Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?

Sep 16, 2020 · 386 comments
Purity of (Essence)
The EU wants America to fight Russia so the EU can have Ukraine. There are plenty of myopic warmongers in the United States who would be just fine with that, but it would permanently ruin our relations with Russia, and would irrevocably drive the Russians into the Chinese camp. Then America would be forced to bear the burden of dealing with both simultaneously. It would be a disaster: America will have her hands full with China alone; she cannot afford to take on both Russia and China while the EU sits by and does nothing about each. If that were to happen the USA would very likely collapse under the weight of having to check multiple great powers on multiple fronts, far away in Asia. Wouldn't that be convenient for the EU? In fact, encouraging the United States to do just that almost appears to be part of some kind of plan...
Briano (Ct.)
No one will be happier over a Biden victory than our allies in Europe. Gleeful gratitude will over be overflowing when the thief loses. Please God.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
Like Pandora, the American voters let Donald Trump out of the box, and there is no putting him and the incalculable idiocy, racism, ignorance, recklessness, lawlessness, arrogance, and fatuousness he and his supporters represent back in. Once someone shows you that they're have psychotic tendencies, they can never be trusted ever again.
Nate (Manhattan)
in a NY minute.
David Baldwin (Petaluma)
I am utterly dismayed that the GOP, which rattles its sabers and proclaims itself strong on defense, has allowed this erosion in our relationship with our European allies. Such stupidity. With Trump gone what will republicans have to say about their cowardice? Do they think we will forget?
RLJ (Manhattan)
Wake up and smell the coffee. Trump is obviously a Russian agent (and/or useful idiot) who is doing his "good friend" Vladimir Putin's dirty work in Europe. Not to mention in the United States of America.
Matthias (Germany)
The questions are: Are you ready to lose your leadership (Europe won't get it)? After November 3rd, will you be prepared for the future? We are your partners here and we were devoted, that was pleasant for us. And your victory in this partnership was the important strategic base to control a really large area of ​​the world. It was a win-win situation for you and us. The world is changing under Trump. Trump leaves the world to itself.
Edmond (Marseille)
Re Russia You are picturing Macron as an opponent of Putin This is, politely speaking, misleading Macron has visited Putin seven times since Macron took office in May 2017. More than any other Western Leader Macron hosted Putin at the Versailles Palace at the beginning of his tenure - pulling out all the stops -, led a business delegation to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and stressed the importance of Russia in solving the Syrian crisis and the Iran nuclear crisis many times. Macron sees Putin as an essential part of Europe and as an valuable ally to prevent Germany's Merkel - who is much tougher on Putin - to play the leader of Europe. In his vision of France, that role belongs to France
Angstrom Unit (Brussels)
The damage has been done. Proud ignorance, racism and criminality is now the brand of the Republican Party and a significant portion of the American populace. There's no going back unless it is expunged by an effort similar to the denazification and reconciliation of Germany. Fat chance.
vbering (Pullman WA)
It is past time for the Europeans to put on their big-boy pants and defend themselves militarily against the Russians. They should also be able to project power around the world to defend their interests. Of course that would require less time in the coffeehouses complaining about America and more time risking their lives for their countries. I'm sick and tired of the Europeans free riding. The same goes for Canada. Cut 'em loose. See how they like it. Now if they do in fact get their defense budgets up to a serious level, then maybe we have something to talk about.
Mike Edwards (Providence, RI)
Forget Eurpope and go with Britain, soon to be free of the EU's shackles.
New World (NYC)
The Europeans have burnt their lips on American friendship They will be hesitant to fully trust us again.
Mutt Furball (The Great Flyover)
If Trump wins, Putin wins. If Biden wins, Putin is finished!
Astrid De Clercq (Leuven, Belgium)
As a Belgian and firm believer in the EU and NATO, I find it disgusting how Europe and the USA acquiesced to Putin's absorbing the Crimea. Even worse is the EU's looking the other way regarding the crypto-fascist Viktor Orbán in Hungary. Why can't we unite and blackball that creep?
Jackson (Virginia)
Maybe they start paying their fair share. I think we should pull out of Germany completely. Old Angela is quite okay with Putin putting in a pipeline there.
sym (london uk)
Can’t believe the USA doesn’t have better candidates both are a con in different ways
W in the Middle (NY State)
Looks like your first sojourn to the US started in ’93… With that, you’ve seen four NYC mayors in depth… 2 ½ Dems and 1 ½ GOPers… Rank them – and them come back and talk to us…
Tom osterman (Cincinnati zOhio)
The path forward for the Biden Presidency is really quite simple. 1) Find the brightest, keenest minds he can (especially) from the Millennial Generation. 2) Pick a chief of staff with vision and organizational/administrative capabilities. 3) Instruct all of them to study in great detail every solitary thing Trump did over the lasf 4 years. 4) Then in EVERY case go forward and do the exact opposite. Start with rejoining the Global Climate Initiative. By 2024 the Republicans, white supremacists and Evangelicals will be beside themselves how easy it was for Democrats to govern. And finally: Make an executive order that says, "no mulligans for anybody including the president. no vengeance on Republicans as they will be licking their wounds from the scars from the Trump Presidency and in the first sign of a crisis, invite all living ex-presidents to the White House for their counsel, including, Trump, if you want to enjoy a "speechless" Trump.
ratherbegolfin (Ky)
Preparing for the worst? We've been doing that for 4 years now. When will this nightmare be over?
God (Heaven)
“Last month, when the United States asked the Security Council to approve extending a ban on the sale of conventional weapons to Iran, it came as a surprise to no one but Washington that, out of the 14 other Council members, only one, the Dominican Republic, came to America’s support.” We banana republics need to stick together.
Kanenas (Nowhere)
If Trump wins, NATO will sink, World War III will be looming, Putin will take over completely. If Trump wins, we'll be remembering the good ol' days of 2020. If Trump wins, God help us all!
I do not understand the fascination with Europe they have a stagnant economy except for Germany, social unrest with large amount of migrants and far right leave them to their own devices and watch them implode, we have enough problems here
Johnny Comelately (San Diego)
We need to return control of the USA to the hands of thoughtful people of conscience. Having a criminal dictatorship isn't going to work. We have no allies anymore.
PKJohnson (Houstonian Abroad)
EU could aggressively woo talent away from the USA now.
Bill Brasky (USA)
The United States has proven itself untrustworthy. Our signature on an agreement always subject to change. Our moral standing replaced by transactionalism. I could not do business with such a an "ally". And neither can Europe.
Independent (the South)
Even if Biden gets elected, the problem for Europe is that if Americans once elected a con-man like Trump, Americans can do it again.
Lucy Cooke (California)
@Independent What on earth is wrong with Europe, in that it relies on the US for leadership?! At least China and Russia show some spine. As for Russia, the facts are unacknowledged, but NATO is in the wrong, being so forceful in moving to Russian borders. December 2017 the National Security Archive at George Washington University posted online declassified US, Soviet, German, British and French documents revealing promises made to Gorbachev in February 1990, that if he removed all troops from East Germany and agreed to the reunification of Germany, in the words of George H. W. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker, “iron-clad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward”. NATO expansion is the driving force behind the new US-Russian Cold War. The US is incapable of leading the world towards a more harmonious future. Perhaps Europe, too, is incapable of working with other countries towards a better future, emphasizing what all countries have in common, rather than their differences. The future will surely be interesting, but unless Europe stops relying on the US for leadership, it may be more violent, with more killing, destruction, and refugees and no hope for a sustainable, livable planet.
John (Niagara Falls, ON)
@Lucy Cooke Your premise is incorrect. The EU doesn't look to the USA for leadership. This sounds like an echo of the 'history' that many Americans get taught as a child. It's American exceptionalism. Let's try to look at the world a little more realistically, shall we?
steve (hawaii)
@Lucy Cooke Yeah, but not even Gorbachev would have believed that. You cannot systematically imprison, torture, brutalize and oppress billions of people over the centuries and not expect payback. NATO expansion is not the driving force behind the new Cold War. It's Putin's desire to maintain Russian hegemony.
Bill C (Indianapolis)
I think the first Executive Order that President Biden signs shoiuld simply state: 'This Executive Order cancels and revokes every single EO signed by POTUS # 45' It would save time and be a fantastic start to his presidency.
Nikki (Islandia)
@Bill C Amusing, but part of Europe's (and the world's) problem. What do you do when the former superpower United States has become so dysfunctional that every 4 or at most 8 years, the next administration comes in and reverses everything the previous administration did? You can't even have treaties at all in that scenario. Every new administration means diplomacy is starting from scratch and the US cannot be counted on to honor any agreement or treaty a previous president has made.
smilecalm (NCal)
@Bill C While not an elected official I second that motion.
Seatant (New York, NY)
@Bill C Wait, didn't the Supreme Court say that Trump couldn't rescind Obama's Executive Order regarding DACA on the theory that it violated the APA? Watch for the lawsuits if Biden tries a blanket cancellation.
David Michael (Eugene, Oregon)
Dramatic changes need to be established for the office of president (USA). They include obvious ones like: 20 years of tax returns made public, mandatory physical exam made public, security reviews similar to those needed to apply for a job at the FBI. Most importantly, a review of a candidates monetary history. For someone like Trump, he never would havee been allowed to run for office. He would have failed nearly all of the above requirements from tax returns to physical fitness to security reviews. The president's office has run amuck with too much power given to one person. There needs to be a more reasonable balance so someone like Trump can never be elected to the office of president.
Alex K (Elmont)
Compared to Obama, Trump is the one who really believe and promote alliances. Middle East is a clear example. While Obama allied with Mullahs of Iran, Trump allied with our traditional Arab allies and there are real results. In the case of NATO, Trump made it much more strong than under OBAMA. The difference is that under Obama EU countries took advantage of American generosity, but Trump told them it is no longer possible. Trump's policies are good for both America and NATO.
John (Niagara Falls, ON)
A European military alliance that replaces NATO would not be the worst development in the world. When division and nationalism have run rampant on that continent, the body count has been high. Full-on unity, a political non-starter, never made sense, nor did the Euro.
Roberta (Greenfield MA)
Seems like the EU is managing just fine without us! It's a new century, and maybe finally in this one we won't be expected to police the world, fix all the problems, and pay for it too.
Roberta Lucarelli (New York)
The EU is a great human achievement, it is the first super-national institution, the next step from international organization (the UN was a great American creation), a model for all. It is facing a big crisis now, and if the EU fails, it is a failure for all humankind.
Robb Kvasnak (Rio de Janeiro)
I first read Thomas Edsalʻs article "Whose America is it?" Then this by Sylvie Kaufmann. Reading the two in that order makes me cringe and I, too, living in the US now, again, am preparing for the worst. Knowing how winding and wahrheitsfremd (alien to truth) so many American men away from international contact are, the fear of a second Trump will remain in everybodyʻs bones for a long time. Mr. Biden, if elected, will have his work cut out for him on the domestic plane as well as on the international plane. He is going to need a lot of wise and selfless people ready to sacrifice all of the free time in order to pull Excalibur out of the stone.
Greg (Sacramento)
Further political and military integration of the E.U. is, perhaps, one positive that can come out of the political and social devolution we've endured over the last three and a half years in the United States. European leadership is increasingly an essential commodity these days--it's not a question of when, that time is past, but how quickly it can coalesce as needed. We are counting on you, as you are the backstop of global democracy. I believe for us, we are entering into a period of prolonged political instability, as segments of the body politic and country seem increasingly geared (and sadly armed) for internal war rather than peace. It will be a distraction and an incredible drain on the country, to say the least, in the coming years. We will need beacons of progress and sanity. That's where you come in. Keep the lights on.
Terry (Montana)
It’s been said many times that Trump is the symptom and not the disease. Europe is finally realizing this, even if most Americans have yet to look in the mirror and see the problem. America’s biggest failure is legislative. For decades they’ve ceded power to the executive, to the point where their ability to act as a check against that power has been eroded. Congress needs to take its power back, and the only way to do that will be a period of single party—meaning, Democratic Party—rule. That’s the only way we’ll be able to rebuild the institutions the current administration has allowed to languish if not actively work to destroy. The sad reality is that we will only have one shot at this. Four more years of Trump (and really, given that he’s already talking about additional terms for himself there’s no guarantee that’s all we’ll have...) and this country’s status as a failed state or outright dictatorship will be assured. It’s a story Europe has seen unfold before, but as our allies it’s a situation they can't comment upon. We have to choose the correct course ourselves. I hope we choose wisely.
Greg S (Louisville, KY)
Synergy, emergence or the whole is something beside the sum of its parts all explain why the NATO Alliance remains vital to us. The world is definitely a complex system, in which collaborative plans and actions effectively multiply national power. Perhaps if we partner rather than lead, the relationship will be more durable. For example, should we continue Europe defense spending at a higher rate than European nations? We have done so by our choice. Does it make sense going forward?
Although my first choice was not Joe Biden, he is now the candidate and has my vote. Until this article appeared, I, like apparently many others, have been focusing largely on domestics problems and the president’s mishandling of them. Let us first change the personnel in the White House and hopefully, the Senate, top to bottom. Joe Biden, having served recently with a president loved by Europeans, has the skill set and access to the right people to begin the task of rebuilding our international reputation. I keep remembering how fast things went south in 2017. Biden will need to hit the ground running. We need nothing less than a complete rout in November.
Anton Leimbach (Tennessee)
Russia has much to fear from a EU unleashed from the stabilizing influence of the United States. Maybe the Russians think otherwise but they do not have the industrial power, or population to compete with the EU.
Purity of (Essence)
@Anton Leimbach Russia isn't the menace it is often made out to be, but at the same time underestimating Russia is another kind of mistake that people bizarrely continue to make over, and over, and over again.
Federalist (California)
The Germans are rearming and revitalizing their military having let it decay until recently. One very interesting trend is the increased training for integration of combat ready units of the French and German Armies and also integrating brigades from other European countries with the German Army. Effectively and quietly creating the core of a future pan European Army. This is not necessarily a good thing for the US.
Andrea (Belgium)
@Federalist So what do you want? A US that claims to shoulder the heavy load and complains when it's allies don't make the same effort? (But then you can control them and use the disparity to complain to your US voters - and you can strong arm them to buy your overpriced if not useless weapon systems?) Or allies that step up but may not agree to your priorities? Or will balk at lining the pockets of your retired generals and colonels and prefer to develope their own weapons? You can't have your cake and eat it too. Or at least, that would take a much more diplomatic touch then even Obama (let alone Trump) possesses.
Fred (Munich, Germany)
@Federalist "Effectively and quietly creating the core of a future pan European Army." Before Trump, the guideline has been: "what is good for the USA, is also good for rest of the world". If Trump has made Europe finally realize, that we need a European Army, than we have at least one reason to feel grateful to him. The "European Defence Agency" has been founded in 2004. Its most important task is planning and coordinating military needs. It is NOT an army; as far as I know, the UK has always been prohibiting a European Army, as they considered that as a competition for NATO. As the UK has left the EU (and consequently also EDA) on Jan. 31, 2020, we might get more opportunities for a European Army. I would love to see more attention paid to a European defence against cyber attacks, because in future wars computers and software might be more important than bombs and planes. Trump has also made clear, that we should avoid being dependent on the USA for the hardware or the software. An nice example of an alternative way to spend defence money: the flying IC-Unit "A310 MedEvac", which has been used to bring Italian Covid-Patients from Bergamo to Germany:
Doctor S (NY)
I do not see how Biden can fix it when 45 percent of US citizens think like Trump. That the US is always at war is not exactly a success of foreign policy. On this one, Trump is correct. And yes, we could use the money spent on useless military equipment to fix the decrepit infrastructure. It would be blessing for peace that the dollar is no longer the preeminent international currency.
Bob Straight (Fredericksburg, VA)
The so-called experts and opinion-shapers insist that old paradigms (i.e., NATO members, excepting US, not meeting defense spending agreements) must continue, regardless of new realities. Specifically, the US is no longer in a position to carry the weight for our European allies. They must strive to be more militarily capable and willing to bear a larger part of the overall load. Trump is attempting to break that paradigm and is doing so with tough love, not settling for promises to do more at some later date. Good on Trump. This does not mean that the US is forfeiting its leadership role.
Kate UK (Wales)
Once again, the US is not the only Country paying the agreed percentage of GDP for defence -U.K. and Greece do so for a start. You should also be reminded that the only time NATO has been called into military action was after 9/11 - European and Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan and the even more pointless Iraq war. I am sick and tired of hearing that Europe doesn’t pull its weight. Perhaps if the US spent less on the military it could solve some of its problems at home.
Matt (Miami)
I think that Trump has some things right on foreign policy. Europe should pay more and be responsible for more of its security. The Iran nuclear deal provided funding that allowed Iran to cause chaos in the regime, and it was a good thing to cancel it. China is a much greater threat than Russia and needed immediate countering. Unfortunately I see Biden negatively changing the U.S. foreign policy direction (listed above) so I will vote for Trump.
Mathias Weitz (Frankfurt aM, Germany)
America must heal itself first. We have to be sure, that america is heading into the right direction for some time, before we decide to run along.
Montreal Moe (North of the Vermont border)
Europe should have started to break away when Reagan was elected. The ethics of liberal democracy are not those of a neoliberal plutocracy. I can't help think that now that Obama has learned there is a red and a blue America he is ready to be President but is disqualified now that he understands the job.
