Why Is Europe So Afraid of Fighting Back Against Trump?

Jeff Malet/Newscom via ZUMA

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John Bolton went on TV yesterday to make it clear that the United States will sanction European companies that continue to do business with Iran. In response, Europe expressed their very slight annoyance over this:

European officials have said they are looking for ways to help their companies escape the brunt of the U.S. sanctions. France’s foreign minister said Friday he had asked for exemptions or longer grace periods for the exit of French companies such as oil-and-gas giant Total SA and car maker Peugeot SA that have returned to the Iranian market since the 2015 nuclear accord.

….European diplomats have complained that the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran agreement when they were still eager to continue consultations and without explaining Washington’s new nuclear demands on Tehran….Despite complaints in European capitals, Mr. Bolton suggested European allies might agree to new U.S. approach once they digest Mr. Trump’s decision and face the threat of sanctions.

I realize that countries can’t afford to respond to stuff like this the same way that a blogger might. Still, surely by now the Europeans understand that Trump doesn’t respond to “negotiations” or “complaints.” As far as he’s concerned, those are just signs of weakness. Either you punch back as hard as he punches, or else he ignores you.

I wonder why they’re still treating him with kid gloves? Why not fight back and then bide their time until America comes to its senses and elects a new president?

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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