• Wanted: Leader of the Free World

    Two months into Donald Trump’s presidency, it is clear that Trump cannot control himself or his own administration. Sadly, this observation applies across the board in foreign policy. Trump first warmly greeted Taiwan, threatened a trade war with China, and then abruptly announced that he recognized the one China principle and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson essentially subscribed to China’s interpretation of the bilateral relationship while threatening war with North Korea. These episodes predictably led some to suggest that Beijing would regard him as a paper tiger or that, perhaps more accurately, Trump and his team have no idea what constitutes sound policy. When it comes to Mexico, his immigration policies, which are distinguished by a lack of policy coordination and respect for US laws, have provoked a furor in Mexico even though Trump’s own son-in law unsuccessfully tried to mediate the issue. On Israel, the White House excluded the State Department from discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then Trump blithely revoked fifty years of US policy by abandoning the two-state solution to Israel’s long-running problems with its Palestinian population. The next day Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley contradicted him, stating that the US still supports a two-state solution. On Iran, the administration has both attacked the Iran deal and supported it as the best available option of many bad alternatives. On February 20, Secretary of Defense James Mattis went to Iraq to reassure Iraqis that the United States, despite Trump’s stated desire to seize Iraqi oil, was not really serious about doing so.

    But the most serious and unsettling of these multiplying manifestations of dysfunctional policymaking have occurred with regard to European security.

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  • Germany Rejects Trump's Claim It Owes NATO and US 'Vast Sums' for Defense

    From Reuters: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States "vast sums" of money for defense.
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  • Trump Tweets: 'Germany Owes Vast Sums of Money’ to NATO

    President Trump criticized Germany on Saturday for paying too little to both NATO and the United States for security support
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  • Cohen Joins BBC to Discuss Recent Meeting Between President Trump and Chancellor Merkel

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  • Trump to Merkel: Our NATO Allies Need 'to Pay’

    Donald Trump: I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense.
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  • Burwell Quoted by CBS News on Trade and Recent Meeting Between President Trump and Chancellor Merkel

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  • How to Prevent Future Cyber Attacks

    Wednesday's indictment of Russian hackers, including from Russia's Federal Security Service, over cyberthefts against Yahoo
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  • Merkel Puts Europe First

    German chancellor’s visit to Washington puts focus on US-German, US-European relationships, says Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a tough re-election battle in September and a meeting with US President Donald J. Trump is perhaps not the best way for her to burnish her credentials with the German electorate. The fact that she is making the trip across the Atlantic is an indicator of her determination to shore up the US-German and US-European relationships that have been buffeted by often controversial rhetoric from Trump.

    “If she were looking at this from a purely electoral calculation, she may not have even done this visit because no one in Germany wants to see her necessarily being close to President Trump,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    Making the point that the visit is more about the US-German and the US-European relationships, she added: “She is coming not only as the chancellor of Germany, but as the leader of Europe.”

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  • Trump and Merkel Cannot Afford to Fail

    The massive snowstorm that postponed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the White House is symbolic of the chill in US-German relations. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Merkel’s open borders policy, which has brought over 1,250,000 refugees to Germany since 2015. Merkel has responded with a strong defense of freedom of movement and refugee rights.

    The challenge for both leaders now is to get over the icy rhetorical storm and get down to business. There are major issues on the US-German agenda waiting to be addressed, most of them less divisive than immigration and borders. These include the massive German trade surplus; the imbalance in NATO burden-sharing; how to handle Russia and Ukraine; and multiple Middle Eastern meltdowns. Each of these issues is complex and yet ultimately fixable.

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  • Fearing US Withdrawal, Europe Considers Its Own Nuclear Deterrent

    An idea, once unthinkable, is gaining attention in European policy circles: a European Union nuclear weapons program.
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