Peter (Chicago)
@Montreal Moe Obama was very naive and not ready for prime time. He was a charismatic speech maker. That’s about all. When it came to nurturing the party apparatus at state and national levels he was a terrible politician. And as for his reputation as a competent technocrat, I have no idea what people think warranted such respect.
Robert (Out west)
Yeah, I’m sure that a liberal-minded black man who lived all over this country and served in two legislatures never noticed that there were differences. Good grief.
William Case (United States)
The Soviet Union’s population was 293 million, but the USSR no longer exists. Russia’s population is 144 million while the European Union population is 447 million. Yet in 1995, Europe had to rely on U.S. forces to end the Kosovo War. The 
European Union couldn’t handle Serbia, which had a population of about 10 million. It is time the European Union take over the policing of Europe.
Helleborus (Germany)
William Case, the EU could well be a military super power (based on population and GDP), but this is exactly what the US never wanted. So there was an agreement: US nukes protect Europe from Russia, in return Europe doesn‘t compete with the US as a miltary world power.
R (Texas)
@Helleborus The EU in the immediate future will never be able to compete with the US as a military world power. It has significant constraints in integration of goals. However, what it can do, and must do, is provide for the security of its own territorial integrity. Americans demand that. As outlined in the Viewpoint, there is crisis on every front for Continental Europe. Protracted summer vacations, socialized healthcare and political "navel observation" is now over.
Robert (Out west)
It is time that folks quit relying on distorting history and intoning Phrases like, “It is time,” is what time it is.
The fiscal fraud of the USA in Europe amounts to 20 % of the EU budget annually. The equivalent of the EU deficit. All the biggest US firms are fiscally registered in Europe, not the USA ,in order to cheat to pay no taxes while invading the European markets. And also stealing private citizens data without respecting the European laws . Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Netflix, and many others . All in Europe fiscally. Repatriating the stolen cash via London and the secret offshore banks in the Caribbean .
Steve (Sonora, CA)
The downfall of the US will come when the EU, China, and the oil producers get serious about replacing the USD as the international settlement currency. The (abortive) effort to circumvent US restrictions on Iran trade shows this is technically possible. The adoption of the TPP sans US approval shows this is politically possible. I mention on two of the major players - and by some measures, the US is already third behind the EU and China. Toss in south and southeast Asia, Japan, Brazil, India, North America ... these combined economies don't need the US, even as a market. All that is lacking is political will to freeze us out. All that is lacking is the political will.
Peter (Chicago)
@Steve That’s really funny. Considering Europe’s defense is like a geriatric without teeth. That would be treated as an act of war no doubt with terrible consequences for the entire West obviously. Yet Europe would be crazy to do so.
Independent (the South)
My guess is the reason Washington politicians were happy to take on a larger role (expense) in NATO is because it benefited the Military Industrial Complex who then gave campaign contributions to the Washington politicians.
Rudy Ludeke (Falmouth, MA)
An excellent assessment Ms. Kaufmann, one that Mr. Trump's followers should read. Unfortunately, they won't, as their vast majority have no idea, nor a historical perspective of how the US-EU developed and how this relationship prospered to the benefits, from economic, defensive to cultural, to both. We, as a nation, have become more estranged with our European brethren - as well as with the rest of the world- as over the last few decades they are progressively perceived more as competitors than partners, takers rather than sharers and thankless rather than grateful for our past historic sacrifices. And with this president, they dare to be disobedient and even challenge him! The bulk of Trump's supporters share his dim views of foreigners, a mindset born from inadequate education, lack of curiosity about other cultures and countries, and a lack of travel experience. All contribute to a gullibility factor that may well keep Trump in the White House for another term. And even if not, their political reckoning will strain the effectiveness of a more progressive government for a generation, as I don't see much a mass-enlightenment coming any time soon.
Rudi (NYC)
@Rudy Ludeke Excellent analysis! From a Rudi to a Rudy
faivel1 (NY)
Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke? The simple answer is it will take decades for the country to recover. Bob Woodward said he had a moral choice, but since he's devoid of morality his choice was obvious. Why is he still doing press conferences, when all people hear is his endless   lies. Just using the time to be on TV, this is the only thing that keeps him alive. He doesn't give a damn that hundreds of thousands of Americans are dead, that he forever ruined our country, our economy and plunged millions of us in deep despair. He just wanted to be on TV and since no TV contracts were forthcoming, he decided to be president. He is not burdened by the fact that he's going into the dark part of history as a worthless cheap charlatan at best and a horrendous criminal with all this blood on his hands at worst. How do people get so evil or are they born evil?
Blaise Descartes (Seattle)
This is a good essay and suggests several items that should be on the agenda if Biden is elected in November. First, the G& should be restored to a position of prominence in the US strategy to lead the democracies of the world to a future with greater freedom. Instead of just the US, it could be the G7 which condemns China for loss of freedoms in Hong Kong. It is the G7 that could help provide a united front in trade negotiations with China. It is the G7 which might promote an alternative vision for use of the internet---not governmental control, but the preservation of individual rights as technology makes pervasive surveillance possible. Another agenda item is an isolated front vis-a-vis Russia. We want Russia to enter the group of civilized nations but this requires a change in behavior. The poisoning of Navalny should be clearly called out by the US President as unacceptable. The Nord Stream pipe line which will take natural gas from Russia to Germany is undoubtedly good for both countries, but it also gives a united EU and the US leverage to make Putin clean up his act. It may be that NATO is no longer useful. Biden and the European leaders should discuss new treaties that are designed to fight the new threats arising from terrorism and rogue nations. And of course, we should resurrect the Iran nuclear deal insofar as possible and restore the US to the Paris climate accords. Trump has been a disaster. Let's hope Biden can fix some of the damage.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
The U.S. still has a "relationship" with Europe?
Helleborus (Germany)
The US still have a relationship with Europe but they have filed for divorce. And the US want sole custody for Great Britain.
c-c-g (New Orleans)
Not only should the EU prepare to take charge of their own future, but us Americans should do the same if Trump steals the '20 election. If that happens: abortion may end, social security may be cut, Medicare will be cut and turned over to the states like Medicaid, and Lord knows what our environment will look like in 4 yrs., no other country but Russia and Israel will speak to us, and we'll be in a full Cold War with China. Our national deficit will be at least $5 trillion so no other country will want our Treasuries for fear they won't be worth the paper they're printed on, and racial riots will be routine throughout the US. But the neoconservatives will have their guy !!
Helleborus (Germany)
Why would Trump steal the election if he can buy it?
Fourteen14 (Boston)
Since the US election will strongly affect their interests and future, Europe should be meddling in the election as everyone else is. The US election has global consequences; everyone should be casting their vote. It would be negligent to not do so.
Ajax (Western Hemisphere)
I would like to reassure my European friends and family that the relations that are growing awkward are those with the clown who currently inhabits the White House, and the sadly significant fraction of legislators who are too cowardly to stand up to him. There are still many of us who treasure our European ancestry, culture, history and Enlightenment values. As we came together in your hour of need eighty years ago, I am certain that we will come together again. This storm will also abate.
Mister (Tea)
Dear Europe, We really weren't happy about Russia interfering with the 2016 election. That said, you've got some pretty smart cookies over in your 44 nations and if any of them would like to counter-interfere--or otherwise help stop this oligarch-enabled mad man--many of us would be very grateful. Sincerely, The Good Americans
Helleborus (Germany)
Mister good American, our cookies tried to get you a democratic candidate who can beat Trump, but they failed.
Michael OFarrell (Sydney, Australia)
Not just Europe but other “allies” like Australia too. We’ve learned the hard lesson that an agreement, alliance, deal, or treaty with the United States is something they might just walk away from and the political/government system there is too broken to prevent it. The US report card is now marked “U” for unreliable. The consequences of that will reverberate for years.
Mark Eliasson (Sweden)
"Europe" is a word used very different here, and often in a misleading way. I'm from Sweden, we're part of a trade union with some federal elements, called the EU, but it's not a state, (2/3) of all laws are unique to each member state. It doesn't have a police force,military or anything like that. It's main purpose is peace and prosperity, and even though it has it's flaws, it has worked out quite well. Brexit was a shame, but ultimately the British will loose more than the rest of EU, and i am pretty sure they will come back within 10-15 years anyway. Referring to Greece economic mismanagement within the EU as a "European" problem is like saying Venezuela's problems are "American", or claiming that Belarus is a European country is like putting USA and Belize in the same box. Russia, with a despicable leader Putin, has never attacked a western country, never, they have however been attacked on 3 major occasions from the west. I realize i'm simplifying a little, but i thought it was time to set some records straight :)!
Jack P (Buffalo)
@Mark Eliasson Finland, your neighbor is not a "Western" country?
Suzanne Wheat (North Carolina)
From the bad behavior of American tourists to the bad behavior on the part of Trump and his minions. Look how far we've come!
longsummer (London)
The greatest worry for Europeans (even Brits) is not whether Trump of Biden will win, but how this could even be a question after the last 4 years. How can >40% of American voters be capable of considering Trump to be a rational vote? It makes one wonder.
markd (michigan)
Biden needs to invite the G8 heads to Washington the week after the election and straighten things out with them. Assure them that Trump was an aberration that will go down in our history as a last gasp of a traitorous big money cabal that tried to make America a kleptocracy and failed.
Tom W. (Cambridge Springs, PA)
Since the advent of weapons of mass destruction the need for communication, consistency and caution among the Earth’s powerful nations has become imperative. For seventy-five years we have avoided World War III, not because we’ve suddenly learned to internationally get along with one another, but from sober realization of the disaster such a conflict would cause. As the United States moves through its four-year presidential electoral cycle, it is assumed that ALL serious candidates understand the current global strategic realities. To participate, they must. Communication, consistency, caution — and let’s add — a willingness to compromise. These are not optional. The alternative may well involve global annihilation. President Trump has, at no time since taking office, displayed any understanding of the diplomatic/peace keeping role he’s taken on. “We’re seventy-five years into a nuclear balancing act, Mr. President. You have a well-defined part to play.” America cannot suddenly lurch in the direction of surly nationalism. At least not safely. We can’t foresake and insult our allies. We cannot fawn over tyrants. We can’t afford a fake president. Your job, Mr. Trump involves CONTINUITY. In order to do your job you must be knowledgeable, thoughtful, rational and sane. We need a president who reads intelligence reports. Who carefully considers the advice of well chosen advisors. Who is capable of balance — his own, our countries, and our place among the world’s nations.
Lala (France)
NATO can be saved if and only if the next American president and his successors put their full weight behind the organization. Nothing less. Without a reinforced NATO, the EU will go its own way in terms of defense. That includes production of military equipment, the building of a defense industry. While this is good either way, in one scenario that defense industry will be a competitor to the US defense industry. If NATO fails, the US will be isolated, The EU will survive the outfall. Take it or leave it. Obama wrecked it, Trump dumped it. The lost American decade.
AE (France)
@Lala With such 'reliable' members of NATO as Poland and Turkey, its eventual dissolution would hardly be something to regret. But it is vital for the remaining members of Europe to get the wake-up call and invest seriously in a pan-European defence scheme sans the 'United' States which is now missing in action.
Flaminia (Los Angeles)
@Lala I’m curious: how did Obama wreck it? All I remember is that he agreed to follow the urging of France and the United Kingdom and involved us in the civil war in Libya. That certainly didn’t turn out to be a move beneficial to the US’ interest.
JD (Barcelona)
Europe does not speak with a single voice. The EU doesn't even speak with a single voice. It is unfortunate that the U.S. government is leaving a void of power and influence in Europe, but assuming that void will be filled by Europe itself is unrealistic. The divide between the north and the south, combined with the autocratic rule of some countries (e.g. Hungary), makes that untenable.
Ronald B. Duke (Oakbrook Terrace, Il.)
Europe's post-WWII NATO afterlife couldn't go on forever; why don't we scuttle the UN as well? Russia is not the threat everyone likes to imagine it is, its greatest worry has to be china which isn't across the sea, but right next door. And notice how Mr. Trump's middle east success is being studiously ignored by his opponents. If Mr. Biden had done that he'd be a sure thing for the Nobel Prize, but nobody should expect Mr. Trump to get it! The liberal establishment is so consumed by Trump-hatred that they constitute a China-or-Russia-size opposition in their own right, maybe they could let up a bit.
AE (France)
@Ronald B. Duke Foreigners lambast Americans for their ignorance of world history. See recent polls revealing Americans' thoughts about the Holocaust. Yet I am taken aback by your sanguine vision of Russia... tell the Ukrainians that they are 'not the threat everyone like to imagine'....
Pundit (Paris)
Europeans used to think America was different: it couldn't happen THERE. Now, they know it can. Can America regain a leadership position? Does it WANT to? There is no clear answer to either question. The uncertainty makes for a more dangerous world.
Nicholas (Utah)
My prediction: This country is so polarized now (thanks to the sexual predator/compulsive liar/incompetent businessman/3rd rate game show host) that we will see civil war before the end of this year..... and while that is going on Putin, Kim and Xi Jinping will be laughing all the way to their nuclear buttons. Thanks Donnie, good job.
sal (nyc)
Is the Europeans as incompetent, and helpless as described? The liberation of the continent, and the Marshall plan was no small task. just pay your share and stop whining, we will protect you as we have done before.
Linnea Mielcarek (Los Angeles)
of course biden he could fix a lot of what trump has broken. he could bring back decency and civility as well as honesty. he would have a lot of work to do such as building up the state department and firing all those in various departments that trump put in like that wacko caputo. but it can be done. it will just take some time.
Jefflz (San Francisco)
Biden will need a Senate majority as well as House. If not, there will be years of Republican stonewalling against any effort to restore our democracy, the environment and the rule of law..all of which Trump has destroyed. Obama and the American people were held prisoner by the GOP Senate under McConnell. The Republicans in Congress are owned and operated by far-right wing billionaires who who have invested huge amounts of money to move this country toward a corporate fascist state. The so-called election of Trump is a symbol of their extreme power and success to date. Only a massive voter turnout in favor of Biden and a Democratic Senate/House majority has any chance of restoring our nation. It is up to the people to get out the vote If Americans walk away from this critical responsibility, it will mark the end of our now weakened Constitutional government forever.
MADDIE8 (Somewhere over the rainbow)
I don’t care who’s voted but the EU needs to stop it
Barbara Vilaseca (San Diego)
Please accept the apology of the majority of American people for this disastrous presidency. We are as troubled as you are.
Paul (PA)
Since the mid-1970s the average American worker has watched their standard of living steadily decline; a direct consequence of decades of neoliberal economic policies, including- 1) multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, 2) financial deregulation, 3) attacks on labor and job outsourcing, 4) lack of investment in infrastructure, and 5) spending $ trillions of taxpayer money on Wall St bailouts, Pentagon and war. In 2016, Trump astutely capitalized on the well justified economic insecurity and anger felt by millions of Americans, who were attracted to Trump’s claims of making America “great” again, his protectionist trade policies, his tirades against immigrants and his racist and xenophobic rhetoric. Our country confronts: 1) a Coronavirus pandemic, consequence of inept/incompetent handling of this crisis by Trump AND Congress, 2) highest unemployment since the Great Depression; many of these people face eviction from their homes and loss of medical insurance, 3) US taxpayers spent > $ 6 trillion on wars in the Middle East (Link:, 4) government deficits have exploded, increasing > $1 trillion annually, 5) US international image lowest ever. Joe Biden has 5 decades of ‘service’ carrying water for the Pentagon, Military contractors, large banks, and Wall St. Not surprisingly, the Biden campaign has gotten the majority of Wall St. campaign donations, including Michael Bloomberg’s $100 million pledge. It is difficult to see a Biden victory changing much.
Michael Jennings (Iowa City)
The country is maimed. Rehab will be painful and incomplete unless Trump is reelected, in which case maming continues.
MJM (Newfoundland Canada)
@ARETE’ - Why am I not comforted?
Cassandra (Arizona)
Trump is both an isolationist and a would-be dictator, but consider how much more dangerous he would be if he were intelligent.
AE (France)
@Cassandra He is undoubtedly today's version of the Manchurian Candidate, obeying foreign orders. Nothing else can explain the damage he inflicts upon the United States on a daily basis.
Sari (USA)
Can anyone match trumps accomplishments, the stable genius is a scientist, a doctor, a meteorologist; he gives himself an A+ for the handling of COVID-19. Add to all that trumps incompetence, callousness bigotry, racism, embarrassing us all over the world; not to overlook the thousands upon thousands of lies. Of course VP Biden can fix trumps huge mess. With the very capable Harris and an excellent choice of staff in his cabinet, it will be a huge job, but in time will be done. We will reunite with our former allies, get back into the programs that trump took us out of. But, first things first and that of course means getting rid of trump, the very worst president our country has ever had. Does he care, has he ever mentioned the almost 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, thousands which are his fault. And that will be his legacy. He should stop thinking that the stock market is the economy....stupid.
C (California)
What did Trump ruin? To be frank we have been spending and financing through the IMF too much for too little. In the world today, it's now about your own country's nationalism coming to the forefront of what the people want. They want to come first. Trump gets this, and although he is the worse at building consensus, when you have the economy everyone wants to sell to, it's not necessarily a requirement to make anyone country "happy." Our foreign policy hasn't worked or benefited the citizens of the US for over 50 years, wasn't Biden part of the failure? He won't fix it.
He Knew (NYC)
Ask the families of those dead from Covid 19.
