IT seems right and fitting that on the 4th of July, an important day of celebration in America, we remind ourselves of just how much damage their president is doing to his country’s traditional alliances and post-war diplomatic leadership.

It’s no secret that Trump is not enamoured with the European Union. The president is keen to see Britain out of the EU as soon as possible, the harder the Brexit the better. And then he wants other countries in Europe to follow suit. This is not really much of a surprise, given his dislike of all regulatory bodies that stop him from getting what he wants. He’s not a fan of Nato either, suggesting that other member nations don’t contribute their fair share compared to the financial input of the US.

As for the UN and the World Trade Organisation, he’s not got much time for them either. It’s all about getting what Trump feels is the best deal, and if that means trashing old allies and destabilising existing treaties, then so be it in his quest to put America First.

The problem is, we can’t all be first. But Trump’s not interested in rational arguments like that, or what happens to everyone else for that matter, nor does he care how transparent his motives appear. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Trump asked Emmanuel Macron if, like the Brits, he fancied leaving the EU. We’ve two European officials to thank for this tasty leak on the two presidents’ secret talks earlier this year, and it gives important insight into Trump’s motives.

That whole get-together between Macron and the American president must have been an excruciating experience for both of them, never mind us watching at home – Macron putting a brave face on it, grinning and bearing Trump’s ridiculous lack of protocol or objective knowledge of world matters, and Trump, with no idea what the French president stands for or believes in, just winging it with self-interest as usual. I wonder what Macron, ever the diplomat and mover and shaker, said in reply to the question about the EU? Hopefully it was written in big letters on a whiteboard or in cartoon format so Trump could understand.

Not that the president really gives a damn. He’s too busy working his way through his “dictators of the world” to-do list. Meanwhile, his aides hold secret talks with Brexiteers in London, hatching more dastardly plans which no-one in the current US government has any intention of sticking to if it looks like they’ll lose some of their millions.

Apparently, John Bolton, US National Security Advisor, met with members of the shadowy Eurosceptic European Research Group this past week to discuss future trade deals post Brexit. Liam Fox must be light-headed with relief – finally one trade deal could be secured under his watch, although according to Bolton it wouldn’t be all signed, sealed and delivered until two years after Brexit. So, Mr Fox is still stuck deep in the doo-doo. He knows that even if it actually happens, it will be a trade deal that is made by, from and for America, especially if, by then, Trump is on his second term as president.

Whatever the outcome of Brexit, hard or soft, it’s all good as far as Trump is concerned. With Britain out of the EU, he’ll be looking to see who is next in Europe to jump, what other country thinks they’d be better off alone and free of liberal EU guidance and post-war security. France is crossed off the list for now, so he’s been having a go at Angela Merkel in Germany instead whilst she’s on the offensive against populist forces in her cabinet. Merkel is so far keeping her head and her position. Trump will need to turn his Twitter attention elsewhere.

Meanwhile, his erstwhile buddy and ex-advisor Steve Bannon is still on the loose, sowing the seed of discord and discontent around the continent, with plenty of takers for his brand of anti-establishment and anti-multiculturalist populism. Macron has described the rise of right-wing populism in Europe as “a leprosy”, but politicians like Matteo Salvini in Italy and Viktor Orban in Hungary have more than a fleeting admiration for far-right tactics, and along with Trump, gain popularity with voters by attacking faceless elites and the mainstream media.

Of course, just like Brexit, it’s a massive double bluff. There’s only one set of winners in the breaking down of regulation, in the disunion of allies, in the abandonment of human rights and closing of borders – and its certainly not the unemployed, the disenfranchised and the dispossessed.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” reads the inscription under the Statue of Liberty. Under Trump not only will they not be allowed entry to the promised land but they will be multiplied many times over worldwide.

Now all eyes will be on Trump and Putin’s meeting in Helsinki later this month, especially since it follows what’s likely to be a lively and combative meeting of Nato leaders in Brussels and a protest-demo loaded visit to the UK by the president-elect.

It could be a turbulent summer but questions still need to be asked – who will gain most from the dismantling of the EU and from Brexit, who will benefit from a destabilised Nato, or from a new world order designed by Trump and Putin with everyone else bullied out of the way?

It certainly won’t be the good guys, whoever they are. And it certainly won’t be working people bewitched by populism’s narrow dreams. It’s time for Europe to wake up before Trump railroads us all.