Staunton, December 4 – The deputies of the European Parliament who form Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) at a meeting in Amsterdam say that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump along with the Islamic state are the main threats to the liberal values that form the basis of Europe today.
ALDE leaders declare that they have achieved many victories over the past year but that there continue to be serious challenges to the world as they would like to see it, and the European liberals say that “the most serious” of these are “Putin, Trump, and the Islamic State” (ng.ru/politics/2017-12-04/1_7128_putin.html).
“To a certain extent,” Aleksey Gorbachev of Moscow’s Nezavisimaya gazeta says today, ”the unity of European liberals has been promoted by the foreign policy of Putin and Trump, one in which many see an effort to undermine the unity of the European Union.” And Ukrainian participants at Amsterdam draw a parallel between Putin and Ukraine and Trump and Europe.
Putin’s aggression against Ukraine has united its people as never before, they say, while Trump’s attacks on European governments have “clearly strengthened European identity.” Indeed, the European liberals say, their recent victories in the European Parliament became possible because “Europeans understand who Trump is.”
While Europe’s liberals are committed to countering Russian propaganda, many of them told Gorbachev that in their view, the Russians themselves must take the steps necessary to produce regime change in Russia. That may seem a distant dream now, one of them remarks, but “one day people will simply be fed up, and if the Russians demand freedom, they’ll get it.”