm certainly not a conservative or a Republican.

I actually like the current self-described liberals, I just think they've gone nuts. I stick with my original contention that the best thing that can happen to "liberals" and for the country is that they try to win elections rather than just acting self-righteous all the time.

Massive success? It's strange such great credit is given to a man who, at his best, has put policy on autopilot and then bash the 'deep state' and mythical 'elites' To the degree anything is still working, it's because everything but Trump works and if we ever actually needed Trump to work, we'd be in deep trouble.

What you're doing in this comment is announcing your allegiance to the permanent government, while denying that it exists.

ladderff - Is "permanent government" the new buzzword for the Deep State? We should all be celebrating the deep state: A reasonably competent, reasonably predictable, reasonably honest bureaucracy that stubbornly keeps trudging along regardless of the political winds is an enormous boon to capitalism. I know a lot of people today would take issue with all three of my assertions, but the populist right doesn't have a competing vision to replace it with. What would that even look like? A bureaucracy beholden to those in power is inherently corrupt. That corruption then spreads to business by selective enforcement of regulations and gimmicks like tarrifs, and then business is also beholden and loses its ability to innovate and compete. All of this is playing out in Turkey right in front of our eyes. I don't know enough about the Polish economy to know what's happening there, but I imagine we'll see the same pattern there in the near future.

What exactly is the argument for a "non-permanent government". Why would we want no continuity in law, institution or structure from one election to another?

Speaking of which, I would say to you 'elections have consequences'. Deal with it. Trump can abolish Obamacare, abolish all intelligence services, abolish the FBI, even abolish first amendment protections for large media enterprises like Amazon. He just needs the votes to do it. He didn't get that in the last election so he doesn't get it now. Nothing is stopping him, though, from running on a platform of 'abolish the FBI and CIA' and demand voters refuse to support anyone, even establishment Republicans, who don't go along. I don't see him doing that. What I see is endless musical chairs as the people he puts in charge of running things flame out in cartoon attention getting antics or exploiting their office for petty graft.. If you take the permanent government seriously why don't you demand the President do so as well, if you don't why are you asking us to do so?

Interesting how many people are trying to draw bulls-eyes around the random scattering of Trump's arrows. But I suppose it is human nature for us to see order in the chaos, like pictures in the stars, even when there is none. I guess it gives some people much needed comfort.

Denying the positive results from Trumpism is like, well, denial.

Can you name some of the positive results?

Well, seems like you are deep in the throes of TDS. The benefits are obvious to everyone who isn't, after all.

"Can you name some of the positive results?"

Good economic growth & low unemployment rates.

When T talks he’s often rambling, incoherent and impulsive. But his policy seems rather clear. From Israel to NK to NAFTA, Iran and China the common thread is an aggressive promotion of US interests and those of close allies.

What is the common thread between overthrowing a defanged, muted Gaddafi and enriching and empowering a bellicose Iran?

What’s the connection between years of favortism toward Russia in terms of mocking the Cold War, abandoning European missile defense, secretly promising ‘more flexibility, inviting them into Syria and strengthening their ally Iran; and then suddenly declaring Russia enemy No. 1 and accusing them of usurping US democracy?

That connection is of course party self-interest. While the foreign policy looked like the release of random arrows, as an ideology it was a simple yet clear intention to put party before country.

The South Koreans might take exception to your claim about promoting the interests of close allies. Actually, I can't think of a close ally who's actually feeling too good about their ties with the U.S. these days. Maybe you can offer a counter-example?

I think if you look at the net result of presidential policies, the big winner of the Bush presidency was clearly Iran; the big wininer of the Obama presidency was clearly Russia; and it's sure looking like the big winner of the Trump presidency will be China.

Trump deserves credit for Korea talks, says President Moon - BBC News

India and Japan also seem pretty pleased with Trump. In fact the "allies" that seem the least happy are the Europeans, and if you had read the article, you would know why

Spotify, Rovio, Minecraft?

Also Red Bull, which stole a Japanese idea and turned it into a global

The Premier League is also a European brand that has become a global phenomenon really just in the last 20 years.

