Politics

NATO Envoy: End Of An Era For U.S.-Europe Relations

| by Robert Fowler

A former U.S. NATO envoy believes that U.S. relations with Europe have soured following President Donald Trump's trip to the G7 summit. The former envoy predicts, based on European leaders' vocal disappointment with Trump's behavior, that the U.S. will hold less sway over key allies in the future.

On May 28, Trump returned to the U.S. from his first foreign trip, which was capped off by the G7 summit in Italy. The president took to social media to assert that his first gathering with NATO allies had been productive.

"Just returned from Europe," Trump tweeted out. "Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!"

Meanwhile, several U.S. allies expressed disappointment with Trump's overseas activit, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggesting that her country could no longer rely on America to lead the way on key issues.

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"The times in which we could rely fully on others -- they are somewhat over," Merkel said in Munich, Germany. "This is what I experienced in the last few days."

Chicago Council on Global Affairs Director Ivo H. Daalder, who was formerly a U.S. envoy to NATO, noted that Trump's rise to the presidency creates an impasse between the U.S. and European allies.

"This seems to be the end of an era, one in which the United States led and Europe followed," Daalder told The New York Times. "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 acknowledgement of that new reality."

NATO members were reportedly upset by Trump's unwillingness to fully commit to Article 5, the alliance's pact of mutual defense. The president also publicly blasted 23 NATO allies, asserting that they were not spending enough of their gross domestic product for their defense, according to NPR.

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Trump also declined to state whether his administration would commit to the Paris Climate Agreement, the international pact to combat climate change. While 195 countries have signed on, Trump allegedly told Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt that he planned on withdrawing from the deal, according to Axios.

The president had also blasted Germany's trade and car industry, characterizing the U.S. ally as "very bad" on trade.

"His rhetoric and actions suggest he does not consider it a priority to build good and engaging relations with allies the U.S. so far considered its most important ones," German Council of Foreign Relations Research Director Daniela Schwarzer told Reuters.

Daalder asserted that Trump's stances during the G7 summit had angered key U.S. allies.

"The president's failure to endorse Article 5 in a speech at NATO headquarters, his continued lambasting of Germany and other allies on trade, his apparent decision to walk away from the Paris climate agreement -- all suggest that the United States is less interested in leading globally than has been the case for the last 70 years," Daalder concluded.

On May 28, former Republican Sen. Al D'Amato of New York expressed disappointment during a radio interview that Trump would publicly scold NATO allies over their financial contributions.

"You can make those demands in private," D'Amato said, according to The Hill. "You don't have to do it publicly. That just embarrasses people, and it gets people angry. I think he overplayed his hand."

A senior Trump administration official asserted that Trump had merely expressed his priorities to NATO allies.

"This was a summit in which the goals and priorities of the United States and the president really were felt deeply," the anonymous official said.

Sources: AxiosThe HillThe New York Times, NPR, Reuters, Donald J. Trump/Twitter / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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