Experts believe president Trump’s first overseas trip was a disaster for U.S.-European relationships, as America’s European alliance hasn’t sunk this low since George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Trump’s Trip Sours Relationship with Germany
Trump’s trip started with a record weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, continued with a bizarre handshake with the French President, an embarrassing shoving of Montenegro’s Prime Minister during a photo op, a lecture of NATO allies, and ended with the refusal to commit to the Paris climate deal.
After the meetings with Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at an election rally in München, Germany, that Europe could no longer entirely depend on the U.S. and the U.K. The German leader thinks that Trump’s election in America and the Brexit vote in Britain means that old alliances now stand in quicksand.
The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to some degree, over. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,
Merkel told a crowd of supporters Sunday, hinting at the U.S. president’s comments in recent days.
Trump blasted Germany in a Brussels meeting for selling too many cars in the U.S. He suggested a trade war could be looming as the U.S. needs to do something about it. This paired with Trump’s refusal to shake Merkel’s hand earlier this year in Washington could mean the U.S.-E.U. relationships face a new rift.
European Leaders Think Trump is Weakening the West
Other German officials were more direct than Merkel in criticizing Trump. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel thinks Trump’s multi-billion-dollar arms deal with the Saudis is “short-sighted”. Gabriel accused the U.S. president of “weakening” the West, and suggested Washington’s policies are “against the interests of the European Union.”
European relationships haven’t been so tense since Bush resorted to name-calling when European nations opposed his invasion of Iraq. However, this time, it may be even worse, since European leaders may rule that the American politics is broken and Bush’s and Trump’s leadership has morphed into a dangerous trend, rather than an oddity that should be waited out.
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