Trump threatens not only American union, but European too



MEP Peter van Dalen, RD

US President Donald Trump addresses the Nation from the Oval Office. Photo AFP, Doug Mills

Europe must make clear to the extremely divided Americans that it fears for the union of their states.

On the steps in front of the Capitol in Washington, President Abraham Lincoln moved the hearts of his audience on 4 March 1865 when he said America should have "malice towards none and charity for all". It was Lincoln's second inaugural address. He was determined to heal a divided nation just weeks away from the formal end of its bloody Civil War. In the speech, he set out his aim to “to achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

Peter van Dalen is a member of the European Parliament for the Dutch party Christian Union

The magnificent speech as well as the actions of one of America's greatest Republicans stand in brutal contrast to the words and deeds of another Republican, former US President Donald J. Trump.

Trump is focused on his own glory and interests, not those of the nation. His real menace was finally brought home in the report by the Bipartisan Congressional Inquiry Committee on the January 6 insurrection, when the U.S. Congress was besieged and Trump’s “stolen election” conspiracy morphed into a de facto coup attempt, with criminal intent to overturn the votes in seven states.

Where will this end?

Conspirator Trump was, therefore, rightly taken to court by federal prosecutor Jack Smith and, in Georgia, by prosecutor Fani Willis. Trump threatens the union of the US states. Thus, he seems a dark throwback to the 19th century in American history. When the Civil War broke out in America in 1861, there were men like John C. Calhoun, Nathan B. Forrest and Jefferson F. Davis who wanted their truth to prevail. The result was a bloody secession that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Trump also wants his truth to prevail. Hopefully, that will not lead to an actual civil war. Nevertheless, the US is now in a socio-cultural civil war. In all states, in many cities and within countless families, there is great division: people are either for or against Trump. The current danger can also be clearly observed daily on social media. Where will this end?


To be open: I am not a fan of the current president, Joe Biden, either. I find it almost impossible to understand why the Democrats have decided to back this elderly man as their presidential nominee again. Nor why both Republicans and Democrats cannot nominate candidates at least younger than 70.

What can and should we in Europe do given these worrying developments? For one, we need to understand that about a year before every US presidential election, the relationship between Europe and the US always becomes complex. This election season it’s likely to become much more so than usual. The States, as a country and government, is self-centred during such a period. Europe should not expect too much from mutual relations before the inauguration of the next president takes place in January 2025.

Having said that, our transatlantic relationship is crucial: the US is our most important ally, and developments there affect us directly. So, an important question is what we can do in the year leading up to Election Day, 5 November 2024.


We need to be impressing upon the Americans that we fear for their union. Let us keep trying to open their eyes and expose the many lies.

Furthermore, Europe should also determinedly hold to its own goals and remain united as it defines its own direction. That means, sticking together to help Ukraine, and realising that our main adversary lives in the Kremlin. In addition, we must help our own citizens get through the coming winter by ensuring sufficient and affordable energy.

Above all, let us not get caught up in the same web of division and hatred that Trump is spinning to trap Americans.

This article was translated by CNE.news and published by the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad on August 23, 2023



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