If the US midterm elections have taught the Europeans a lesson, it is this: The ascent of Donald Trump and his followers is no accident.
It’s obvious now that Mr Trump’s base is so significant that he is likely to be re-elected in two years. Europe should therefore brace itself for at least two things: Six more years of a Trump presidency, and a lasting downsizing of the transatlantic relationship and a new role for the Europeans in the world.
It is clear that waiting things out is no longer an option. After the Nato summit in July, for instance, contingency plans were widespread. One fallback position was: No more summits as long as Mr Trump is in power. Another was: Let’s move things to an operational level between member nations and leave high-level Trump representatives as much as possible out of the picture.
This strategy might have worked as a blueprint to survive four years of the Trump administration – but it is definitely not suited to outlive eight years of Mr Trump. The same is true when it comes to climate change, global trade or security.
Mr Trump’s agenda is so different to the one pursued in France, Germany or Britain that Europe has to take its fate into its own hands.
This is not necessarily bad news: Notoriously slow when it has to adapt to new circumstances, Europe can neither hide behind the United States now nor turn a blind eye to the changing global political landscape.