Red Bull is based on a Thai energy drink, and it wasn't stolen because the Thai developer of the drink was a partner in the development of Red Bull.

If this is the best list one can come up with (not sure that it is), I think it reinforces the point here.

Spotify is about to make an IPO, but estimates suggest it is about 5% as valuable as top US tech companies Apple, Google, Amazon.

Red Bull is nearly as big as Spotify, but created and still majority owned by a Thai family (though headquartered in Austria). Also a successful soft drink is hardly a marker of being an innovation leader.

The others are tiny.

Weak article. Zara as the only European company that can be called a world leader? Really? Zara is in the same place vis a vis other fast fashion retailers as any number of companies.
Royal Dutch Shell
Christian Dior
BNP Paribas

*founded in the past 30 years*

Red Bull GmbH was founded 34 years ago. Premier League started 26 years ago but split off from the 100+ year old English Football League. The article specifically said 'in the past thirty years.

Spotify as 'world leader'? Stretch?

Rovio as 'world leader'? Stretch?

Minecraft as 'world leader'? I'll grant that. But in the article's context - a 'Trump Doctrine' - how much does Trump know/care about Minecraft?

Minecraft isn't even a company. Its a brand/series of video games owned by microsoft.

It was basically a company before being bought out by Microsoft in 2014. Well, the company was Mojang studios, but it was founded by the Minecraft creator, and Minecraft was nearly its entire business.

"In a world where China is able to marshal a powerful national will, will the private sector of a liberal society offer enough of a counterweight? Whether it likes it or not, the United States is starting to feel it has to develop similar weapons if it wants to compete with Chinese state capitalism—not the full arsenal, to be sure, but at the very least a range of defensive weapons like tariffs and investment screening mechanisms."

A similar version of that argument was made during Japan's heyday of the 1980s (and even during the Soviet era). How is that different from Reagan imposing some import quotas on Japanese products and engineering a stronger yen? Why is America's civil society now comparatively weak such that it could easily resort to "authoritarian liberalism" to counter China's unified national will?

Sounds like the Republican planned economy.

The left tries to weaken America, but we are the resistance, and we have the gubs.

This reads as an anti-endorsement for Macaes book Eurasia. If the thinking is this shallow ( did Macaes miss the previous administration's Asia pivot?) there's no marginal gain to further reading.

agree,using Cowen's world Macaes is definitely overrated.


So, it seems like somebody else is unfamiliar with the world's largest business software company - The one that invented ERP software, essentially.

Stupid people like obvious things.

He probably thinks Maersk is a town in Russia.

Good job calling him stupid and ignorant y'all, but SAP was founded in 1975, not "the last thirty years".

What a nice little caveat to stick in there. Why 30 years? It just happens to line up with China’s catch-up growth. Europe has stagnated, but to bring up Zara as its only worthwhile product in the past 30 years is just silly. Established European companies continue to dominate or compete nicely in their markets.

Oh, I agree that the thesis is open to criticism. I don't really believe the "socialist Europe vs. dynamic U.S." narrative that seems to be underlying this. The extent to which the U.S. has a freer market than Europe is greatly exaggerated.

However, that doesn't make dumb responses to the post any less dumb.

Dan, you just proved the shallowness of the argument by demanding that 1975 doesn't count (Microsoft was founded the same year, Apple a year later).

I'm objecting to dumb comments, not defending the post.

Criticism of the 30 year window is an intelligent contribution to the discussion. Implying the author is ignorant and stupid because they omitted an example that falls outside the criterion they stated is not.

Yes, the original company was founded in 1975. The breakthrough product R/3 was essentially created in the early 1990s.

And oddly enough, Microsoft was founded in 1975 too, and Oracle in 1977. In other words, none of the three biggest software companies in the world were founded in the last 30 years. And Apple? 1976.

Take your pick - America has not been very successful in the last thirty years in world software leadership, or else the founding date may not be as definitive as a valid criteria when talking about products that cemented those company's dominance. Because America looks a lot less impressive if you take out Oracle, Microsoft, and Apple when talking about tech leadership.

Amazon, Google, Facebook...?

