For nine days, Donald Trump has been traveling across the Middle East and Europe, bringing every terrible stereotype about “ugly Americans” to vivid life. He labeled Germany (where he doesn’t have business interests) “very bad” after saying nary a critical word in Saudi Arabia (where he does have business interests). He chastised our partners in NATO while revealing he doesn’t actually understand how it all works. He literally threw his weight around like an attention-starved problem child, and he broadcast his every move to the world via his cellphone, which would be a security risk if we had a president anyone wanted to kidnap....
“NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” Trump said in a lecture he delivered at NATO headquarters. “But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying, and what they are supposed to be paying, for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.”
Trump seems to think NATO is like a social club, with member nations paying dues into some central kitty. It isn’t. A 2014 agreement established that member countries should be spending 2 percent of their GDP on their own military defense. Those countries have until 2024 to hit that goal. Trump is trying to be the world’s policeman on a policy that’s neither set in stone nor even a concern for another seven years. It’s also rich coming from someone whose most noted business practice is a refusal to pay his debts.
The speech went over like a lead balloon with assembled world leaders, who smirked, snickered and whispered to each other as Trump spoke. In the video below, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel and France’s Macron seem to share a giggle at Trump’s expense.
Chris Cillizza at CNN:
On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel uttered a single sentence that speaks to how fundamentally President Donald Trump has reshaped -- and will continue to reshape -- the world, and America's place in it.
"The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent, over," Merkel said at a beer hall(!) rally to support her campaign.
While Merkel made no mention of Trump specifically, she made clear that her realization had come "in the last few days" -- a time period which overlapped with a G7 meeting in which Trump blasted America's traditional European allies over NATO obligations and made clear that he was more than willing to go it alone on climate change and trade.James Masters at CNN:
Germany's foreign minister launched a scathing criticism of Donald Trump on Monday, claiming the US President's actions have "weakened" the West and accusing the US government of standing "against the interests of the European Union."
Just 24 hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Europe could no longer completely rely on traditional allies such as the US and Britain, the country's top diplomat, Sigmar Gabriel, went a step further.
"Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk," Gabriel said.
"The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union. The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker."Samuel Osborne at The Independent:
Germany should reconsider sharing intelligence with the United States, because Donald Trump and his administration "chatter too much" and could give critical information to Russia, a German MP has warned.
Thomas Opperman, the leader of the Social Democrats (SDP), described Mr Trump's handling of classified information a "security risk for the West".
It comes after Angela Merkel suggested Germany and Europe can no longer rely on the US under Mr Trump.
Eli Watkins and Laura Koran at CNN:
French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that there was indeed a deeper significance to the prolonged handshake he shared with US President Donald Trump in Brussels.
"My handshake with him, it's not innocent," Macron told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Sunday. "It's not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth."
In the interview, Macron compared his own handshake to his leadership posture.
"One must show that we won't make little concessions, even symbolic ones," Macron said.
The centrist European leader also likened Trump's diplomatic approach to those of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Donald Trump, the President of Turkey or the President of Russia are of a mindset of power relations, which doesn't bother me," Macron said. "I don't believe in diplomacy of the public invective but in bilateral dialogues. I don't let anything go. That's how one makes oneself respected."
It is a tactic that others have also employed when meeting the US leader. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House, he came prepared, managing to counterbalance Trump's grip with a combination of poise and control.