Many things are said about Trump's friends. There is some political data that indirectly should be taken into account if we want to know, more or less, what will be the international policy of the United States at this phase that begins on Jan. 20. Trump has said, and has put it into practice, that what is good for General Motors is good for the United States. Let us also add: and lousy for Mexico. Let us join GM now; what is good for large technology companies is also good for the United States. And, overall, what is good for Trump is good for his country. The same thing we could say in Spain at our modest level, that what is good for Telefónica is good for Spain; and add Zara, Caixa, Santander Bank or El Corte Inglés. And each country has its circle of interests that, in one way or another, it protects.
Aznar* had a very bad relationship with Yeltsin, Putin’s predecessor. But when Yeltsin became president of Russia in 1999 and Bush Jr. became president of the United States more or less at the same time in 2001, everything changed. Bush was the architect of the good relationship of our president with the Russian leader, a good relationship that continues today. Since the fall of the Wall, all Republican presidents (Reagan, both Bushes and now Trump) have had a harmony that has led them to walk on converging paths in international politics with Russia. Oil has a lot to do with it. It is what Kissinger calls American realpolitik, and what led to President Nixon (Republican) ending the Vietnam War (which was started by the Democrat Kennedy) and beginning a period of convergence with China.
The new president is likely to moderate his bullying over time. Reagan, a little more experienced in political life, did not fall short either. I remember one [incident] that took place in the summer of 1984 when he was before an open microphone that he believed was off and he joked about pushing the button and launching nuclear missiles onto the USSR. The joke did not sit well with Chernenko and in Moscow, the city where I was that summer after coming from Irkutsk, and it was what everyone was talking about. Trump has not been, thus far, so daring.
The international policy of the new American administration will change little compared to that of its Republican predecessors. There is an excellent analysis by Henry Kissinger titled “World Order” that has been published in Spanish this past year (Debate). There, I think, are the keys to where American politics will go. And where will they go? Where they have already been in past decades: reinforcing the alliance with Britain (free already of the EU), Russia and China. And Israel. Definitive abandonment of energy dependence on the Arab countries. And relentless struggle – allies with Russia – against Islamic terrorism to the final victory at whatever the cost. This is a war that began on Sept. 11, 2001 and has not yet fought its most decisive battles.
And where do the European Union and Japan remain? Here is the great unknown that only we will be able to unveil. What seems clear is that in this world we now call global the influence of the great powers in the election results seems decisive. There is the skirmish between the CIA and Russia. In France this year a period of uncertainty is opening up before the presidential election battle. Le Pen is not likely to be chosen, but what is certain is that the next president will be a person like Fillon: tough and with strong beliefs.
What happened in Britain and the United States has opened the eyes of many people who were asleep. The policies that seemed abandoned with the fall of "Aznar's friends" (Bush, Putin, Berlusconi and Blair) have been reinstalled on the world stage with other faces and perhaps with less culture and refinement. Not that the old players were a paragon of finesse. Is this terrible? It is very disappointing for the self-styled "progressive" world. But if the so-called "conservatives" do not make mistakes as huge as the war in Iraq, maybe this new stage will even turn out to be cathartic.
*Editor’s note: José María Aznar served as Prime Minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004.