JimmySerious (NDG)
I think the free and democratic world will welcome a healthy America back to the table with open arms. Biden won't be able to fix everything overnight. But just stopping Trump from continuing the destruction is half the battle. I suspect the realization of how fragile we are will open a new spirit of cooperation between America and it's friends to deal with the very serious and pressing problems we have, going forward.
Blue Voter (Miami)
I would venture to say that the average American voter has little understanding of foreign policies that impact the world. Complex international affairs and the future of a new world order are condensed by them into the incessant patriotic rallying cry of "We're #1" without any explanation of just how the country merits that dubious honor of being "the greatest nation on earth." The president spews those same sound bites and he is just as ignorant as they with pathetic knowledge of world history and the changing geopolitical landscape and all its complex implications. Biden has considerable international experience acquired not only during the Obama administration but also while on the Foreign Relations Committee during his political career. Unlike Trump he has an appreciation for and understanding of the underpinnings of diplomacy, our national security, and the importance of strategic allies. Unfortunately however, his opponent's simplistic rhetoric is better understood by his uninformed base of followers who in all likelihood would not be able to locate Iran on a map let alone know why the Iran Nuclear deal was such a "disaster." Should Trump be reelected these Americans might not even imagine the dangers their leader poses to the rest of the world. Clearly Biden is the only choice. At least we would not have to stay up at night (as General Matthis did as Trump's Secretary of State) thinking he would act so erratically as to demand activation of the nuclear codes.
History (USA)
Joe Biden has only done one thing well in his 45+ years on the government dole, enrich himself and his family members. Don't be fooled look at his record. Other countries might love Joe because he will sell us out as long as one of his family members can make a money deal with them!
He Knew (NYC)
As opposed to Donald Trump, The Trump Foundation and Trump University.
History (USA)
@He Knew At least Trump was not collecting a government salary and benefits, while he used his influence to help his family get rich, like Joe.
He Knew (NYC)
Excuse me? What about Ivanka’s new trademarks, after official visits?
Bradley Bleck (Spokane, WA)
I'll change the question: Will Americans fix what Trump broke? It's not all one Biden. It's on the whole of us.
Rick (NY)
Most people want to work with other people who are intelligent, honest, and reasonable. That isn't Trump. Biden will do fine.
mrc (nc)
Biden after Trump is facing a similar situation to Obama after Bush. The USA is reviled overseas, our economy is in tatters, the divide between rich and poor is at record highs and the Republican party is primed to fight Biden on every issue. Key to Biden's success will be gaining control of the Senate. If he does, then he has a chance of righting the ship. If the GOP keeps the senate - then we will see a replay of Obama's second term where an obstructionist GOP Senate changes from being the ruling party to being the party of ruin. The GOP at present is harping on about a few calls to defund the police. In 6 months they will be all in trying to defund medicare, medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, social security and every other social insurance program you can think of. theyw ill be refusing tax hikes on billionaires whilst the unemployed are evicted and starve. So lets flip the Senate.
CLB (South Lyon, MI)
@mrc Well put, thanks. Yes, another blue wave is needed at the polls, more important this year because the the voter repression we’re already seeing.
He Knew (NYC)
If Biden wins, I think a lot will be fixed faster than people think. There will be such a palpable sense of relief around the world, that European leaders will fall over themselves reaching out to the new President. Biden would rejoin the Paris climate accords, he would reaffirm our NATO alliance, he would reverse all the horrendous Trump executive orders with the slash of a pen - many of which affect other countries - and he would take major action against the worldwide pandemic. There are problems that will take longer to solve, but there would be a spirit of optimism about solutions.
Ed (Washington DC)
Regarding the base question: "Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?" Yes, Biden can fix this. Europe gets it. After three+ solid years of dealing with Trump's lies, self-centered statements, and unilateral approach to topics, Europe understands their issues with American interactions with other countries is everything about Trump, and nothing about how our State Department, intelligence community, and overall diplomatic policies reflect true American values and concerns. America at its heart is a leader in bringing countries that cherish freedom together, and a protector of democracies across the world. Trump has proven he is not such a leader or protector; rather, Trump has proven time and time again that he values dictatorships and values erasing any treaties between allies that serve to protect democracy. Europe knows that Biden is a square dealer, plain and direct negotiator, and an honest straight shooter. Europe knows that Biden, if elected, will lead America and the world out of the morass that Trump dug us all into. Europe is holding its breath, hoping that America chooses wisely in November.
Linda McKim-Bell (Portland, Oregon)
@Ed America needs to end the fantasy of being a world leader and start spending that military money on helping her own people live better. Just stop with the leadership and military wars and things will be fine.
John LeBaron (MA)
If we have Emanuel Macron and Donald Trump leaving NATO for dead, then for all practical purposes it IS dead. Some constructive leadership among its national leaders still raise it from life support, but time is short and the odds are long. The collective task of survival cannot fall to Angela Merkel's leadership alone. There's no other EU figure with the chops to herd the other cats in European capitals. As for the UK, Boris Johnson can't be counted on to keep his own word, just like Trump. Canada? Anybody home?
Mark (Out West)
"Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?" No. Hopefully not. Hopefully the rest of the world has learned its lesson. The lesson is two-pronged. The United States are an unreliable partner (and that is not Trump's fault, it is the fault of the people who elected him and they are STILL there even if Biden wins). And Europe and other countries have for far too long been "asleep at the wheel". To date, they are still asleep, but the snoring is occasionally interrupted by an apparent wake-up but then "it" turns around on its other side and goes back to sleep. If Biden wins, then we don't really know what policies we will pursue (it is pretty much a blank slate). But we DO know that it will be "Obama light" so it is logical to assume that what comes after Biden (if he wins) will be WORSE than Trump. So Europe and the rest better wake up quickly and prepare. Oh wait, I forget. China and Russia are awake.
Bender (Chicago, IL)
@Mark Everyone keeps saying the EU is asleep at the wheel. But what does that mean, apart from flexing military power? And where would such threat be coming from? Russia's economy would completely collapse without energy export to the EU.
Mark (Out West)
@Bender Curtailing energy import from Russia is being very actively discussed in Germany. The problem is that they can do this because they are unhappy with how Russia interferes with Belarus. OR because Navalny was poisoned. But not both. Only "one stick" many things to swat. Russia killed ~300 European citizens (MH17). Europe did nothing. Why do "we" have Europe anyway? I don't know. Military? Yes. Careful economic sanctions, absolutely. Most importantly, a consistent, clear and strong message. But that is not possible. Europe is not the United States of Europe. It is Sum(France, Germany, Spain, Italy... etc).
Liz (Chicago, IL)
The EU without Britain's distortion just works. Look at Ursula von der Leyen's State of the Union, which was not even covered by the Times, in which she pushes for a CO2 reduction from 40% to 55% by 2030. For all their disagreements, the EU 27 continue to find agreements on the big issues like Corona crisis relief and climate change. And before leading in climate change, the EU had de facto become the world's tech regulator, with sane privacy laws like GDPR and the right to be forgotten, keeping a close eye on abuses by the digital oligopoly, etc. More fundamentally, many of their member states (Germany, Netherlands, Nordics, ...) have of course found a great balance between public services, work/life moderation and a vibrant economy with full employment. I doubt that Biden can fix Trump's damage and then go on to move the country even further to the left, without the suburbs and exurbs throwing a fit in 2022.
Steve Dowler (Colorado)
U.S. relationships with other countries are possibly the most important element of Biden's job when he is President. Much of the damage done by Trump involves worldwide cooperation in areas such as global climate change, global trade partnerships, military defense readiness in strategic nations, healthcare initiatives in countries unable to completely provide for the health of their citizens and many more. Many if not most of the problems we see at home require partnerships which Trump discourages, believing in his go-it-alone "stable genius" preference. We all have much work ahead of us in support of Biden as he cannot do it alone.
Brian (Toronto)
Can Biden fix what Trump broke? No, because it was not Trump who broke it. It was US voters who elected Trump. Because of this, world leaders have to contemplate that America might well elect Kanye West, or Sean Hannity when Biden leaves office. Nobody can ever look at America as an intrinsically stable world leader again.
He Knew (NYC)
I don’t know, history is full of reversals: today’s allies are yesterday’s enemies and vice versa, and there is a lot of forgetfulness when an economic advantage is sensed. I think a lot of people both here and abroad will look at this administration as an aberration that we learned a sad lesson from: how fragile our democracy is and how actively we have to protect it.
GregP (27405)
@Brian Meanwhile in Canada your Parliament is Prorouged and you may be having yet another Election in a scant few months. Why? The third and most serious ethics violation yet from your liberal Prime Minister. WE Charity shutting down and your country Balkanizing but you are worried about who we will elect in some hypothetical future? That mainstream media in Canada serving you so well huh?
Danny (Bx)
Early 90s, Bush 41 had big recession. Most of nineties, Clinton, last time we ran a surplus under a Democrat, oh. I am sorry, last time period and the good times rolled. Next Bush, next big recession, deficits like crazy,wars,big mess for 8 long years and boom, biggest recession since depression, Wall Street commercial banks crying to the Dems. Obama took over and long steady period of growth. Trump took over and gave away the house, taxes down, Wall Street up and then we caught a little flu. Now the feds can't even run the post office and our HHS needs a mental health day. Obama had to patch things up with allies as well. Don't worry conservatives we will grow NATO, the WHO... and slowly but firmly shore up our economy again and again but please, managing to lose money as the house in Atlantic City is not a qualification for fixing the economy destroyed by bad public health policies.
Phil Zaleon (Greensboro,NC)
The question,"Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?", is not the germane question. That pertinent question is, "Can Biden Fix What Trump exposed about our nation's character and our government's vulnerabilities?" The ease with which the checks and balance of powers has come ineffectual, the debasement of a major political party for lust of power, the disregard for the rule of law and institutional values for centuries vouchsafed, and the blatant encouragement of ideals antithetical to democracy by a sitting President have all occurred without sufficient repulse by elected officials and in four short years. That the Presidency has become too powerful, the safeguards insufficient, and Congress feckless and weak, is all too clear. The shamefulness of Republicans in the face of their shameless leader imperils us all. Can Biden fix it all... probably not, but he surely can reintroduce decency to governance and start the job!
Dale Smith (Bridgeport Conn)
The article is interesting and informative in highlighting some of the areas where our current presidential administration has made less-than-productive decisions regarding America's persona and effectiveness in international circles. However, the article's title sets Biden up for failure. We must remember that any incoming president must live with the policies of the former administration for at least two or three years before effective change can be made. It's only during a president's second term in office where true change (hopefully for the better) may be seen.
Al (Philly)
Interesting. Trump, Republicans and his cult followers could be not just the end of the American Republic, but a stable world order. Putin goes adventuring, destabilizing Europe and the Middle East, China takes over the world and the Yuan becomes the global standard currency. The dollar gets devalued and all hell breaks loose. Good to know.
RichardHead (Mill Valley ca)
The big problem is the loss of confidence in our ability to be consistent. Yes, Trump has undone almost all things that we ,as a nation, established for decades. There was always a confidence that even if we changed administrations the basic building blocks of our nation were solid and would be respected and continued. So, if biden is able to at least bring us back to where we were in 2016 will the others trust us to stay there if another Trump-Repub elected? Probably not. This makes it difficult to even re establish relationships. We are not trusted.
C (New York, N.Y.)
Just how much of a hypocrite do you have to be to put the Europeans in a favorable light regarding Iran's nuclear program. Who do you think supplied Iran with nuclear technology in the first place? Was there any question as to why the country with the fourth largest proven oil reserves in the world was willing to divert a large amount of money and resources to a nuclear program? Just how dangerous was Europe willing to make the world in order for a few energy companies to earn a couple of extra billion?
If we send Trump packing back to Mir Lago, the Europeans will be ecstatic and welcome us back with open arms. They will revel in the chance to be rid of the "Trump Stench" that has been spread globally.
Chris (Berlin)
Most Europeans I talk to understand that the United States is a banana republic superpower with a huuuge military. They also know that the US is on a downward projection and has been since Saint Ronnie started the race to the bottom. Saint Obama sealed the fate and now Trumpelstiltskin is accelerating the US decline at a rapid pace. I don’t know any European that expects any significant deviations from the all-war, all-the-time Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex from Biden, who voted for every defense budget increase, weapons program, and war resolution in 36 years in the Senate, and remember that he was a major part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for years as well. Biden is a committed war monger of the first order who cannot run as an anti-war candidate–so once again --if you are tired of America’s constant wars-the spending of our futures on war-the bloated military budgets -there will be NO help from Biden or the Democrats. The future belongs to Asia. The sooner the EU pivots towards Asia the better. The US is a lost cause, no matter who “wins” in November.
He Knew (NYC)
This is in line with “I don’t know anyone who has the virus.” Exactly how many Europeans have you talked to? Unlike your campaign of denigration, there are a lot of posts on US sites from Europeans who know that more people voted against Trump than for him, saw good in the previous administration and fervently hope to repair an active, supportive relationship.
Suzy Sandor (NYC)
It is more than time for the world to let go of their US sugar daddy and take the lead.
urmyonlyhopeobi1 (miami)
Biden alone cannot fix this mess, we ALL have to pitch in. We'll all be failing together no matter what happens, and there's no other place to go to.
bored critic (usa)
I'm frightened to death to see what Biden will "break".
Deirdre (New Jersey)
The world will never trust any republican because they failed the most basic test. They didn’t stop trump or even try to reign him in and that makes the US untrustworthy.
Roger (Crazytown.D.C.)
Europe should fend for itself sooner than later. There is no guarantee the USA will not elect another lunatic as POTUS. At least, not until all the mean white old guys have checked into heaven and started creating a rukus up there too.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
My father, the newly-married owner of a candy store in his hometown of Gleiwitz, Germany (now Gliwice, Poland) was arrested by the Nazis on Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938) and spent a month in Buchenwald, before my mother was somehow able to bribe him a way out. They were among the last Jews able to get out of Germany. My mother’s elderly parents and younger brother endured nearly two years at Gurs, Drancy and other camps in France before being transported to Auschwitz on cattle cars where they perished. They were Orthodox in practice, and whatever hope and solace they would have been able to obtain would have had to come through prayer, there being no other help available to them. My father had seven relatives -- including his parents -- on board the German ocean liner St. Louis when it arrived in Havana harbor in May 1939. My grandparents were subsequently lucky enough to be able to get to England, but three of the others perished after they were denied help by President Roosevelt and were returned to Holland where the Nazis caught up with them. One of them was a 12 year old girl. My father came from a large family. He once told me that the overall death count in our family numbered well over 50. He loved everything about Germany, the books, the music, the culture. His explanation for what happened was that Hitler made the people crazy, and always said the same thing could happen here. If he was alive today, he’d be saying much the same thing.
ann (Seattle)
While this column does not mention finances, I suspect the Europeans are hoping that we will stop asking them to pay for more of their defense. They would prefer that we continue to pick up most of the cost so that they can continue to spend their money on social services for their citizens. The problem with this is that an increasing number of our citizens would like to use our money to provide our own citizens with social and health services, to rebuild our own infra-structure, and to develop a green economy. Europeans and other countries need to do more to defend themselves so we would be able to redirect more of our money to our own basic needs.
Steve (Dallas)
Ann, the Trump talk of getting Europeans to pay for their own defense is simply a Trump ruse to weaken NATO and appease Russia. Europeans are already paying more for their own defense, but there’s no economic dividend for the US taxpayer. US defense spending has increased dramatically to over $800 billion per year under Trump, in spite of Europeans paying for more of their own defense. And if Putin starts creating more instability in the region, there’ll be a steep price for not just in Europe but in the US. Europe was the center of two massive world wars. It’s been stable for over 70 years. Somehow people who think Trump can just blow up US alliances without consequence for the US is just fooling themselves. The US also thrives in a stable world.
ann (Seattle)
@Steve Our country’s debt is now 20.5 trillion dollars. I do not understand why we are borrowing yet more money to pay for much of Europe and our other allies’ defense. We should be spending more of the money we borrow on our own citizen’s healthcare, education, and social services, to rebuild our infra-structure, and to re-orient our economy to be more energy efficient. Let our allies borrow money to defend themselves to a greater extent than they are doing now.
Andrea (Belgium)
@ann I'd say you don't pay it for Europe's defense, you pay it to your military-industrial complex. They make you pay billions to replace weapon systems that are declared to be obsolete - even if they're never been used. I'm sure Lockheed, Boeing, and all and sundry companies with retired generals and colonels are delighted with Trump. They can sell him all kind of pie-in-the-sky new ideas and have you pay generous salaries, stock options and whatever. I'm all for a well equipped and well trained defense force but simple IED's killed or maimed scores of foot soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq that no "space shield" or whatever fancy system could prevent.
DL (Berkeley, CA)
Actually, Trump's foreign policy was not that bad. I support defunding from NATO, getting out of Middle East, and treaties between Israel and Arab Nations. I do not care about personal feelings of the EU leaders towards the US leaders. I care about my tax $$$ used in the US, help fighting fires in the West right now for instance, than to protect Germany from Russia, while the same Germany relies on Russian gas.
Linda McKim-Bell (Portland, Oregon)
@DL Are we out of the Middle East? When did that happen? And if so, where is all the money not spent on military that could help our health care system?
Castanet (MD-DC-VA)
Yes, a more knowledgeable and disciplined government can undo the harm done. Watch!
