In Praise of a Transatlantic Divorce

Trump’s trip wasn’t a “home run,” but it’s not bad for Europe to start taking more responsibility for itself.

The foreign-policy establishment is in a dither this week over Donald Trump’s recent truculent, bumbling, and boorish conduct in Europe. Their concerns hit a new high when German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech back home declaring “the times in which we could rely fully on others” are “somewhat over” and suggesting Europe “really take our fate into our own hands.”


The reaction back in the United States was swift and bordered on hysterical. The Atlantic’s David Frum declared Trump’s trip a “catastrophe,” and Joe Scarborough said it had done more damage than any presidential meeting since Nikita Khrushchev bullied John F. Kennedy at their meeting in Vienna in 1961. Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations tweeted that Merkel’s reaction was a “watershed” that the United States had sought to avoid since World War II. Vali Nasr of Johns Hopkins University lamented that Trump had managed “in less than 3 months … to undo 7 decades of Transatlantic relations.” Needless to say, most of these commentators see this as a dramatic setback for the United States and a sign that the post-World War II order is headed for the dustbin of history.


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