SAP was not started in the past 30 years.

Reading comprehension, sheesh.

R/3 was created in the early 1990s, creating an entirely new category of business software. And do note above the founding dates of Oracle, Microsoft, and Apple.

I can't even fathom what you think you're getting at.

What cp is getting at is that the date of founding is not necessarily the relevant date.

It is perfectly reasonable to look at the company history, see when it produced its breakthrough product, etc., and then decide whether the company was "produced" in the last 30 years. If a firm did that in 1990, say, would it matter if it was founded in 1989 or 1789?

Yes, he specified 30 years, and maybe he just had the founding date in mind, but if so the criterion isn't very sensible.

Skype, ARM,

Skype is part of Microsoft now.

ARM is owned by a Japanese company now.

I am always put off by people that uses words like “China” or “US” as they would be subjects of action. The US is not a monolithic entity, it is 350millons of individuals, with different aspirations and opportunity costs. So, who is “the US”? Their current political elites? But they change, almost every elections, and even they are far from united.

Also, I found this metaphor of an eternal struggle among countries or even civilizations so wrong and tired. Arguably the most successful “country” ever is Switzerland, the contrary of this idea that all countries have to “be on top” of an international order.

+100 Massimo
Who cares if your country is "strong" or "wields a lot of influence" or has the biggest and best army or tank. Only 9 year old boys should be excited by such things. I want my country to focus on being run well, keeping the streets clean and safe and good food on the table.

Sounds good to me. As Peter Thiel said last year, "I want to live in a normal country."

But, but, he moved to LA!!!!!!

The problem is, if you are not strong, someone will come take your clean streets, your table, and your food. Read a little history.

Yep, that certainly describes the last several centuries of the UK, France, and what became Germany, all places that fell apart after someone came ... well, it will happen at some point. History says so, right?

Yes. France was not strong and Chamberlain signalled weakness. Hitler ran through France like shit through a goose. Hitler found an uncooperative enemy in the USSR and was chased back to Germany after Kursk. The Brits got tough under Churchill and won the Battle of Britain. The US entered the war and Hitler was defeated. The US has been the defacto shield around Europe ever since.

That is history.

Never signal weakness.

"Yep, that certainly describes the last several centuries of the UK, France, and what became Germany,"

Those are all countries that have been Great Powers for the last couple of centuries. Meanwhile countries like Mongolia, Tibet, Poland, the Baltic Republics, Finland, etc have been dominated by powerful neighbors.

"Arguably the most successful “country” ever is Switzerland"

A country that has very significant natural terrain to protect it that is backed up by a relatively powerful military. Furthermore, the Swiss have a very distinct national identity. I don't think Switzerland is a good example for the point you are attempting to make. Perhaps Canada?

Did someone expect the Chinese to remain in some sort of Pearl S. Buck narrative where everyone wades around in rice paddies wearing conical hats while the remainder of the world uses Chinese-manufactured cell phones and plasma TVs?

Sounds like they did.

A country is defined by its regime. And Swiss exceptionalism can't really be a model for others.

The United States until the demise of the Jeffersonian Democratic Party followed the same model. Then the Progressive era, the Spanish-American war and the empire happened.

Also, the Nordic countries.

Indeed. With China's rise the US will probably return to it's traditional "isolationist" instance, Trump's election is a reflection of that fact.

Isolationist with nukes, a lotta nukes.

"Indeed. With China’s rise the US will probably return to it’s traditional “isolationist” instance, Trump’s election is a reflection of that fact."

+1, that's a thoughtful post. Though isolationist in this context probably means an aggressive economic oriented foreign policy with a less aggressive militarily oriented foreign policy.

As many commenters here attested Macaes shallowness, I might add another ranty angle:

Maybe some of the century-old companies of Europe only still exist because they remained (or regained) competitive(-ness)? I.e. German carmakers in the 1970-1980s certainly weren't as sure to be the world's leading car brands looking forward, as they are now. They had, for some years, terrible quality issues but bounced back (hey, an entrepreneurial effort that happened within the last 30 years Macaes!).

