The Slovenia Times

Ex-ambassador says US election means end to trans-Atlantic relations as we knew them

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Ljubljana - Former Ambassador to US Bo┼żo Cerar has assessed that the US presidential election has "finally ended the trans-Atlantic relations as we have known them for the last 50-70 years" and that "Trumpism" is very much alive and would be for a while even if Joe Biden wins. Europe will need to come to terms with this and take its destiny in its own hands.

Cerar has told the STA he is happy that the election day in the US was peaceful. "The turnout was very high, the highest in the last 100 years, which shows that the Americans are aware of the importance of the elections, that they still believe in democracy."

The former Slovenian ambassador to the US noted that more than 100 million voters decided to vote early, which means that the "counting will drag on", but is surprised that such a developed country has not been able to determine the election result somewhat earlier.

As Incumbent President Donald Trump is calling for the counting to be stopped in the states where he is in the lead, Cerar said that the "institutions which determine the election result need to be given the required time in line with the law and that no one interferes in this counting."

Everything else, various pressures, even unrest... All of this would cast a large shadow on the US election system, on the reputation of the US in the world. If the things are not done as they should, this is bad for liberal democracy in the world in general."

Cerar noted that the rule is that the vote counting is automatically repeated is the difference between the candidates is smaller than one percentage point. "What to do with the flood of suits and claims about an election fraud without any concrete evidence is another question."

Perhaps it will take days or weeks for the final election result to be established, but what is important that there is no violence and unrest in the meantime, "although it is a fact that the tension is increasing."

He also noted that the polls had wrongly predicted that Biden would get much more votes than Trump. "We can assess that the election was not a referendum against Trump. It did show that the US is very divided, that we are dealing with two poles which are very hateful of each other."

This is a problem for America which will not be possible to eliminate quickly," Cerar said, adding that even if Biden became president, it would be very hard for him to rule due to the Covid-19 pandemic, economic problems, racial tensions and general divisions in society.

If he eventually loses, Trump will not "retire", as the "election has shown that 'Trumpism' is very much alive and that this will be so for a while, as Trump himself will be taking care of this."

Cerar believes that even if Trump came to terms with the result and if all court disputes were unsuccessful, he would still stay present in politics, as almost half of the US is on his side, and "it will get interesting again in four years."

He doubts that Trump will run for president again, but "perhaps someone from his family or his narrow circle of aides will."

According to Cerar, "Trumpism" will still be felt strongly in other parts of the world as well. "The US election is always important for the rest of the world, in particular for the West. In the EU, the belief has been that 2016 was a one-off departure."

After four years, the things are expected to return to normal now, but this "hope has gone, even if Biden wins. Europe will thus need to come up with certain conclusions and take difficult decisions," he added.

Cerar personally thinks that the election has finally made an end to the trans-Atlantic relations as they have been in the last 50-70 years, and that Europe will need to start building its position in the international community more resolutely and independently.

"If it fails to respond appropriately and get organised, the remaining great powers will be competing also over Europe's back," as the situation in the US and in the world has changed drastically in the last four years.

Certain processes were started already during the Obama administration, which were only accentuated more during the Trump administration, with the US turning towards Asia and paying less attention to Europe. "The US sees existentialist threat in China."

"The US tried to get out of the conflicts in the Middle East already under Obama, and there are no major differences between Obama, Trump or Biden in this regard. All these processes should make Europe realise that it needs to turn to itself more, take more responsibility for its own safety and take care of its neighbourhood," Cerar concluded.

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