From across the Atlantic, a small Scandinavian nation often mentioned during the U.S. election campaign is now trying to make sense of the signals coming from the former reality TV star who unexpectedly made it into the White House
From across the Atlantic, a small Scandinavian nation often mentioned during the U.S. election campaign is now trying to make sense of the signals coming from the former reality TV star who unexpectedly made it into the White House. Denmark, a country whose welfare model Bernie Sanders famously said the U.S. should try to emulate, is trying to “figure out what role we should have in the game being played right now,” Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen, 49, said in an interview in Copenhagen on Friday.
He says the confusion sparked by the signals coming from U.S. President Donald Trump feed a sense that “virtually everything has been flipped upside down.” Like other European nations, the main concerns in Denmark following some of Trump’s remarks are to do with the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as free trade. “They’re the two biggest headaches,” Samuelsen said.
But behind all the bluster, the Danish foreign minister says a pattern appears to be emerging that suggests the “Twitter diplomacy” that Trump has used isn’t necessarily what the world should assume will ultimately become policy. “The fact of the matter is that no Twitter update will change legislation,” Samuelsen said. “There’s always fundamental work that needs to be done, and we need to compare what’s said on Twitter with the actual policy.” Samuelsen was among politicians to openly condemn Trump’s travel ban, turning to Twitter to slam the measure as “NOT fair.”
Read more: Trump vows to fight after losing battle with appeals court. But through its diplomatic channels, Samuelsen says Denmark is among nations now “fortunately getting different signals” on U.S. policy from those being broadcast by the president via Twitter.
“There’s every indication we’ll still have NATO,” he said. The U.S. “doesn’t simply want to walk away. They just want other countries to contribute more. They don’t want to cancel sanctions against Russia. The new UN ambassador underscored that it’s important to stand by that policy.” Whether Trump’s rhetoric should be taken seriously or not, Samuelsen says it’s clear that the new White House administration makes it imperative for Europe to show a united front in dealing with the U.S. “We’ll face a vacuum if some of the things Trump says hold up,” he said. “We need to be ready for that along with our European allies.”