And reiterating on that angle: Maybe the economic room for so many new companies to start and become successful is only there in the US, because many other companies are so quick to disappear? I.e. Aside from Ford, there is no US carmaker with even comparable quality. Did a Lincoln ever sell in Europe? Even the carmakers scandals speak volumes: German carmakers had subtle software installed, dedicated to recognize if its in a car wash or a emissions testing facility while General Motors killed customers because key fobs could turn of the ignition at full speed.

" Aside from Ford, there is no US carmaker with even comparable quality."

Tesla comes to mind. It's also an American company founded in the last 30 years that a world trend setter.

As I understand it, Trump's policies, such as they are, he adopts by watching "the shows", as he calls them: Trump is the ultimate imitator. Maybe that helps explain Thiel's support of Trump (Thiel was greatly influenced by Girard). It's true that "the shows" have a common ideology, a conservative ideology, and that "the shows" are intentionally provocative, to maintain the attention of viewers with short attention spans. But if that's true, then the policies aren't Trump's, the policies belong to "the shows". I suppose a Girard disciple would argue that all presidents (and people generally) have a mimetic desire, it's just that we don't acknowledge it. After all, what difference does it make if a president mimics "the shows" rather than his "advisers".

Be grateful he doesn't read MR.

Be thabkfull he doesn't read. There, I fixed it for you.

For those who would argue that "advisers" are experts, I would respond that experts are not always right and, moreover, they sometimes act as rogue agents. The revelation that Paul Bremer is a ski instructor in Vermont has resurrected the story of who ordered Bremer to disband the Iraqi army even though the principals had decided not to disband the army (dismantling the army resulted in the Sunni insurgency, the army having consisted of mostly Sunni Muslims). The consensus view is that it was Cheney and his disciples, who ignored the decision of the principals (that is, the president) and ordered Bremer to disband the army. If true, why hasn't something been done to punish them? Of course, nothing has been done about it because the decisions of the principals are not transparent. What if the president were to adopt policies he sees promoted on "the shows", and what if one of those policies resulted in a disaster. Would "the shows" do nothing, while their ratings cratered for being blamed for the disaster? In other words, the economic incentive for "the shows" may protect us from rogue agents within the administration. Consider this: what if Trump threatens to follow the advice of John Bolton and attack North Korea or Iran, likely resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, a disaster that the public may blame on "the shows" since Bolton had been a fixture on "the shows" and an advocate of war against North Korea and Iran. Do "the shows" sit idly by while the military prepares for what would likely be a catastrophic war, or do "the shows" suddenly experience a revelation like St. Paul and oppose the war?

Get a life - you are hallucinating!

“the shows” Got the new talking points, eh?

Those are Trump's own words. No talking points needed.

This is why he's trying to make our immigration policy more European?

Probably a good policy (for the US and the world) for the US to give up even any attempt at leadership, as outlined in the post, if we are going to have Trumps going forward. Reason enough not to have any more.

He got some of the Euros to pay their contracted 2% of GDP for defense. That is like teaching self-reliance to children. Europe is a continent of silly children who have learned the wrong lesson from WWII.

"Interesting throughout" - now that's excellent sarcasm.

Trump may be more open about it, but he is hardly the first American president to think Europe is a has-been.

As I said before - Europe is toast.

The EU does indeed prevent any European power from rising up to any role of global relevance. The lead dog Germany is forever distracted by the rest of team pulling in all directions. Trump will soon be deposed by the deep state and the US will wind up in 2020 with yet another of the pompous poseurs with which it has been plagued, the presidency but a public relations office for the aggrandizement of the most vain among us. China will rule the world and reduce humanity to abject state servitude....unless India steps up to save us all. Help us Narendra Modi, you are our only hope!

Very interesting, though I always read these analyses with a grain of a salt. Is this, for example, among the burdened uses of "insofar as" ever written?

When regulators, with risk weighted capital requirements, told banks finance the “safer” present consumption and stay away from the “riskier” future production, and the Western elite said nothing… that was the beginning of its end.

I would prefer Europe unite against Russia with a treaty like NATO, at least for Eastern Europe. An attack on one is an attack on all.

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