As an optimist myself, I have no concerns about the US returning to a leadership position. With Trump’s defeat and a blue Congress with Biden as president, the world will become our oyster again.
C Wolfe (Bloomington IN)
@ARETE’ Although I share a desire for the US to take a position of meaningful leadership in the world, regarding the world as our oyster is the exact opposite of what's beneficial for the world, which should not be regarded as something to be extracted greedily and the shell discarded.
Steve Dowler (Colorado)
@ARETE’ We have forfeited that possible return to leadership with the ham-fisted tactics of Mr. Trump. We will return to the table as equal partners not at the "head seat". Europe has found their strength in unity without the U.S. It will take awhile to return as leader of democracies. As the saying goes, "it takes only a moment to lose trust and a long time to regain it".
@ARETE’ I do not think so. Things changed, Trump degraded America's value, once you lose your leverage, it won't be given you back. America won that leverage paying a very heavy price during WWII. And now because Biden is elected doesn't enough to get back what you have. I am a democrat and voting for Biden. American's made their mistake and they lose that leverage some certain level, bringing back, will not be free or cheap.
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
And thus we pass from the world stage as an active, vital country because of one man's sclerotic view of things. America First doesn't translate into America Only. Ask the eldest sibling in any family and you'll hear a story or three about learning to share. We are not the only country in the world and Trump, along with the GOP and other Americans, fails to understand that. We are all connected and always have been even before the internet, the telephone, the telegraph, etc.
Mark Eliasson (Sweden)
@hen3ry Nice written, but i honestly think we could do with some time apart. Then we BOTH could realize we need each other, but in today's world, where everyone is looking for simple answers to complex questions, It's all "Maericans are stupid here", and "Europeans are cowards" in the US. Regardless, another 4 years of Trump and the decision will come by itself, as most people here cannot stomach more Donald Trump.
TB (New York)
The EU has been hiding behind America's skirt for too long, all the while criticizing America every chance it got. Regardless of whether it's Trump or Biden, it's time for the EU to grow up.
Steve (San Francisco)
@TB I wholeheartedly disagree! The nations of Europe have been around much longer than the US, although their nations boundaries have shifted over the centuries. Seems ill-conceived for a nation less than 250 years old, or or anyone else living here to insist the Europeans "grow up."
Jeff (California)
@TB: The EU is far more effective than the US Government. But those who hate Europe refuse to see that.
Steve Dowler (Colorado)
@TB And growing up is exactly what Europe is now engaged in. We will all be better off with a humbled America back at the table, sharing and cooperating in ideas and action rather than muscling our way to dominance.
Dennis (Missouri)
In simple terms, yes. In my field, foreign governments and allies whom I often speak with "await a new dawn" as I was recently informed when a new president is elected so we can return to civility instead of hostility. Currently, all trade deals are on hold causing disruptions to supply chains in the US. I've often asked why and the simple answer is they wish to have a stable relationship with a trading partner not an administration that destroys relationships.
Jackson (Virginia)
@Dennis I’m sure they enjoyed taking Obama to the cleaners.
Kris L (Nassau County)
European leaders will have to deal with the US like one would deal with a family member with an addiction. The broken trust will _never_ completely heal. They’ll have to look to the US with a wary eye, knowing that we may be sober now but can fall off the wagon any time.
A voice in the desert (Tucson, AZ)
Many commentators in the U.S., even Republicans who found things to criticize in the Obama-Biden era, have speculated about what a "real president" would do in today's world. Trump's project all along has been to undo the works of Obama, much as Reagan's was to undo the works of F. D. Roosevelt. Thus his criticism of the "Iran deal" as the "worst deal ever." (Worse than his promised deal to have Mexico pay for a border wall?) Obama was known to have strengthened American alliances with Europe, as he also won more European respect for America. Therefore, it was necessary for Trump to break those ties with Europe. It was also necessary to strengthen ties to Russia, which the previous administration had limited. Biden knows why this country acted as it did for eight years--why, for example, it increased environmental controls and worked on international agreements. Why it worked to increase access to health care, as Trump has promised without suggesting anything beyond the dismantling of "Obama care."
Singy (Atlanta)
This article points to how much this election means for Putin (much more than it does for Trump). Trump will go back to his resorts and golf, if he loses. But a Trump's win or a loss could mean everything for Putin's legacy for generations. What could he do (capable of) to help?
Elizabeth (New York)
@Singy I don't know, but it seems to me our job isn't to worry about that, but to get out and VOTE. My last concern is Putin's legacy. I care about MY country, not his.
Singy (Atlanta)
@Elizabeth I totally agree with you. I will also vote. I am suggesting that there may be large scale disruptions of all kinds leading up to the elections because so much is at stake.
fast/furious (Washington D.C.)
@Elizabeth Putin's legacy - his ability to invade countries, murder opposition and torment people around the world - is directly tied to Trump's desire to please Putin and refusal to do anything to protect the United States from him. Vladimir Putin currently has bounties on the heads of our troops around the world. Consider the effect on our country and on the parents and spouses of these young men & women when they are killed because of these bounties. Putin is - as he did in 2016 - interfering in our sovereign election to benefit Trump. I want my vote to count more in this election than Putin's machinations to keep Trump in office, helping his agenda. Everything Putin is doing to us - with Trump's consent - is damaging our democracy, putting our troops in danger, undermining our sovereignty. Combating Putin and his influence over Trump is essential to our country's survival.
Walter Bruckner (Cleveland, Ohio)
Trump has taken the training wheels off the EU. Of course they are a bit wobbly at first. Biden may want to rewind to 1985, but once the training wheels are off, they stay off.
Jeff (California)
@Walter Bruckner: The EU has been doing fine despite Trump's phony interference.
mptpab (ny)
@Walter Bruckner You said it perfectly!
njglea (Seattle)
The media and talking heads need to stop pretending that one person can control everything. It's not about "Biden". It's about the intelligent, courageous, knowledgeable people around him who will manage OUR government - OUR cabinets, agencies, international presence and - most importantly - OUR regualtory and financial realms. Yes, Mr. Biden and his team can reverse much of the damage The Con Don and his Robber Baron brethren have used to try to destroy democracy in OUR United States of America in the first 90 days. Politics is not a spectator sport. It is not a one-man show, as the media would have us believe. One republican and/or democrat says something and the media says, "republicans say or democrats say." The media had to be much more upfront with how power actually works. The bottom line is that WE THE PEOPLE have the power with OUR votes, voices and actions - no matter how small. WE must use them now and in the future to have the kind of country and world WE want to inhabit. 90% of us believe it's not the one the demented, insatiably greedy 0.01% International Mafia and their 9.9% operatives desire.
Vernon (Bristol City)
Obviously, Trump has an army of brown-noses, to lend their supports, and going by the current political events, say, in the past 4 years or so, Trump's deals in many spheres reek of cronyism, as he has had a soft corner for the dictators, and sycophants almost alike. He has been operating in inscrutable ways, with almost complete lack of ingenuity. His insipid and jejune attempts in being a political wiseacre has been exceedingly sickening to quite a few. That did not stop Trump and his stooges to strike a quasi-deal in a tripartite manner, involving 3 countries, with quite a bit of chutzpah. One can observe that ''democracy is adequacy, not deficiency, of diplomacy, clemency at times, privacy, as well as some secrecy''. One also has to wait and see if the governments of Bahrain, UAE, and Israel continue to nurture the newly found amity. Time alone can tell. Assuming there is no silver bullet for mid-east problems, and many a politician having straddled the fence in the mid-east regions for eons, before letting the rubber meet the road, this deal might be intriguing. A lot of recent pecksniffian politicians have tried to tergiversate, but, whether Trump will emerge triumphant or not remains to be seen. And nomination of Trump for a Nobel peace prize certainly seems risible. Not a veritable choice.
Matthew Hughes (Wherever I'm housesitting)
Trump is a symptom of the real problem: America's dysfunctional political system can always send to the White House another demagogue who plays to the know-nothing base. Going forward, the rest of the democratic world has to create workarounds that recognize America is no longer the indispensable nation, nor even a reliable partner. No matter who is in office, America will have to be sidelined, because any agreement the US makes can be arbitrarily torn up and thrown away.
Mike (West)
If Joe wins, the reboot should read; 1. rejoin the Paris Climate Accord 2. rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal 3. 2 New additional Supreme Court Justices 4. Kill the Fillibuster 5. rejoin the TPP 6. Prosecute all criminal trump and appointee activity. Feel free to add to the list, I'm sure there are hundreds more.
Lucas Godefroy (France)
Nobody excepted that President Trump could break the country, so nobody can judge the Biden’s ability to fix what he has broken.
Rocky (Mesa, AZ)
"Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?" Repairing international relations would be relatively easy for Biden, the bigger issue will be domestic issues. It will take time to reverse the many dysfunctional regulations promulgated by Trump across the departments. Some later regulations may be easy to reverse by Congress, although Biden may run up against an intractable Senate if Republicans are still in the majority. Older changes may require a lengthy review process to say the least. But the bigger issues are the broader, cultural issues. How long will it take to repair the damage to the rule of law and to rid the Justice Department of partisanship influences and decisionmaking? How long will it take elected officials to stop lying and deceiving the public, to stop pivoting, and to provide straight answers? How long will it take Congress to return to the world of statesmanship and intelligent discourse and eschew the partisan bickering and power plays so common of late? But the biggest question is will the public, particularly as voters, come to their senses? How could 40% of the electorate still support a candidate proven to be a liar and deceiver, a narcissist out for his own interest mot theirs, ignorant and uninterested in learning, and grossly incompetent while eschewing and denigrating the wisdom of experts? What is wrong with them? Why do they delude themselves and not see the truth? How will their ignorance affect democracy and reasoned debate going forward?
Old Joe (New Jersey)
Did Trump truly break anything here or just rip the vision of how we think Europe should be run based on a long-standing status quo?
Suzy Sandor (NYC)
@Old Joe I don’t get this.
Old Joe (New Jersey)
@Suzy Sandor Is it change or is it breakage?
Spiralquest (The Sunshine State)
Translation: Hopefully Biden can restore the Neoliberal consensus that fractured the West into extreme haves and extreme have-nots, and which got us Trump in the first place. A Great Recession didn't move Neoliberals to self-critique. Brexit didn't move Neoliberals to self-critique. Trump hasn't moved Neoliberals to self-critique. Social unrest hasn't Neoliberals to self-critique. Forever wars haven't moved Neoliberals to self-critique. Facism rising hasn't moved Neoliberals to self-critique. A pandemic hasn't moved Neoliberals to self-critique. A climate crisis hasn't moved Neoliberals to self-critique. Five people owning half the globe, no self-critique. Has there ever been a mindset so stubborn, so conformist, so cruel, so cult-like, so self-righteous, so insular, so destructive as elite Neoliberalism?
Albert Ross (CO)
So the global power is being divided between USA, China, and Russia. 1984 took its time getting here but here it is. Siri: define "panopticon."
Albert Ross (CO)
@Albert Ross OK, well I'd also like to point out that we have literal Nazis masquerading as ironic Nazis and the last time I checked ironic Nazis are still Nazis. "Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words."
Kalidan (NY)
Yes, I hope Biden will fix it. Whether he can, or not, I do not know. The hot molten lava of republicans always over runs the flower petals of democrats. First off, he can appoint smart people to plain overturn every one of Trump's dumb decisions (too long to mention). Second, he could tell the justice department to plain do their jobs, and go after the white collar and other crimes against humanity committed by the present administration (e.g., sterilizing women in cages at the border). Third, he can quickly enact voter registration laws, get rid of the electoral college, and end the tax exemption for churches (religious right is a clear and present danger to the republic). Then I would love it if Bloomberg bought out FOX, and the radio conglomerate that currently peddles paranoia for a living. I.e., there is a lot he can do. Will he? Because the moment he gets elected, I suspect the progressives will insist that every toad and every owl is addressed before anything else can occur - or else.
Suzy Sandor (NYC)
@Kalidan fix what?
Herry (NY)
You cannot fix a society that no longer understands compromise or that democracy means accepting that your candidate does not always win. We live in a constant state of judgment and outrage, fueled my short videos and poorly thought out tweets. Both could use context and thought. The majority of voters are for or against a politician based on party, not on merits. Any flaws are overlooked because of the D or R next to the name, competence is not part of evaluation a candidate. We assume affiliation with a party will solve what ills the town, state or country as a whole, when its really the voter that is the problem. Constant outrage, political ineffectiveness, voters looking for one party rule as opposed to understanding and compromise. All the while, the political lifers keep their jobs, their resumes of poor decisions that have brought us here, jobs safe thanks to their party affiliation and unflagging voter support. And we all suffer as a whole.
Brewster (Second Star To the Right)
Merkel, “ we, Europeans, must take our fate into our own hands.” You said what ? Ignoring Trump, we should be active more than that... Rest of world will stab you in back if it benefits them..
MF (Nevada)
For decades the US has supported NATO as Germany and the other NATO allies never contributed their fair share. NATO was established as a deterrent to stop the possibility of the soviets and their Warsaw block allies coming across the border in a mass tank and infantry assault. NATO is an anachronism of a bygone era and it’s time we come to realize the world has changed. For over two decades our troops have fought and died in the sands of the Middle East. There is a blur who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. In fact we’ve lost track who the “bad” guys are. Let’s stop and as they say, bring the boys home.
Seldoc (Rhode Island)
@MF NATO is not a dues paying organization, and The United States contributes to it just as much if not more for its own benefit as any other country's/
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
Biden will need to pick the most energetic Cabinet this country has ever seen to fix the damage done by Trump and correct the problems Trump has ignored. But even a Cabinet won't be able to do it all. He needs a majority in the Senate and the House. His first priority has to be selecting a powerful Secretary of HHS. If we don't have a healthy country, nothing else matters. Just as the Europeans know that they need to take charge of their future, so too do we. A nation ravaged by disease leads no one.
Larry (Long Island NY)
Throughout history, Europe has been mired in conflict among it's nations. Twice in the 20th Century, the US has had to come to the aide of England and France to defeat Germany. Since the end of WWII there has existed a period of peace and prosperity never before known on the continent. The United States has been the linchpin of this peaceful period. Europe has been allowed to prosper without the overwhelming fear of warfare largely because of NATO. The United States has shouldered the majority of the burden of European defense. Whatever that cost has been, it has been well worth the political and economic benefits that we have garnered. The Soviet Union was brought low. European borders are open yet secure and we have been able to sleep at night... Until Trump. Trump's idea that NATO is past its prime and too expensive for the US, can cost us and the world dearly in the long run. Forcing the European nations to develop large armies capable of defense as well as offense will someday come back to bite us as it did in the 1930a and early 40s when Germany's armies rampaged across the continent. They have stable governments today, but what about in the next 10 years? We elected Trump. There is no telling who they could put in power.
Rocco Gibraltar (Dire Straits)
We must attract many of our old allies, although there will be differences, no doubt; we have changed and so has the world. But first we must get our own house in order, which means electing Joe Biden and a House and Senate to support him. We must earn the power we need in this coming election; without it, we're not the US but West Russia.
DS (Georgia)
Return alliances to the way they were before Trump? No, those days are gone. Repair alliances on the basis of reason, shared values, and mutual self interest? Yes, Biden would be great at that.
JBC (Indianapolis)
He may be able to fix what Trump broke at the institutional level of government. But no one will be able to fix the terns of thousands of lives destroyed or damaged forever by the callous indifference and incompetence of this administration. In a few years years, the nation will begin to see and experience the real costs of how today's children and young people were set back because of the pandemic mismanagement, and how adult Americans had their futures irrevocably changed by the same.
Dr. Planarian (Arlington, VA)
Joe Biden can, and will if elected, fix some of what Trump broke. He will not, however, be able to fix all of it. He may be able to restore, at least in part, the expertise in our Executive Branch agencies that Trump has systematically eliminated. It will, however, be a truly herculean task even to approach what we had previously enjoyed. Much of what Trump has broken, to America's great and lasting deficit, will not be reparable. We will never restore the trust in our diplomatic "good offices" we once enjoyed and used to broker peace throughout the world even between seemingly implacable foes like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland and between Israel and Egypt. His willingness to renege on treaties that we ourselves hammered out, often with great difficulty, will forever hamper our ability to engage in international negotiations, as our partners will always have in their thoughts the possibility that we could elect another Trump. And worse, the divisions in our society that Trump has encouraged will be impossible to correct. He has fomented so much hatred and distrust between Americans that it will hamper our ability to govern ourselves for generations to come. And he has destroyed faith in our democratic institutions, most prominently our elections, in a way that trust will be very difficult to regain, although this is merely continuing the strategy that Republicans have employed for the past two decades. This is too much trouble for one man to fix.
Sharon (Oregon)
@Dr. Planarian I agree completely. Even if Biden is President and the Democrats retake the Senate, there is still the propaganda machines of FOX, talk radio, and FB. The Democrats are the party of the college educated, who have left behind 70% of America to the depredation of the FOX. We, the educated, are like the Sunni in Iraq, convinced we are the majority and the natural leaders of the country. I hope the Lincoln Project becomes a political party. Not because I think the intellectual former GOPers are innocent of the debacle, but because I think they've had a big awakening that hasn't hit the Democrats yet. They rode the tiger of populism. The tiger ate them and now has its foot caught in a leg hold trap. Its roaring and dangerous.
