President Joe Biden was not up for election on Tuesday, so the rest of the world was able to follow the outcome of this American vote more relaxed than two years ago. The constitution gives the president a strong role in foreign policy, so the wind in Washington should not change fundamentally in the next two years: As long as Biden is in the White House, the world power will maintain its traditional alliances and continue to try to contain China and Russia. The Europeans in particular will benefit from this, as they will probably see a president from the old transatlantic school for the last time.
The unknown is the new Congress. If the Republicans win even one chamber, which was initially unclear on Wednesday, they will make life difficult for Biden. This applies above all to the Trumpists, whose isolationist inclinations were even strengthened by the Ukraine war. They may be tempted to throw a spanner in the works when it comes to funding further aid packages for Kyiv.
And left-wing Democrats are sympathetic to a negotiated solution, even though they recently withdrew a letter on the matter. In any case, one should be prepared for the possibility of changes, as the FDP general secretary is right. The Europeans could fill gaps in finances rather than in arms.
Because of the war, America’s security guarantee for Europe regained importance in a way that no one could have imagined after the fall of the Berlin Wall. That Election Day indirectly put a damper on Trump’s return plans doesn’t mean he (or any of his disciples) couldn’t win in 2024 after all. The 100 billion that Germany is now investing in defense is money well spent, but that’s not all. Europeans must continue to do more to protect themselves if their safety is not to depend on election results in America.