Menu
A+ A A-

Trump in Europe: U-M experts can discuss

University of Michigan experts can comment on President Donald Trump's visit to Poland and Germany to participate in the G20 summit and his meeting with presidents Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Enrique Peña Nieto (Mexico) amid increased tensions in the Korean Peninsula after North Korea's long range missile test.

Brian Porter-Szucs is a professor of history and studies modern Poland, Roman Catholicism and the economics of socialism and capitalism. He is currently in Poland conducting research and has been writing extensively about current events from a Polish perspective at porterszucs.pl/blog. He can discuss the rise of the far right and xenophobia, Europe's economic struggles and any issues related to Poland.

"Poland's authoritarian ruler, Jarosław Kaczyński, said last week that other European countries 'envy Poland' because Trump decided to visit here, and the figurehead president installed by Kaczyński, Andrzej Duda, said that the American president's support will strengthen Poland's position internationally.

"It is hard to imagine how this could be true. Given the deep distrust of Trump among European leaders (and the overall contempt with which he is viewed across the continent), the only possible outcome of today's spectacle is to further Poland's isolation within the European Union."

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ronald Grigor Suny is the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History and professor of political science. He is also a senior researcher at the National Research University-Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

"President Trump's options dealing with Russia are rapidly narrowing, yet at the same time the urgency to talk to Putin increases daily. The threat from North Korea is the most immediate problem but there are also major issues in Ukraine, Syria, and on cybersecurity. He should ignore the noises in Washington and strike out boldly with Putin, taking the criticism that will follow. Should he be able to come up with something positive with Putin, he can improve his standing with his own party back home."

Contact: 734-646-1498, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 Linda Lim, professor emerita of corporate strategy and international at the Ross School of Business.

"This G-20 meeting will be more consequential than most, given several major critical and contentious international issues that are confronting these 'leaders of the world community.' President Trump's pronouncements will be particularly watched for what they might indicate of the world's pre-eminent superpower's change in policy directions--in the economic realm, from champion to skeptic of free trade and international environmental cooperation.

"All eyes will also be on China as the rapidly rising No. 2 to see if it is willing to go beyond rhetoric in assuming the leadership mantle supporting globalization and environmentalism that President Trump appears to be discarding. But, I suspect all the economic issues will take a back seat to North Korea and the threat of war."

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Melvyn Levitsky is a professor of international policy and practice at the Ford School of Public Policy. He spent 35 years as a U.S. diplomat under eight presidential administrations. He served as officer-in-charge of U.S.-Soviet bilateral relations and as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

"U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley made a very tough statement at the Security Council. This followed U.S. and South Korean show of force; a testing of both countries' defensive and offensive missile systems. The fact remains, however, that except for tougher sanctions, the U.S. and its allies do not have good options and the North Koreans have shown determination to ride out or get around the sanctions system.

"The military option carries with it the danger of an artillery attack by the North against Seoul and other South Korean cities as well as a military ground invasion from the North via its more than million-man army. China fears even more instability in North Korea that could trigger a huge refugee flow into its territory. Getting China to do more and seeking tougher, stricter sanctions appear to be the U.S. objectives at this point."

"Poland's government seems ecstatic over the Trump visit, but except for similar anti-immigrant policies, the two presidents will certainly have different perspectives on other issues, including the Russian threat. Poland has good historical and current reasons to fear direct and subversive aggressive Russian moves against it. Trump continues to show reluctance to stand up to Putin. Trump will bask in the glory of a more than warm welcome in Poland -- a welcome he would not get from Western European leaders and publics. White House statements thus far do not indicate that Trump will confront Putin on hacking or Ukraine or on the Russia-Iran-Assad alignment, but this will be the first opportunity to see if the Trump Administration is willing to engage in tough talks with the Russians."

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Alan Deardorff, professor of public policy and economics, is an expert on international trade. He developed the Michigan Model of World Production and Trade, which is used to estimate the effects of trade agreements.

"I expect that Trump will be pressured by most of the other leaders to reverse his decision on the Paris climate accord, to back off from his protectionist comments and threats on trade, and to be more open to allowing refugees into the US. I don't expect much change from him on any of these fronts."

"The one area where I hope that the leaders might make some headway would be persuading him that he can achieve his objectives without undermining the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, both of which have contributed to stability in the world, very much as a result of United States leadership."

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Marina Whitman, professor of business administration and public policy, is an expert on international trade and a former chief economist and first female group vice president at General Motors Corp.

Contact: 734-662-8593, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.