George (NYC)
NATO and our European allies have for decades Leveraged their US relationship to their advantage. Trump enters the picture and demands a more equitably sharing of cost, peace keeping responsibilities, and the opening of their restricted markets to US products. Germany was furious when we threatened to put tariffs in place on their automobiles. This opinion piece falls short in acknowledging how the US has been economically abused the our European Allies for decades. When Trump pulled the US out of the Iran Nuclear pact, our European Allies were forced to step up and incur the cost of monitoring Iran. Trump rewrote NAFTA giving the US a more equitable deal. Biden will it fix anything nothing. He’ll just give back ground to the EU at the expense of the American worker.
Pierre (Paris, France)
@George I'm not sure if you're being naive or disingenuous. Does the U.S. not have tens of bases, brigades, battalions, commands, etc. stationed in Europe? Ask Republicans if they are willing to withdraw all these troops and vacate their current premises unless Europe pays its "fair share". In military cooperation as in trade agreements, the idea that the United States is getting screwed by Europe is as preposterous as it is valuable for a demagogue with no principles. What should we do next? Ask our money back from the Marshall Plan? What the hey, we gave them that money for free and we never got anything for it. Except 30 years of unparalleled worldwide economic expansion.
Tim F (Florida)
This article 100% validates Trump's policies. The author suggests that Europe is "falling apart" because the US (and DC's foreign affairs establishment) aren't being funded to "save the day." Trump's whole point is the Europe doesn't pay its NATO fair share and relies the threat of US military to protect them from Russia and China. Merkel has it right -- Europe needs to stand up on its own!
@Tim F One of our biggest problem is the ignorance deliberately fostered by Trump and right wing media along these lines. When (hopefully!) Biden is elected, the ignorance and hatred will remain. It's a problem.
Michael Gilbert (Charleston, SC)
Trump has broken so many things in so many areas, both domestically and internationally, that it's unrealistic to hope that Biden can fix everything in one term. A big part of the problem is the intransigence of the Republican party, which has lost its collective mind, and who will fight tooth and nail to stop any of Biden's efforts if they are still a force in Congress. These past 4 years have harmed America in ways that will echo for a generation and returning to normalcy, and trust with our allies, will take decades. Biden/Harris is just the first step of the many that will be needed, but if they fail to be elected all bets are off.
Tim F (Florida)
@Michael Gilbert Please list the specific items Trump has broken. i needed to be educated before i vote.
BCasero (Baltimore)
@Tim F-1) DOJ, 2) HHS, 3) CDC, 4) FDA, 5) FBI, 6) CIA, 7) NIH, 8) DHS, 9) ICE, 10) EPA, 11) our faith in democracy, 12) our alliances with our long term allies, 13) health insurance, 14) air quality, 15) water quality, 16) the economy That should be enough to get you started.
Skip Bonbright (Pasadena, CA)
It will take two terms to begin to undo the damage that Trump, Republicans, and Putin, have done to America. And you can be sure that Republicans will gaslight anyone who inherits their destruction.
shimr (Spring Valley, NY)
Why does Trump persist in bringing the Russian fox into the Western hen-house? In general why can't Trump admit that Putin is an enemy of democracy, a brutal murderer who is willing to poison opponents and is willing to pay bounties on American lives? It seems that Trump and Putin share streaks of brutality that ignores the rights of others. It should not be too hard to fix what Trump is breaking because his brutality is unique and easy to stop. No Trump, no more lie after lie and whim after whim. It would be like the removal of the evil king, replaced by a beneficent one.
Ski bum (Colorado)
This is one of trump’s greatest failures. NATO and the european/US relationships defined what it means to be allies and has kept the world safe through a Cold War and multiple incursions since WWII. trump destroyed this and has pushed the US into the arms of Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea and impending autocracy. Quite the turn around in four short years!
Helen Banks (Milan, Italy)
What makes you think we in Europe want the US back on the international scene? We are enjoying our vacation from disastrous American intervention, which, with hindsight, has been deemed almost universally ill-informed and poorly executed (see the NY Times piece from Emma Ashford in the Aug. 25, 2020 edition). Stay away! We'll all be better off. I hope Biden stays out of foreign policy entirely if he wins. Kauffman quotes a Financial Times interview with Josep Borrell, but while he says the EU is in a difficult period, Borrell most certainly does not say he hopes the US steps in to save it. He distinctly called for a united response from EU Member States. Again, stay out, America.
sal (nyc)
@Helen Banks There should be more independent people like you. Accountability
lin (mdi)
Electing Biden and Harris will show that Americans prioritize restoring our alliances by stabilizing our institutions and reforming our policies. A Biden Harris administration, by its existence and at its inauguration, will start fixing what Trump has broken. Trump has the bully's obsession with domination and the coward's fascination with violence. Trump's view of humanity is 'there's a sucker born every minute' and his operating principle is 'make them pay.' No one, least of the GOP, has taught Trump that 'working and playing well with others' counts. Most of all in foreign relations. Trump emboldens the autocrats he so envies, all of whom are America's enemies at worst and problematic friends at best. Trump's hung America's allies out to dry just as he's undermined democracy at home. People are, literally, sick of it. Recently I heard Gen. Mattis and his UK counterpart talking at a leadership conference. As military leaders, they emphasized that forming alliances is better than fighting adversaries. And that outwitting adversaries is better than outgunning them. In short, they spoke of the primacy of diplomacy in international relations. Joe Biden knows all this. He is experienced and respected on the world stage. Kamala Harris shows our allies, almost all of whom have long welcomed women in leadership, that America is stepping forward. But first we voters have to unite and step up.
Futbolistaviva (San Francisco Bay Area, CA)
Most of the world except for Russia, North Korea, Turkey and perhaps Hungary don't want to see four more years of the same dead end, ignorant, incompetent and isolationist policies. A Biden administration will bring a lot of sanity, competence and intelligence to the table whenit comes to the EU. But that doesn't mean they can reinstitute old policies. They need to address a vastly changing world and order. I will have trust in them.
Linda McKim-Bell (Portland, Oregon)
@Futbolistaviva Biden can And will be great if we in the US keep him on a short leash about starting another war somewhere . I am voting for him but am wary about his fondness for military intervention.
Is_the_audit_over_yet (MD)
Let’s make this easy.... the only one who cannot fix any of this is the gop. Decades have now proven unequivocally that they are unfit to govern in the highest levels of democratic government. Their goal is power at any cost while the democratic message is acting on the will of the people. Just look at the poster boy for gop politics- mitch! A feckless coward who operates under minority rule and has openly admitted to destroying the congressional process for partisan and personal gain. Moscow Mitch was the preview for DJT’s arrival. VOTE- like your life depends on it
tedc (dfw)
Biden certainly can repair some of the damages but no one can stop the long decline and collapsing of the American Empire from within- the decline of citizenship and education; the dependency of government dole and lack of personal initiatives; the slothness and corpulence of general public.
Naples (Avalon CA)
Given that even yesterday, The Hill reported Schumer saying corporate Dems will not immediately reverse the destructive Trump tax cuts, my answer to your headline would be "No." Schumer never stops bringing a baguette to a knife fight. Always acts as though he's at a cocktail party in the UES, rather than at a modern-day re-burning of Rome. He allowed McConnell to fast-track ideological, bizarre judges whose weird opinions will be with us for decades. This is what you get when Progressives lose.
James (St. Paul, MN.)
Europeans (and thoughtful Americans) have come to understand that Trump is simply the logical extension of a proudly ignorant, xenophobic element in the US that has never traveled overseas or understood that the rest of the world has food, culture, religion, governance, and habits that are just as valid and life-affirming as our own. It will take decades for the world to again gain trust in our nation, as we have shown our worst elements, in too many cases without shame. I believe Biden will bring the return of civility, respect, and truth to the office of President, but the damage will take a long time to reverse.
mosenblum (Illinois)
The EU has been so dependent on the United States for leadership and support over the past many decades that I have little doubt that a Biden presidency will go a long way in assuring our allies that we will do everything possible to restore our a good standing in the world and, given the damage incurred over the past four years, work to make these ties even stronger. Mr. Biden has earned the respect and admiration of leaders throughout the world and this reputation will offer much-needed assurance that we will continue to cover the backs of our friends both in peace and wartime.
John (Portland, Oregon)
Nostalgic sound bites and history forgotten or ignored. The circumstances that led to NATO no longer exist. The Iron Curtain is gone. The threat of (Soviet-dominated) communism spreading to the West is gone. What led to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the worse since NATO was formed, is long gone. Vast areas of the world with vast populations and valuable economic resources, including India and China, have been liberated from Western colonization and greed. The landscape has changed. It makes sense that Europeans should take care of their own future.
Larry (FL)
It is strange that Trump did not have any 2016 TV campaign ads or platform statements that he would take the US out of NATO. I wonder why he didn't promote that view before the election. Surely we would all have seen the benefit of leaving NATO and alienating our friends. Maybe that's what America First meant to him and I missed it. If the US wishes to remain a viable part of the international community it must begin to fix the damage Trump and his supporters have done. Our need for a strong relationship with the EU and others permeates many aspects of our society and the wanton destruction of that good relationship is costing us a great deal. I think we are dependent on each other for national security, health, science and overall quality of life, but I can understand that the latter may be a negative for many people. Biden's task, should he get the opportunity is huge. When you are in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging. But we have a lot of people walking around with shovels. Joe Biden will have to figure out how to get us to stop digging. And that will be very difficult because so many don't want to stop digging. If he can get us to stop digging it will be a very good thing.
Lee Himelfarb (Florianopolis, Brazil)
I hope not!
Mark Thomason (Clawson, MI)
"Europeans are now learning to navigate alone in a world ever more dangerous for them" Perspective: this is not post-WW2 anymore. The EU has a population 1/3 greater than the US, and an economy as big as the US. Europe not formally in the EU includes a lot more people, each as many as a good-sized US state, and some of them per capita even more wealthy than the US, such as Sweden and Switzerland. The could do more than take care of themselves. They could be the peer competitor the US says it fears is coming near with Russia and China (each always called "near peer"). The US has never feared the rivalry of the EU in geopolitical terms (economically as with Airbus sometimes) but that is because the US was their friend. Trump is acting to change that. So what if he has changed that? Will they now rush back into our arms like a lover back from a trip, or will they act like a lover scorned and cheated on for the last four years?
Vincent Burke (North Carolina)
The opportunity to fix things is there and the best approach would be a serious effort to tackle climate change. Having a unifying mission should help rebuild our alliances while at the same time make the oil dictatorships less of an issue for the world.
Suzy Sandor (NYC)
No, no one US president can fix anything unless it leads in reforming the 'system' starting with the Electoral College.
John (Portland, Oregon)
@Suzy Sandor Lincoln had a plurality of 40% of the popular votes, but won the Electoral College by nearly 60%. Without the Electoral College, it is uncertain whether Lincoln would have become president.
Suzy Sandor (NYC)
@John so? Same with Trump. Time to move into the 2020 and beyond.
C (New York, N.Y.)
This is the same false, misleading, neo liberal argument and world view which gave us Trump in the first place. The whole notion of US bad, and Europe respectable and good, is a big laugh to anyone who knows anything about European economics and politics. Europeans generally will sell their own mother for a Euro, and can not be relied upon at all to stand up to China, or Russia, let alone lesser autocratic players like Turkey, or Iran. Whether it's arms sales to the Mideast, auto sales in China, or the new Baltic Sea gas pipeline with Russia, and especially concerning the largest economy, Germany, no one should deceive the themselves (or the public) into thinking Western Europe has a true moral compass. That's before we discuss the rising third party strength of the AfD in Germany, or NR in France. Trump may have lowered the bar considerably to what could be considered responsible behavior, especially in his fealty to Putin, and other autocratic leaders. But that in no way relieves Europe or Biden from acting like defenders of Democracy and human rights, even when it goes against the interests of big business. As an aside, Trump has changed the conversation regarding globalization and China, and Biden now speaks entirely differently about those subjects than he did six months ago. That's a good thing. Get rid of Trump as soon as possible, but that is at least one good thing he did. And don't paint the Europeans as better than they really are.
Mary (Washington)
It takes great effort to create a thing of beauty like a glass vase or a working democracy and only a second to smash it to the ground. You're asking if Biden can fix a smashed government. It may be an impossible task for anyone, but Biden can and will pick up the pieces instead of sweeping them under the carpet.
Paula (Chicago)
I think this is an interesting opportunity to try and rebuild relationships with other countries. Those dynamics were historical, a bit lopsided and based on a bit of fantasy about USA having the discipline to lead the world (while rotting on the inside - which is why we got Trump). Maybe we can rebuild better. But it will take awhile to create a new, updated foreign policy vision.
Wayne Fuller (Concord, NH)
I believe the damage would not be repaired all at once. What we will see is a change in the world Zeitgeist that followed Trump's victory and has now ended in his defeat. Little by little the bluster and bravado of authoritarians will fall out of favor and vogue. Cracks will form in their dams and soon the populace will turn on them and they will start to fade. There will be more change as the world becomes more wary of globalism as an assumed good and begin to form new economic alliances that include more restrictions on trade. Civil liberties and human rights will make a come back along with programs to alleviate the gross inequality that now exists throughout the world. Democratic nations, now knowing how vulnerable they are to fascist type authoritarian dictators, will begin to look at their laws and Constitution more seriously and perhaps begin to initiate reforms to strengthen the rule of law and non-violent political discourse. Finally, the world will begin to actually recognize the peril every nation is in due to climate change and begin to seriously address it. In doing so, investors and corporations will find a whole new set of opportunities arising, creating whole new industries and products, that will create more wealth even more than they experience now. The new world will emerge from its birth-pangs and will finally be born. Let it begin in November.
Stephen Merritt (Gainesville)
Things aren't going to go back to "normal", even if Joe Biden becomes president. Aside from the long, difficult process of trying to clean up Donald Trump's messes, Europe, the U.S. and everywhere else will face ongoing, and in fact worsening, problems from climate change (of which the spread of pandemic diseases like Covid-19 and ebola is an indirect effect). A new normal of permanent crisis mode will be necessary. It will be extraordinarily stressful for everyone, and dealing with that stress while minimizing the tendency to lash out irrationally will be one of our chief challenges.
William Case (United States)
During the Cold War, the United States defend European nations against the Soviet Union, but the Soviet Union no longer exists. Nevertheless, in 1998 Europe relied on U.S forces to end the Kosovo War. It is time the European Union, which has a population of 447 million, starts looking after itself.
Concerned (Australia)
@William Case An internet search would inform you about how Britain, European nations, and Australia among other countries have come to the assistance of the US with conflicts that do not involve them and are not of their making (e.g., Iraq and Afghanistan). They do this because that is how allies should behave. It is the purpose of these alliances. Another internet search will inform you of which high ranking US official travelled to Australia not so long ago asking for assistance in the US’ conflict with Iran. I assume similar requests were made of Britain and European countries. The US was looking to its allies for assistance because that is the purpose of these alliances. I have read many comments by Americans about how the US shouldn’t have to be the only country fighting in the Middle East and Afghanistan. A quick Internet search will inform you that the US is not alone in managing the conflicts it involves itself in, and some would say creates. To be frank, this view that the US shouldn’t have to come to the assistance of its allies is ill-informed and ignores the times the US has asked its allies for help. It was the US’ decision to spend horrendous amounts of money on its military. The US appointed itself to the role of policing the world. But this view that you are above the rest of us is getting tired.
Another Mary (Virginia)
Biden will begin the repair work if he wins. It will be difficult, painful, and long: it's easy to destroy things, much harder to rebuild them. It's unfortunate that many citizens won't recognize that and will be taken in again in 4 years by the easy lies of the destructive GOP who promise a quick fix. I almost wonder if Trump deep down believes that he's not going to win, so he is trying his best to leave the country in the worst shape he can.
Philip W (Boston)
Another four years of Trump will doom America. It wont affect me personally due to age and circumstances; however, young people will mature is an America that USED to lead the World and USED to be respected and admired. It will change forever. Should Biden win, much of the damage can be repaired; however, trust will not be for decades.
Akachukwu (California)
If Obama could fix what Bush broke, why couldn't Biden fix what Trump has broken...? The Democratic party has now become the party of healing for the nation. As thankless as the job is yet they must do that work of healing the nation and bringing Americans and the world together.
Will Goubert (Portland Oregon)
@Akachukwu the damage done by this administration to the nation and its institutions is far worse than what Bush did. Bush may have made some poor decisions especially with regard to 911 & middle east that continue today but he did not set out to dismantle govt agencies intended to keep many things in check. In addition the disregard for law has damaged the justice system & deregulation will take longer to rebuild. The bright side is that we have an opportunity to build back better as the slogan says. Will we waste this opportunity?
Steve (Portland)
@Akachukwu There's a major difference between the things Bush broke and the things Trump broke. Bush made mistakes when he broke things. His failures were primarily motivated by a poor vision executed poorly. The damage Trump has done is due to a malevolent vision executed at times poorly and at times superbly. It's the difference between tending a garden where the previous caretaker forgot to water and tending a garden where the previous caretaker poured motor oil all over the plants.
Rowan Norcross (North Carolina)
@Akachukwu that took two terms and the second term was not as successful as the first term, thanks to the haters on the other side of the aisle.
