Why Is Europe So Afraid of Fighting Back Against Trump?

Jeff Malet/Newscom via ZUMA

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?


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.