Trump shows Italy's PM the middle finger pic.twitter.com/IGlO1TMoPg
— Dennis Naghizadeh (@DNaghizadeh) May 28, 2017
The New York Times reports: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Europe’s most influential leader, has concluded, after three days of trans-Atlantic meetings, that the United States of President Trump is not the reliable partner her country and the Continent have automatically depended on in the past.
Clearly disappointed with Mr. Trump’s reluctance to publicly endorse NATO’s doctrine of collective defense — or to agree to common European positions on Russia, climate change or global trade — Ms. Merkel said in Munich on Sunday that traditional alliances were no longer as steadfast as they once were, and that Europe should pay more attention to its own interests “and really take our fate into our own hands.”
Her strong comments were a further indication that Mr. Trump’s trip did not go down well with major European leaders and seems to have increased trans-Atlantic strains rather than diminished them.
“This seems to be the end of an era, one in which the United States led and Europe followed,” said Ivo H. Daalder, a former United States ambassador to NATO who is now the director of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Today, the United States is heading into a direction on key issues that seems diametrically opposite of where Europe is heading. Merkel’s comments are an acknowledgment of that new reality.”
Ms. Merkel, who did not mention Mr. Trump by name, also spoke of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which means the bloc will lose its second-largest economy and one of its two nuclear powers. Britain’s departure, or “Brexit,” will also weaken trans-Atlantic ties and leave the Continent more exposed than before.
“The times in which we could rely fully on others — they are somewhat over,” Ms. Merkel said, speaking on the campaign trail after a contentious NATO summit meeting in Brussels and a Group of 7 meeting in Italy. “This is what I experienced in the last few days.” [Continue reading…]