Avani (OH)
Trump has brought to the surface, fueled to a great extent and given a degree of (ill-deserved) legitimacy, at least among his base, a cultural divide within America. A culture that focuses on one's own narrow self-interests (usually at the cost of one's longer-term self interests), lack of tolerance, xenophobia, insecurities, arrogance and much more. He has slowly but surely changed our culture and not for the better by any measure. And as America goes, so goes the rest of the world, for better and worse. Those that share Trump's "values" are also ascending in Europe. Can Biden fix that? Can the leaders of Europe fix that? I hope so but fear not. I am reminded of Peter Drucker "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". Every vote is going to matter this November. MAKE YOURS COUNT.
I believe Biden stated at one time it would take an estimated 10 years to restore E.U. trust in the United States due to Trump's presidency. Worse---- if Trump "enters" a second term-however that manifests itself..... Biden stated it could take an entire generation to restore trust.
Ralphie (CT)
@M Biden has no idea what he is talking about. Did he explain why it would take ten years?
Ethan Allen (Vermont)
Western democracy and leadership is likely to recenter itself on the Franco-German axis from here on out. The Trump administration has crystallized certain deep-rooted failings of the US state, rendering the nation essentially ungovernable and unreliable as an ally on the international stage. The EU and the G7 will have ignore their former friend and follow a path dictated by democracy and the best interests of the people of the west; something the US is no longer able to identify with.
LVG (Atlanta)
Putin will insure that his puppet in DC gets reelected. Expect a barrage of disinformation flowing to the RNC and Trump operatives and more dire warnings of armed insurrection if Biden wins. A Trump victory may be no different than Belarus election result. Putin is dividing and conquering Europe based on its need for gas from Russia. Expect US to end World War II at Russian insistence and pull troops out of Germany. G-7 leaders have rightfully mocked Trump and will suffer his wrath in any childish way possible.
M (Chicago)
No one can fix this other than Fox News and the GOP. They destroy, distort and mislead. Their followers operate with alternate reality and endless vengeance as the baseline. All they want is conflict and division. Until that changes we’re just going to be fighting these battles until the country formally fractures or ends.
David Lindsay Jr. (Hamden, CT)
Another terrific piece by Sylvie Kauffmann. Le Mond is lucky to have her as their editorial director I must assume, based on her writing. Meanwhile, Americans, wake up, and do the right thing, and rid the country and the world of Donald Trump, possibly the worst president in our illustrious but tempestuous history. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at
Alison (Ontario, Canada)
There's only one reason Trump quit NATO: to benefit Putin. Would Putin have helped Assad slaughter his own people if a NATO including the might of the US military challenged him? Biden needs to rejoin the US with NATO to keep war-mongering Putin in check.
E. Henry Schoenberger (Shaker Hts. Ohio)
First, we is no one in the Fourth Estate willing to merely point out that Trump is a self-evident Russian Asset, and that the substance of this is TREASON. And that without the support of Traitors Mitch & Barr as well as every Congressional Republican, Trump could not have done what he has - including no concern to control the killer virus. The world watching well knows that Putin is always doing his best to disrupt Democracy everywhere. And what is going on here is not about partisanship, a favorite expression among opinion writers, but Republicans intent on obstructing and dismantling the public good, enmeshed in metastasized treason, in complicit support of the Russian Asset. So what will be fixed when Biden is elected is that Putin will no longer pulling the strings of his puppet, followed by all the other Republicans laden with funds from Russian Oligarch donors. With Biden and a Congress that has the resolve to restore and improve the public good, it should be possible to right ship America and restore our respect among our Allies. However to restore international trust, stringent measure must be taken by enacting laws which make it impossible for this to happen again. And it would make sense to immediately establish that a DOJ rule does not control the right of any President to a gross abuse of power or protect any President from being indicted and imprisoned.
allen roberts (99171)
"Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst". Aren't we all?
Cynical (Knoxville, TN)
Yeah, it's for Republicans to break and Democrats to fix. The economy, world affairs, social norms, etc. At least, it keeps media busy.
Just like the UN, the EU is staggering around in a fog. Even with a new, diverse, competent cadre of bureaucrats, solutions aren't easy to come by, even with all the talk about solidarity. The blocs are hardening: Hanseatics, Visegrad, the Sensible Fiscals etc. Meanwhile, the idea of a naval coalition to police the Mediterranean migration crisis is never even broached. On covid19, there are 26 programmes, travel, just forget about harmonization and worst of all BoJo, as incompetent as he is, (see Miliband's defenestration on YouTube) is starting to bully Barnier into a lockbox. I once heard someone from Zimbabwe say "we need new names". Don't what it means, but surely sounds apt now.
Robert FL (Palmetto, FL.)
Once again through his actions and speech trump affirms his status as "Agent Orange". Just what does Putin have on him?
Rob Brown (Keene, NH)
Not unless both houses of congress are on board. Vote BLUE!
P McGrath (USA)
Joe Biden is going to lose in a landslide in November. The American people know which party is looting, which party is committing arson, which party's mayors are encouraging the mayhem etc. America will vote for law and order no matter your race or your gender.
Loud and Clear (British Columbia)
Well, as a Nation that has become deaf, blind and stupid (because you really have to be in order to elect anyone like Trump and his GOP) you wander in the darkness by yourself. This new branding of the USA will take more than a single election to repair. It could be beyond remediation. When the world no longer sends its best and brightest to the country, it'll have to rely on its own national public education system to fill the massive holes. Not going to happen. The US has long abandoned its public education for the more convenient and cost effective importation of talent, while the rest of the planet invests in its citizens for tomorrow.
Thomas T (soon to expatriate)
Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke? NO
caljn (los angeles)
It is difficult to digest that this one utterly mediocre man of such poor quality has mucked up the US and it's place in the world so.
ws (köln)
"Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?" No. Because Mr. Trump is not the only one who was breaking something. There are still others doing so, Look at the Boltons or the Cruzes for instance. Particularly Mr. Biden´s own stances in his "Buy American " speech sounds like a mere polite wording for a "MAGA style" foreign policy in European ears.
Sang Ze (Hyannis)
At the least, Biden can bring the trashing of the USA to an end and clean out the putrid swamp 45 created. But first, the man has to wake up and become visible again.
Chuck Finley (Florida)
The sum total of damage done by this 3rd rate TV clown will not be apparent for some time. If the unthinkable happens and this slob is re-inserted into the White House we are simply through.
Peter (Syracuse)
Unless the American people turn out Trump, the Republicans and Trumpism with a rout, EU leaders will never trust the United States again. They have seen that the American people never learn. After the disaster that was Reagan, they elected Bush. After the bigger disaster that was Bush and Cheney, they elected Trump. Whereas the American people are stupid and have a 5 microsecond attention span, Europeans are much smarter. They learn from the past and work hard not to repeat it.
swicha (Berlin,Germany)
europe has to realize the bitter truth: the USA are no longer a Friend but a rival and the biggest Thread to Peace and pr#osperity and the environment. a horrifying Part of its citizens defies science, democracy and Basic human decency. more than 1/3 of the voters supports Trump... better disarm and disband it now
fast/furious (Washington D.C.)
Biden has met and has relationships with many European leaders. If he becomes president, those people will trust Biden & work with him rebuilding our alliances. Millions of Americans are exhausted, frightened & alarmed. 200,000 people dead of COVID. Trump - according to Bob Woodward - still has no plans to contain it. More death is coming. Trump denies climate change as California burns. Millions have lost their jobs. Millions will lose their homes. This is a catastrophe & tragedy. Woodward's book contains damning assessments of Trump from national security experts General Matthis, General McMaster, Rex Tillerson, Dan Coats & others. We have not heard from these men because of "chain of command" concerns. The time for these men to speak to us with candor about Trump's unfitness is now. What will happens if he's re-elected? What will become of our country then? Jim Matthis, James McMaster, Dan Coats, Rex Tillerson, John Kelly, John Brennan, James Comey, & William McRaven, who know how dangerous Trump is, should get together as a group & hold a joint briefing/press conference - make clear to us their concerns about Trump as president. They don't have to endorse Biden. They just have to level with us, the American people. C'mon, gentlemen. It's time. You don't serve Trump. You serve us, the American people. Do your duty to your country. Protect us from death, dysfunction, collapse. Protect us. Please. Nobody else is coming.
Don (NYC)
Can ANYONE???!!!
Steven McCain (New York)
Trump is only a symptom of the real problem and I doubt if Biden fix the real problem. Almost half of America is willing to follow a Con Man over a cliff. Knowing the Virus is almost at 200000 deaths can Biden fix those who balk at wearing a mask? Can Biden fix people who call themselves White Christians instead of just Christian? Biden is going to fix the problem with race in America with almost half of America currently supporting a racist? I guess Biden is going to fix what Trump broke after he gets through Walking on Water and Parting The Red Sea.
David (Grass Valley, Ca)
Trust? We used to have leadership that valued others’ trust in us, but Trump and the GOP do not value others opinions or needs. It’s impossible to trust Trump or McConnell, or the rest, because they have consistently demonstrated a lack of concern for the consequences of their policy positions. It’s always USA first, and be damned with the rest of you. When you do not have an guiding ethical principle other than selfishness, it is obvious to all that you should not be trusted. We are essentially a country of backstabbers babbling about conspiracies and alternate facts. Totally untrustworthy. But of all the backstabs Trump has performed, the worse is his denial of climate crisis and impacts. Most sane people see the threats to life and property, and feel desperate to stop it. But Trump’s obstinacy is so vexing, so insane, and so dangerous to our very existence that we conclude he is worthless as an ally, and most probably an actual enemy. It’s his willingness to destroy wantonly and fecklessly that really alienates others.
Jean (Cleary)
rump ha managed to ruin our Country's reputation in such a short time. I believe most of the world will have a collective sigh of relief when Trump is no longer President and his Administration is dissolved. I also believe that most Americans don't give a damn about Foreign Policy unfortunately. Biden's election should bring about a more harmonious and. trusting association with our Foreign Allies.
Ralphie (CT)
Is NATO really needed? NATO was formed due to the threat to Europe by the USSR. That threat has passed. Russia is not planning on invading Berlin or Paris. It might have designs on small countries bordering Russia, but Russia has always wanted these buffer states to ward off invasion from the west (which has happened three times in modern history). And I don't see the French putting taking off their berets or putting down their Gauloises if Russia takes over Latvia. Trump's point with NATO was they should pay their fair share. In fact, they should pay more as NATO is primarily for their own benefit. Under any circumstances, Europe will still enjoy the US nuclear shield. But do we really need US ground troops in Europe in perpetuity? I think not, except if we need troops there for quick access to the middle east. But to defend Europe? Europe has over 500 million (ex Russia) and should be able to easily build a conventional military force that could easily defeat a Russian invasion (which isn't going to happen). Or do Europeans fear the rise of a militarized Germany? On the other hand, we need alliances with Europe (maybe even Russia) to confront China. But again, other NATO countries should pay their fair share for our mutual defense.
P&L (Cap Ferrat)
The question today is will Biden take a drug test before the first debate? America needs to know what they're getting. Peace in the Middle East is certainly a step in the right direction. Actions speak louder than words. The EU knows its best to follow the USA not obstruct.
MH (France)
@P&L You should perhaps take a drug test as well and why not a polygraph for Biden and Trump, Now there's an idea!
Hy Nabors (Minneapolis)
@P&L If Biden has to take a drug test, so should Trump, right? It's only fair. I mean, after all, HE doesn't have anything to hide, does he? By the way, there is no actual medication that can make someone with dementia or other brain dysfunction perfectly articulate and intelligent. It doesn't exist outside of sci-fi novels or conspiracy theories. If it did, everyone's grandma would be taking it. Talk to a neurologist.
Andy Makar (Mason County WA)
@P&L How about Trump releasing his taxes before the first debate?
paplo (new york)
Hi Sylvie, I don't think Biden can fix it. Probably not worth fixing it back to the way it was. Best thing that's happened in the lat 3 + years is that America has been asked to explain itself, who we are. Who are we? Are we even "We?" Not so pretty? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Best thing Biden can do is bring stability. I hope we can learn and address real progress from that moment on.
Beyond Repair (NYC)
There will be absolutley no progress with an obsolete and broken political two-party system. If one of the parties decides not to play along the while country is at a standstill. Political finance and hence corruption have reached banana republic proportions. And there is no way to roll it back!
BWayne (NYC)
In the 60s and 70s , we were still known as “the ugly Americans “. It took decades to fade. How long will it take to eradicate this current stain? Also, WW2 ended In 1945. The Soviet Union fell in 1989. How could we have such a short memory as to why we have these alliances in the first place?
lin (mdi)
"Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?" The Biden Harris campaign slogan, Build Back Better, says it all. Their goal is to restore our government institutions to serve the nation and reform our policies to serve economic, racial, and environmental justice. This is exactly how our Constitution intends us to preserve the republic by serving the general welfare. Democrats have a sensible plan for a sustainable recovery. It all depends on our determination to unite and do all we can to win this election. Victory will be hard won. How can anyone say it isn't worth it?
CallahanStudio (Los Angeles)
Thank you, Ms. Kauffmann, for reminding us that it is not just our domestic troubles we will address in this election, a fact which we may be inclined to forget in our unfortunate self-absorption. It is also interesting to be reminded from a European perspective how much Putin has benefited and would continue to benefit from Trump in office.
SGK (Austin Area)
The global picture is one hard to grasp. But it is not just America that is seized by power-grabbing 'leaders.' It is clear, however, that 'our president' is a glowering illustration of ego gone wild, a narcissist whose needs and wants will mow down any laws and limits to achieve his self-gratification. But the global pandemic is an apt metaphor for the world-wide tilt toward a breakdown in global communication and international allegiances. trump has furthered the me-first move to ensure racial purity, capitalist greed, and xenophobia -- elements seen increasingly in Europe now. Biden cannot 'fix' the problem. But he won't worsen it, as trump will. The dilemma is that trump and co. may so corrupt the Nov 3 election that it'll be impossible to get the autocrat out of office for years to come. And the American people, divided as we are? It seems we'll either be armed, in the streets. Or sheltered, terrified, in our homes. It's not the picture I imagined for our three children born 25 years ago.
Rich888 (Washington DC)
Really, the question is should he? Decades of polite diplomacy have been a losing proposition for the American people. It has enabled Germany to establish a mercantalist regime that generates obscene surpluses to make up for persistent weak growth stemming from years of abusive austerity imposed on the continent. Failure to advance strong climate policies has put Western Europe under the thumb of Putin and his cronies. So yes I'm 100% behind Biden. But my advice to him is to let our partners know that a return to normalcy depends entirely on them coming to grips with these issues. Stated politely, of course.
Voter Frog (Oklahoma City, OK)
When I was a junior in high school, I and about 20 others were fortunate enough to win National Science Foundation awards to spend the summer studying various types of science at the University of Texas. During our free time, the boys sometimes played soccer. As it worked out, we ended up with two teams, one of which contained most of the big guys, the other, most of the smaller, quicker guys. The way the games unfolded was the interesting part. We smaller, quicker guys would skillfully work the ball up toward our opponents' goal. But, then, one of their big guys would step out and--BAM!--boot the ball all the way back to near our goal. This went on repeatedly, until the game stopped being fun for us smaller guys. You now get the point: Trump is the Big Guy who's just booted the ball all the way across the field. We smaller guys now have the chore of moving it back upfield. But, what happens after that? Does some "Future Trump" step in and do what he did? The Universal Principle here is that it's much easier to destroy than it is to create. And, the GOP has clearly adopted this as it's mission--to destroy government so that big business can work, unfettered, to make the very rich even richer.
Patron Anejo (Phoenix, AZ)
@Voter Frog Twittler is the guy that intentionally kicked the ball onto a freeway, where it was run over by a truck. If we reelect, it's "game over".
Voter Frog (Oklahoma City, OK)
@Patron Anejo True and well-spoken, my friend !
Rick Spanier (Tucson)
Kauffman makes it clear that our relations with Europe are in tatters. Should Biden win, a first order of business will be sweeping Trump appointees from the State Department and replacing them with a Secretary and lead diplomats not focused on disrupting the ethos of the diplomatic corps. That will be a stabilizing act assuring former friends and allies America is recovering but still wounded How Europe, especially the G3, respond remains to be seen. Facing their own urgent crises, Covid-19 particularly with its economic consequences, Europe may want to see leadership from its former ally remaining all too cognizant that we, also, are broke. Cleaning up after Republican failed administrations is not new for the Democrats. But this time, we may be able to offer Europe nothing more than moral support. Trump has made America first, the first in line for government assistance to restore sanity and a moral compass to a shattered nation. Europe will have to wait.
Scott (Ohio)
I think the second Trump concedes there will be a huge sense of relief all across the globe. If Joe Biden can harness that renewed energy that will exist and forge ahead with a sensible plan then he cannot go wrong.
Ralphie (CT)
@Scott The huge sigh of relief will be in China, Russia, N. Korea, Syria, Iran etc.
Scott (Ohio)
@Ralphie Russia will be extremely disappointed that the gullible former friend of dictators is gone and they won't have a puppet to play against the Democratic party and it's agenda...
Daylight (RI)
It will take time to fix all of Trump's blunders and failures, but it will take a lot longer, if ever, if Trump stays for another 4 years (or more). Notice I said "stays", not wins re-election. Biden/Harris will work hard towards fixing the mess Trump has made and which he will continue to make until the morning of 20 January 2021. Biden/Harris will try to do the right thing but it will not be easy and will take time, so we will all need to be patient and supportive - including working towards a Democratically controlled Congress. I say Take America Back, Vote for Biden/Harris. Let's put America back on track to being a world class democracy that others want to follow and work with.
