Vice President Mike Pence along with chief members of the president’s cabinet visited Europe in a move to repair relations, which soured after the inauguration of the Trump administration. It is also important to Japan that the U.S.-Europe alliance remain strong. Hopefully, President Trump will refrain from making more disruptive statements and alleviate anxiety by working out a stable diplomatic policy soon.
By repeating statements before his inauguration that the EU is a “vehicle for Germany” and NATO is behind the times, Trump has invited strong opposition from Europe.
With their visits, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis showed that they are taking America's relationship with the EU and NATO seriously. They may be feeling a sense of impending danger from the growing rift between the U.S. and Europe.
I welcome the fact that top members of the Trump administration delivered level-headed, appropriate messages. Voices of acknowledgment were also heard from Europe.
However, this is not enough to eliminate fears regarding America. It is unclear whether diplomatic policies are being properly shared among members of the administration. Trump continues to generate controversy with his statements, and with the many inaccuracies in his understanding and way of thinking about global affairs.
For example, he is not transparent about how he is dealing with Russia. In a meeting with Russia's foreign minister, Secretary Tillerson sought to make Russia adhere to the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine, and Tillerson is considered to have a cautious stance toward Russia.
Is this something Trump agrees with? Trump who has shown he wants to improve relations with Russia?
It's likely that Russia, which is willing to change the current international order by force, will take advantage of any missteps from Europe and the United States. I would like to see Trump cooperate effectively with Europe, each bouncing ideas off of the other to form a structure of cooperation.
There are plenty of issues concerning unity between the U.S. and Europe. In a meeting with NATO ministers, Defense Secretary Mattis demanded greater effort from allied nations that spend little on defense. There is a chance this could develop into a conflict with the U.S. if Europe does not respond.
There is a growing sense of uncertainty surrounding Germany and France's internal affairs – both nations will be holding important elections this year. Europe is in a situation where it is struggling to endure a centripetal force.
Instability in the U.S.-European alliance will cause worldwide instability, Japan included. America's stance on China is no less unclear. In order to get Trump to see the current state of the world and get back on track with a reasonable course of diplomacy, it is necessary for Japan and Europe to cooperate.