Sticks Will Not Replace Carrots - The Limits of US Influence in Europe
Analysis by Márton Ugrósdy
Europe and the United States of America are drifting apart – conventional wisdom has it that Old Europe was never in love with Republican presidents anyway. But with Donald Trump at the helm, the US soft power to influence European allies is quickly fading away, highlighting long-existing differences in the transatlantic relationship, and straining NATO ties, still of paramount importance for both American and European countries alike. At the moment, the United States cannot credibly claim to be the ”shining city on the hill,” and this deteriorating image has tangible impacts on European countries, most importantly those in the Central European region, which are on the frontline of the recent NATO–Russia tensions. Russia is actively attempting overt and covert actions in order to make inroads with regional governments by using political, economic, and unlawful tools, while the United States sits idle, with only the military and the Pentagon keeping up the presence, especially through the enhanced European Deterrence Initiative, that provides momentary comfort for worried allies.