Dave (Michigan)
Europe is in trouble. Brexit trouble. Economic trouble. Immigrant trouble. Emergence of right-wing governments in central Europe trouble. Biden cannot fix any of those. He can try to re-establish normal relationships - if they will trust us. He can prevent more damage. To hope for more is probably not realistic.
Evan (Minneapolis, MN)
Honestly, no. Mostly because he doesn't even want to a fix a good deal of it. He's operating from the "let's go back to normal" or "nothing will fundamentally change" frame of mind. He's not even really trying to fix everything.
Thomas Wolfe, the writer, famously wrote that you cannot go home again. Biden has the foreign policy chops that Europe needs in a changing landscape. Biden headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in addition to Vice President so he is uniquely positioned for this moment in history. Biden will rebuild our relationships throughout the world. But I do not see Biden going backward in that endeavor; the neoconservative era (all war, all of the time) is dead, at least for now (and hopefully for good). In its place, I expect a moderate, centrist, welcoming policy that treats our allies with candor and respect - not to mention the rule of law - something that is sorely lacking with Trump. Gone will be the days of us vs. them. I see Biden working much more closely in order to achieve common ground (e.g. climate) with both our allies and our adversaries. But don't confuse nice with weak, especially where Russia (or China) is concerned. I see Biden seeking peace through strength and cooperation, not dividing the world. We call that diplomacy, and it is also in short supply in the Trump administration. Given a Biden victory, I see help on the way.
ASPruyn (California - Somewhere left of center)
Regrettably, unless Democrats take control of the Senate, even a President Biden will probably not be enough. I can hear Mitch McConnell saying that the GOP’s goal is to make Biden a one term president, and go on to thwart any Biden initiatives that need Congressional support. The Generally Obstructionist Plutocrats in the Senate will see that as their only option. And a significant minority of Americans will feel the same way.
Lake. woebegoner (MN)
The larger question, Ms. Kauffmann, is who will fix what Biden does? It's also a fearsome question. Does anyone seriously think foreign relations will be better under Biden? We don't have a party that serves the people. We have so-called leaders who serve their party. What we need is a leader who serves all the people.
Jean (Cleary)
@Lake. woebegoner Read Biden's bio. He has extensive Foreign relations experience. Beats Trump by a long shot
Cynical Liberal (Anchorage, AK)
"But then, Biden will select cabinet members and other leaders who are qualified for their positions, unlike Trump." Where does this assumption come from. His own behavior reflects that his own viewpoints change with the wind but like all politicians, he ultimately follows the money. He hired Kamala Harris, a VP nominee America didn't want and overwhelmingly rejected. But because Kamala Harris is a Democrat, she is suddenly America's darling. Biden will be a figurehead president but he isn't interested in fixing anything. He will be a seat warmer, better than Trump, but certainly no transformational POTUS.
Jean (Cleary)
@Cynical Liberal Biden will be more than a "seat warmer". And this is coming from a Sanders and Warren supporter.
Lupito (San Antonio)
@Jean So “ coming from a Sanders and Warren supporter“ somehow gives your statement more veracity?
Bama Girl (Tornado Alley, Alabama)
The root of the problem is not Trump but the vast swath of ignorant voters, who are so easily played by disinformation and bigotry. Figure out a solution to that. They are not willing to turn off cable news and listen to reason.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
I don't blame European countries for not wanting to attend a summit where they'd just be props in Donald Trump's reality show version of world leadership. He's tried to convince his supporters that Russia is good and Europe is bad, leaving left us hanging out to dry while the world watches in horror. I have no doubt the first act Trump will pursue if he wins this election is to withdraw from NATO. That thud you'll hear is the embrace of authoritarianism. Trump makes no secret of his affinity towards Vladimir Putin; their secret conversations probably have scoped out these scenarios. For the past four years, I've read comments from abroad marveling how fast America has fallen. It seems incomprehensible that Trump has singlehandedly undone longstanding post-war relationships that have defined Amerieca for most of our lifetimes.
Steve (Sonora, CA)
@ChristineMcM - " For the past four years, I've read comments from abroad marveling how fast America has fallen." Germany, 1933-1937 Russia, 1918 - 1922 (not that the czars were anything to cheer about) Japan China It takes very little time for a well-coordinated, authoritarian or militaristic regime to establish itself.
Jean Sims (The Midwest)
Trump hasn’t done anything single handedly. Fox News, the GOP, the Tea Party, Ronald Reagan all contributed to this mess. Union busting, wage stagnation, runaway health care costs, an ignored pandemic of drug abuse in the US have destroyed numerous families, towns, and states (half the people in Kentucky rely on some form of government assistance to survive). Do you think a Mitch McConnell would have come to power in state like Pennsylvania or Illinois? Not hardly. The foundation has been crumbling for decades and those in power ignored it. Now the house is falling down and we’ve only ourselves to blame.
Robert Black (Somewhere In Florida)
The country has been changed forever. So many groups have been formed. Those groups are not going away. Qrump is not going away. Their stance will harden. The rule of law has been exposed as elastic. This was just the beginning not the end of this transformation of America. Evolution is probably a better word.
Butterfly (NYC)
@Robert Black Survival of the fittest? No it's been calculated survival and prosperity of the unfittest. The West Coast is ablaze but Ivanka decries the popularity of ugly sandals. Almost 200,000 AMERICANS dead and Trump focuses on liw flow toilets and shower heads. He hates them both and had them removed from his vathroom at the WH. Why? All those McDonald's bacon cheeseburgers don't flush easily. And his hair needs to be perfect. Priorities are clear here.
Karekin (USA)
And if, by chance, Biden actually does win....he will have his work cut out for him, and I trust that the GOP Congress will fight him every step of the way. However, the most dangerous part of this entire scenario will be the period between election day and the inauguration. In that space of time, lots of very serious damage can be inflicted on this country by a vengeful loser who will still have the reins of power.
Paul (Brooklyn)
In the long run to answer your headline yes, in the short term no. The pandemic masked an economic implosion that would have come sooner of later. Trump's insane Trump war with friend and foe alike. His corporate welfare tax cut along with massive consumer, national, corporate student debt will implode the economy even when Covid 19's economic damage is done. Obama lucked out when the damaged done by Bush 2 and his democrat enablers ie letting Wall Street run wild destroyed the economy in 2008 and helped him win. Now it could be the opposite if Biden wins, ie the collapse will come during his administration although he had nothing to do with it.
ss (Boston)
'In turn ignored, lectured or brutalized by President Trump' Well, Madam, you are badly wrong on this but I did not expect anything particularly reasonable from an elitist from Europe, comfortable and cozy in old good elitists nests and magnanimously sharing lessons to uncouth Americans. Trump does ignore Europe, mostly, and that is good for both sides. He never 'brutalized' Europe, no one can do that except for the people as the author of this text and the infinite bureaucracy in Brussels. It is more likely that Europe is trying to teach America and to tell it that people like Trump are unwelcome anywhere, period. It is Europe, poor, delusional, misled, and infinitely arrogant Europe which is lecturing and admonishing America and not the other way around. And all that because of the mental inability of the elites ruling Europe to comprehend that people like Trump can win democratic and fair elections. Not once but twice.
Voyageur (Mass./France)
@ss Ah, those elusive and over-educated "elites," that tend to believe in science, education, culture, and creativity--not to mention a free press and informed citizens. I would guess that a lot of those 'elites' you disdain would be welcomed in Europe and elsewhere. I also would not be surprised to see scientists, engineers, skilled 'hi-techies,' educators, writers, etc., take their money and run if Trump is selected to a 2nd term. (I have no intention of returning to the US as life here is much nicer. Sadly.)
Walter (California)
@ss Given your writing, I would guess you yourself are unteachable. If you don't like education please get out of the way. It does not matter whether Europe or Fiji does the teaching. Your level of prejudice is awful.
Joel (Canada)
@ss "Intelligent" Europeans do have a hard time understanding how Trump can win a fair election in the US. Naively, they were expecting more from the beacon of democracy. In fact, I don't think he truly won the 2016 election with 3 million less votes. Hence, I am not sure the US system is actually democratic. As a highly educated French-American, I am quite sad to see how anti intellectualism is turning the US politics into a bad reality TV show. Facts be damned. Inconvenient science be damned. Blaming anyone but ourselves: " I do not take responsibility". And you still want to vote for the most incapable, least caring and most corrupt US president ever ? You must hate yourself, somehow, to have this kind of world view and believe the other guy would be worst. By the way, the US is the most elitist country. When you pay CEO 500x or more base salary and cabinet members are picked from the Billionaire donor pool, you can't really claim you are there for the small guys.
Robert Lwvin (Boston MA)
Here is the central element of trump’s appeal: he enables us to double down on the fantasy of the “American dream” - that satisfaction of the appetites is the purpose of life. He is a failure who has risen to the White House; he is a man whose very essence is self-indulgence.
Leigh (Qc)
Whoever wins on Nov 3 Canadians will never again assume our country's wellbeing will matter to the US at a pinch, nor should Europeans. Trump is the bully no one wants in their class, but Americans, falling meekly in line with his regressive America First policies, enabled him to shred understandings and impose punitive tariffs the detriment of everyone (including themselves) and did so when much of the world was still in the middle of trying to sort out the refugee mess America herself largely created with her criminal war for profit and of revenge in Iraq.
Tim (Glencoe, IL)
“No man is a failure who has friends.” Let’s hope America awakens from this long national nightmare, remembers it’s a wonderful democracy, and rejoins Western Civilization.
Allan B (Newport RI.)
If we can’t prove to the world in November that the last four years were an aberration, and not the new normal, then we may as well kiss goodbye to the post WW2 western world as we knew it. It’s that simple, and that scary. Biden, should be win, on “day one”, needs to; Recommit America to NATO Rejoin the Paris climate accord Work with the rest of the world on figuring out the shattered Iran deal mess Unite with Europe and stand up to Putin End these nonsensical,trade wars. Convey to the world that this “America first” nonsense is well and truly binned. We can be proud patriots of our country AND good global citizens. How about ‘America leads’ instead. The world needs us to.
GeMo (Boston MA)
Biden can “mend” relationships with the E.U., even if he cannot completely “fix” them immediately.
Walter (California)
We apologize as a country to the world for this. Nothing like this presidency has ever happened since 1945. It's not an overly dramatic thing to say. Depending on how old you are or your family background it's clear what this horrid man is doing to what our country worked to achieve in a half century is unspeakable.
Doug McNeill (Chesapeake, VA)
Our president echoes the 18th century words of the French monarch: Apres moi, le deluge! His Ptolemaic view of governance with himself as its center is incompatible with an America as one of many planets in interlocked orbits. We must choose between worldviews but we must choose wisely.
PT (Melbourne, FL)
Fear not Europeans. There is a good chance that America will correct its wayward course in Nov. And NATO and the UN will be bolstered, as they should. Should it fail to do so, the consequences for all peoples and the planet will be grave.
Fredo Corleone (Mar A Lago)
Unfortunately there is some damage that may never be repaired. Ask the 60-plus million that voted for him in 2016 and many whom will vote for him again...what is the vision? What would America be like if everything he/they said should be happening here would actually come to pass? That is the long-term issue. That is the population who will keep the repairs from being done to have America be the leader of not only the free world, but of the whole world. Putin and Russia is a reasonable picture of where he wants to go, so is that what they want? America is desperately divided, and the white non-urban folks who think he is their savior have not yet figured out that he and the business folks who support him are the very ones who have made their lives what it is. Nothing about the rest of the world matters to them, and until the next generation of leaders brings ideas to improve our world, this is not a quick fix.
Emil (Pittsburgh, PA)
For 68 years I have witnessed America's bullying in the world, the Middle and Far East, South and Central America, less so in Africa and Central Asia. I applaud our withdrawal from international affairs; it hasn't done our people any good, only cost lives and drained our treasury. For over four centuries, Europe acted the colonial bully in the world. They past the torch to the US after WWII. Time for us to extinguish it, let the world develop on its own terms. China will soon learn that hard lesson in just a few years. I understand your concern, Ms. Kauffmann, but it's all sentimentality, all the glitter of embassies, foreign dignitaries, international conferences and champagne toasts. More ominously, assess the joint American and European military interventions in the past 75 years. What have they wrought? I say let Foggy Bottom revert to the swamp that existed in the Eighteenth Century.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
Trump broke foreign policy and poured gasoline on smoldering fires of racism and injustice at home. Biden can start to fix the foreign policy deficits---e.g., Putin's attacks, real and probing, on US forces; MBS's murder of Khashoggi; Paris accord. Problems at home are beyond one person to fix, but we can hope that Biden will appoint good, decent, knowledgeable people who will begin the task.
Didier (Charleston, WV)
World War II tasted about six years in Europe, and it took about twenty years for Europe to recover. So, analogously, it will take over a decade for America's recovery from four years of the Trump presidency, and a Biden presidency will not be enough. Yesterday, the United States had almost 1,100 COVID-19 deaths, and Canada had less than ten deaths. That tells you all you need to know about the difficult work ahead of us.
kim murray (fergus, ontario, canada)
@Didier A poll was taken here recently and 90-95% of Canadians say the border closure between the US and Canada (the longest undefended border in the world) does not affect their lives at all. 90% say the border should stay closed indefinitely. How ironic that the little timid mouse that is so often dismissed as weak has stood up to the belligerent elephant and barred him from its homeland. This is happening world-wide and I suspect no amount of mitigation will cause other countries to ever trust the US again. How can we now that we've seen how one man, one malignant force, can tear down what was once great about America in less than 4 years? Does not speak well of the resiliency of US democracy or national reason. I am very afraid of what is happening to our neighbour to the south, and the rest of us by extension.
Is_the_audit_over_yet (MD)
He can and the Dems and independents will assist. I view this much like the Great Recession of 2008-9 when the Obama/Biden team took office during a financial meltdown and took drastic steps to stabilize our economy and nation. Mr. Biden will pick the right people and lead with a message of truth, hope and clarity. He has done so in the past and is doing it again in 2020. I am confident that the Biden team will also assemble a DoJ that will be sure justice is served for everyone! VOTE- like your life depends on it
JBell (Waltham MA)
It takes one term for a new President to destroy the accomplishments of the former, and a two term President to get anything good done. God help us.
Petsounds (Great Lakes)
Biden alone can't fix what the *resident has trashed. Of course not. It will take a massive effort by every sentient American to begin to fix it. It will be up to all of us.
TGL (Chicago-ish)
With all due respect, the headline is a dumb question. Biden is the only alternative to Trump, who is certain disaster. Biden is what we've got, so let's get him elected and get on with the long, hard job of repairing what we can.
Blackmamba (Il)
Having started and lost two world wars in Europe, Germany has to submerge and submit it's natural demographic diplomatic, geographic, military, political, scientific and technological advantages to NATO, the European Union and the Eurozone. America and the Soviet Union won World War II. While Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Great Britain lost. Biden can't fix what Trump 'broke' in Europe. Because among the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 was 58% of the white European American voting majority including 62% of white men and 54% of white women. Trump has never been clever covert stealthy subtle. Trump can't be blamed upon divine royal sanction selection nor an armed uniform military coup.
Bowden (NY)
Yes, what Trump broke CAN be "fixed" for the most part. Just take a look at the damage W caused (worst POTUS in recent memory: 2 unnecessary wars, devastating injury and death to thousands of Americans and countless others, horrible world image, gigantic expansion of government bureaucracy with creation of DHS et al, economic Great Recession, etc.) - and how Obama was able to restore things [his election alone won him the Nobel Peace Prize, fair or otherwise].
as (ny)
We need to open our borders to Afghan young men who are suffering from overpopulation, poverty, lack of jobs, lack of sex. These are the bulk of refugees in Greece now who are clamoring to get to Germany or Sweden. With Biden we will finally win and bring prosperity to Afghanistan and the Pashtun lands in Pakistan. Trump claims he wants us to leave AFG. Fortunately Biden does not.
Jean (Cape cod)
Sadly, we all are preparing for the worst. Deep breath, prayer.
Pjlit33 (Southampton)
Trump’s foreign policy stinks! Peace in the Mideast, no new wars, troops come home, this guy Trump is a disaster!
Jean (Cleary)
@Pjlit33 What Peace in the Mid-East? Israel, Bharain and the UAR is not the whole of the Mid-East. Palestine is part of the Mid-East and they were offered nothing. They are still threatened by Israel. I used to be a big supporter of Israel, but they have forgotten their own history of the outrageous Holocaust and instead rely on a thug called Netanyahu to run their country. He treats the Palestinians like they themselves were treated not so long ago. Even most Israelis think is is a corrupt thug, just like his counterpart Trump
Long-Term Observer (Boston)
It took Obama and Biden eight years to fix what Bush and Cheney had broken.
Cemal Ekin (Warwick, RI)
First, we have to stop the breakage which President Biden will do. Then, by bringing sanity to not only to the daily life here in the US but also the world, the stage will be set for normal relations to resume. There will be rough spots for sure, but with goodwill, honesty, and a strong moral compass they will be smoothed.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Not sure Biden can fix Trump's blunders, certainly not right away, as Trump's tramplings have been too destructive to be able to rebuild by one term, even by the most capable and responsible administration we can think of. Still, Biden could stop the mayhem, stop the current organized chaos...and restore the vital trust in our democratic institutions. This comment is a bit charged with irony, as some of us still believe that ignominious, unrepentant, narcissist Trump may be just a symptom of a disease affecting our society. And the need to introspect, be humble for the little we know, and seek solidarity, as we are social beings that depend and care for each other. And, lest we forget, the need to educate ourselves in what's going on, so we may dispense of the fake news sowing lies and conspiratory theories meant to divide us. We can do better; shall we try?
Panthiest (U.S.)
Can Biden fix what Trump broke? Well, he's certainly going to have his hands full trying. But then, Biden will select cabinet members and other leaders who are qualified for their positions, unlike Trump.
Elon Wolf (The Late Great United States)
The US may be a economic and military power, but absent competent leadership it is of no value to G7 and needs to earn its way back in with responsible action and cooperative governance. If Trump is re-elected the G7 needs to smack him by kicking the US out, just as they did Russia. Other third world nations are not included in the G7 so it is hard to see why the US is included. The major downside is that it would drive Trump to pull out of NATO, which he may do anyway, and one would drive the other. A larger downside is that If the G7 did this, Trump would forge a Strongman Alliance with Russia, North Korea and Turkey, a divide the world further.
Jean (Cleary)
@Elon Wolf Trump has already formed that "strongman alliance".
Scott (Mn)
If Europe wants to break it’s dependence on Russian gas, the new it should look to Israel and Cyprus and their offshore natural gas deposits. Between those gas fields, and rolling out renewable sources, Europe can confront the’Bear’ on more firm ground.
eyein the sky (Winston-Salem)
It takes a lot longer to repair something like a smashed car than the fraction of a second that caused all the damage. Given enough time, Trump’s rapid destruction of America and much of the world will be reversed by Biden and a better congress. Be patient. It could take longer than defeating COVID-19.
Clark Landrum (Near the swamp.)
Can Biden fix the mess created by Trump? Seems more likely that a new leader can fix the mess than the one who created it in the first place. Trump doesn't even understand the relationship between America and Europe or much of anything else.
Jean (Cleary)
@Clark Landrum Trump understands quite well. He does not care.
Bob LaBlah (Central Ohio)
Can Biden fix things Trump has broken? No, but his winning can keep Trump from breaking more things. Let’s stop the madness.
Jax (USA)
Biden alone can’t fix much (some). He will be blocked at every turn by the Party of Obstruction. Democrats Must take back the Senate. Then, there’s a chance. They need to get busy, which hopefully they will. Then they can fix things. Of course, first Biden must be elected, and second, Democrats have to find a way to keep Trump from stealing the election.
rtj (Massachusetts)
@Jax He's going to have some serious resistance from the left in congress too, they've already put him on notice. And bless their hearts for it too.
Jean (Cleary)
@rtj Biden is a sensible man. He also is a compromiser. He will deal well with whatever comes his way. He is smart enough to surround himself with experienced and "Country first" people. Biden will be a very good Manager of our Government resources.
William (Minnesota)
I commend this writer for her clear depiction of the European view of America, Trump and the election. I also commend The Times for publishing voices from other countries that add an international perspective largely missing from the rhetoric of the present campaign.
Bob in Boston (Massachusetts)
With the exception of the judiciary, yes. But he won't be able to fix what Republicans and Democrats - including Biden himself - have jointly broken over the last 50 years.
rtj (Massachusetts)
@Bob in Boston Bingo. And the money in politics thing that's the root of it all certainly won't be fixed anytime this decade either. nothing will fundamentally change.
Carol (Key West, Fla)
@rtj ...and the money in politics..., thanks to the "Supreme" Court and the inane Citizens United. Currently we have the equally dangerous Bill Barr and the Courts are filled with Federalists who demand their own version of power that corrupts totally.
JFM (Hartford)
I worry that President Biden can't fix things for the same reason President Obama had trouble - which is the republican need to oppose just to retain relevancy. We need a national unifying event to overcome this reflexive positioning. Unfortunately, national unifying events are usually catastrophies, 9-11, Pearl Harbor, Great Depression. I'm unsure we are at that stage yet.
fast/furious (Washington D.C.)
@JFM The 'national unifying event' is here. It's the COVID pandemic and the resulting economic collapse. Unfortunately, Trump and the Republican politicians and rightwing media have shown us that conspiracies, lies and false pleas for "freedom" and against "oppression" can result in people acting against their own interests to protect their countrymen from the spread of COVID. Those armed vigilantes who stormed the Michigan State House howling against COVID shutdown and mask compliance last May illustrated how much we've become a country divided by crazy partisanship and how powerful extremist groups are when they're fed enough disinformation. This isn't just about Republicans - although a lot of it is. This is also about Trump and others fomenting right wing extremism with no regard for law and order or the safety of our people.
Jean (Cleary)
@JFM We just have to make sure that the Republicans are no longer relevant. Turn the Senate Blue.
Laura P (London)
I have no doubt the damage can be fixed. Just looking at Joe Biden and knowing there will be team of highly competent individuals ready to start the repair work should fill everyone with optimism. I realise I sound a bit too optimistic but really, we can't have this increasingly dystopian nightmare continue. Western democracy is at stake.
rtj (Massachusetts)
@Laura P If you can point to a time when we actually had a genuine functioning democracy, i'd be much obliged. (Even if you discount the fact that that we're not a democracy, we're a republic.)
AM (New Hampshire)
Ardent nationalism is attractive to a lot of xenophobic types, but it splinters the western nations that used to have common ideals for peace and freedom. Nationalism is what brought us world wars and contributed to economic hardships. It has a sordid history. When, as now, the critical global issue (Climate Change) MUST be addressed on a global basis, Trump is determined to make such unity and joint action impossible. Thus, the long-term dangers of his administration may exceed that of any 20th century dictator.
AKJersey (New Jersey)
Of course Biden and Harris can fix what Trump broke with respect to alliances with Europe. This does not require anything new, just restoring the relationships that existed prior to Trump. The first thing the Biden administration will do is to end Trump’s alliance with Vladimir Putin, and restore America’s support for democracy in Europe and around the world. Second, the Biden administration will rejoin and strengthen existing alliances, including NATO, the Paris Climate Accord, and WHO. Third, the Biden administration will reestablish leadership on COVID-19 and international public health. Fourth, the Biden administration will fire corrupt political leaders in the State and Defense Depts., and restore the tradition of good governance by apolitical career officials. It will take years to restore the atmosphere of mutual trust that formerly existed between the US and Europe, but Biden and Harris can start immediately on Jan. 21, 2021. VOTE BIDEN/HARRIS to restore American leadership that was destroyed by Trump.
Andrea (Belgium)
@AKJersey I sincerely hope you're right. Yet, with the American electorate as it is, there's nothing to guarantee that - if Biden wins in november - in 4 years or 8 years another Trump like figure will be elected and the cycle begins again. For a very imperfect comparison: it took Germany decades to regain the trust of Europe and the world - and even now that trust is conditional. (Although the madness that has now engulfed the UK is helping, in a way)
JFR (Yardley)
Can anyone fix what Trump has broken? The world is a vastly more hostile place for Americans, for democracy, for the environment, for our children, and for peace.
SDW (Maine)
If Vice President Biden is elected, a sigh of relief will be heard around the world, at least in Europe and the US. He will have a lot to mend and will have to choose a very savvy US Secretary of State to start repairing the US broken relationships with its partners. These tattered and disunited states had better wake up and elect a president who will work to put our fragile union back on track with the rest of the world. If #45 is reelected, the world will never be the same.
Chris (Missouri)
@SDW The world already will never be the same. That is the deluded promise that keeps the Trump supports going: that MAGA will make it just like it used to be - but using a selective memory. Change is ever present. We can but make preparations for different futures, and deal with what we can. Man plans, and God laughs. As has been said, no battle plan survives intact beyond the first contact with the enemy; but COVID is now our enemy, and the current American administration not only had no battle plan, but dismantled the plan that was put in place a few years ago. As I said shortly after 9/11, the American "We Stand United" theme is a false narrative. We have never been united. The myriad of different cultures that are included in our country make homogeneity impossible. To make our country greater we must CELEBRATE our differences, and happily take on the best traits of other cultures while working towards common goals. If we can't make that process our mindset, we are doomed to fail as a country.
Jean (Cleary)
@SDW Obama would be an excellent choice for Secretary of State. Bloomberg for Treasury. Right there is a human who knows Foreign Policy and has an excellent reputation among our Allies and a human who will head up our weak economy and know what has to be done to fix it.
specs (montana)
I don't know if the damage caused by Trump could be "fixed" with one administration. But ultimately, most diplomatic and social changes are (theoretically) reversible. What is not reversible is the continual environmental destruction (and I'm talking about more than this season's terrible wildfires).
Michael (North Carolina)
As previous commenters have said, the first thing that needs to be fixed is trust in the US. But how do others trust us when they watch us not only elect the likes of Trump but then, after all that has come to light since, refuse to remove him, and even continue to support him to the point that the upcoming election is still in doubt. It's not Biden they'll need to trust, it's the American electorate. And even I don't trust us.
June (Charleston)
@Michael I completely agree. Biden is trustworthy, but U.S. citizens are clearly not.
Rebel in Disguise (TO, Canada)
@Michael - if a POTUS went rogue, started behaving like Trump and 3% of Americans still supported him - I could see myself regaining trust in the US under a new leader. Rather than fringe support, Trump is endorsed by a stunning 45% of Americans - despite how offensively and irrationally he's treated longstanding allies for 4 years. Even if Biden wins, who knows who will be president in 2024. As a neighbour, I won't hand America my house keys and trust it to check on things while I'm away on a vacation or for business. Trump believes all people exist in order to sacrifice their interests so he can better his finances - we don't accept it and won't normalize it. How depressing to see half of Americans support Trump values. This hill to regain trust is a steep climb.
Holiday (CT)
@Michael I don't trust my own beloved America anymore. I thought we were smarter than this. I thought an evil President would be impeached. That Republicans would not stand for perfidy and racism. Was I ever wrong! So how can I expect the rest of the world to trust us? If Biden wins and the Democrats retake the Congress, the legislative branch must pass laws that insure that no other unfit President can commit all the evil actions Trump committed. It will take generations for America to repair trust and rebuild a strong democracy.
Siple (Florida)
The harsh truth is that Europe needs to take over its own agenda, its own fate, including defense and stopping being a child. The EU has substantially more people and a substantially larger economy than the US. It has a better overall educational system, better overall infrastructure, a better health system than the US. And it is close to the areas of the world that are growing fastest in both population and economic growth. TheUS brings Europe as much grief as help—dragging it into all the destruction in the Middle East and forcing it into economic conflict in Asia. The US treats Europe more as a colony than an ally. It is time for Europe to turn East. Bite the bullet and get on with it.
Jim Linnane (Bar Harbor)
@Siple Europe has got to be prepared to defend itself not only in the East. The author's "Europe" is Berlin and Paris. The real "Europe" should include also places that share Europe's ideals. Europe does not realize it, but it has vast reserves of soft power. That means nothing if it does not include hard power and the will to use it if necessary.
fast/furious (Washington D.C.)
@Siple Shortsighted, Mr. Siple. Our European allies have fought and died with us. We share agendas and concerns. It's a mistake to dismiss them as charity cases when their troops have stood by us for decades.
Glenn (New Jersey)
@fast/furious "Our European allies have fought and died with us." Some examples, please. I know they sent token forces to Afghanistan and the Mid_East (although totally embarrassed at our folly), but Europe has been trying to disentangle itself from the U.S. while keeping us as a market for decades.
kirk (montana)
What this piece shows is the utter incompetence of the republican party. We are now a struggling island nation afloat in the world alone as we were in the 1800's. Right where the republican party has wanted us for the past 40 years. The only difference is that we have armed the entire world to the point where conflict will be much more deadly. Let us hope that the world will continue to rebuff us because without our saber rattling, there are far fewer war deaths in the world and the world's economy is actually better for the vast majority of humans (not the American middle class because of republican maladministration). Perhaps a world that ignores a belligerent US will be better off. With a republican administration in 2021 we will find out. With a Biden administration we may be asked to join the discussion rather than dominate it.
mijosc (Brooklyn)
@kirk It was the Republican Party that started the Group of 7 and, before that, the Library Group and the Group of 4, 5 etc. Nixon, Schulz, Ford... It's worth noting that some of the early work of the G of 7 involved debt relief for 3rd world countries, as much as 100%. Also, the Berlin Wall fell during a Republican presidency. But I'd agree that, since George W, the RP has been dismal in terms of foreign policy.
Pat (Somewhere)
@kirk Not incompetent once you understand that their purpose is consolidating power and transferring public wealth into private hands. @mijosc -- today's GOP bears no resemblance to the party even of Nixon and Ford, much less Eisenhower. And the Berlin Wall fell for reasons that had nothing to do with the then-current U.S. President.
Thomas Renner (New York City)
I disagree with trumps isolationism American first policy because you have to be involved with people before you can work with them, influence them or trade with them, That said I also believe America needed a reset of it foreign policy from being the leader to being an equal partner, Joe can easily make this happen by re-engaging these people as a partner, an equal. He has the perfect demeanor for this and all of the players have worked with him and are comfortable with him.
Mark (Washington DC)
America was taken advantage of for far to long in these countries. We reached a low point when President Obama spent 8 years apologizing for America. These apologies infuriated most Americans. The Iran nuclear agreement was another low point. Trump's middle east peace deals and anti war stance represents a new American way of foreign policy. Democrats would be wise to jump on board.
Duffy (Rockville Md)
@Mark Can you point to specific "apologies" that Obama made for America? Was ordering the attack that killed Osama bin Laden an apology? the numerous drone strikes that killed terrorists and Isis fighters? The nuclear agreement was working to keep Iran from going forward to build nuclear weapons. I don't see how a US foreign policy that is designed in the Kremlin is a step forward. We created NATO for our own security. We placed our troops there to stop dangerous Soviet aggression and later Russian aggression. When British and German soldiers fight along side us we don't complain. Selling Bahrain F 35's is not a step toward peace.
Jay (Tuga)
@Mark "These apologies infuriated most Americans"??? No, most Americans did NOT vote for Trump. By over 3 MILLION VOTES.
JB (Nashville, Tennessee)
@Mark Those tired and false talking points wore out their welcome years ago. Obama didn't go on an "apology tour" but after eight years of Cheney/Bush (we know W never called the shots), he should have. Biden will be obligated to go on one for what the GOP's disastrous and selfish "America First" policies have done to our longtime allies. I'll be infuriated if he doesn't.
JDK (Chicago)
Trump is correct about the EU freeloading on US military spending for decades.
Siple (Florida)
The EU spends more on defense than any of its potential enemies other than the US and China. Far more than Russia. It is US military spending that is out of line and it is the US which drags Europe into our wars
Grant (Some_Latitude)
@JDK We didn't fight WWII for Europe's sake. Some people (e.g., FDR) understood that if Europe falls, we're next. The isolationists of that era (read 'GOP') didn't get it. And they still don't.
Wout Ultee (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
@JDK THe EU is right about the USA freeloading on the Paris climate treaty
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
Can Braden fix what Trump broke? He can certainly reverse the specific actions taken by Trump, but one thing neither Biden nor any other possible American leader can reverse: the loss of trust, built up over 75 years, but smashed in one presidential term. After all, if the American voters can against all rational arguments elect a disruptive leader like Trump, they can do it again in a post-Biden era. The problem is fixing American fecklessness, not just the actions Trump has taken.
dk (south carolina)
agree. what trump and the Republicans don't seem to see is at some point in the future we will want help or support from others. this is something best learned in grade school but I guess they missed that day.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
@Ockham9 "...smashed in one presidential term..." No, three terms. Remember W.
Naples (Avalon CA)
@Ockham9 People were already sick of Bush/Clinton dynasties and of scoliotic congresses—paralysis and stagnation. Those who have a distaste for the highly educated did not suddenly develop one in three years. They were just waiting for a bull to vote into the static China shop.
alan (MA)
Can Biden fix Our broken relationship with the E.U.? I think he can. The European Leaders already know Biden and know that Biden understands the real need for International cooperation. They'll be thrilled to have him instead of Trump who thinks that the whole World must revolve around Donald Trump.
Jeff (California)
@alan America's relationship with the EU have not changed. Trump's relationship to the world has been the problem.
C (New York, N.Y.)
@alan This notion that Europe is good and trustworthy to uphold Democratic values is false. Aside from the very active right wing elements that comprise large opposition parties (AfD, NR) which make the Republicans look like boy scouts, there is too many Euros at stake. Europe sells nuclear technology to the MidEastern country with the 4th largest proven oil reserves because the almighty Euro is more important than curtailing nuclear proliferation and promoting world peace. They promote a gas pipeline to Russia the better fund the Kremlin, Putin, and the poisoners, while aiding the poisoned. They sell cars in China while offering those in Hong Kong an escape route. They do all they can when it doesn't cost them a cent.
Andrea (Belgium)
@C For starters, from a European point of view, the AfD, NR and Vlaams Belang in Belgium, PVV en FVD in the Netherlands would fit right in the center of the GOP. Or in other words: a lot of Republicans would feel very comfortable in those parties if they were displaced to those respective countries. And as for money and politics: Look in the mirror - Oil made the US look the other way even after 9/11. All those people coming from South America to the US? For how many decades has the US undermined democracies, supported dictators there and called all opposition 'communists' - just because some large companies feared for their profits? Pot - meet kettle.
See also