Allies at Cross-Purposes: Trump Puts Europe Into Damage-Control Mode

America’s allies met with Iran to try to preserve the nuclear deal, while criticizing the bloodshed surrounding the U.S. Embassy’s move to Jerusalem.

Comments: 44

  1. “if Europeans are serious about their strategic autonomy, now is the time to demonstrate it by standing united behind their shared interests.”
    The EU specifically and other nations around the world have to begin to focus on their own priorities. If that means casting the U.S aside, so be it. Stop letting the U.S. define what the direction the world must move in. Start chipping away at the financial and trade powers that we hold as the sword over the world and forge agreements without us.
    Why doesn't anyone ever talk about regime change in the U.S.?

  2. I would only remind Wayne that the EU should not acquiesce to Mr. Trump. The majority of US citizens and especially US financial and foreign policy experts wished to abide by the Obama administrations commitments to the Iran accord, the pacific trade agreement, the Paris climate accord etc

  3. Because other nations dislike and feud amongst each other just as much, if not more, than they do with the US. Even if China surpasses the US in economic clout, it doesn't matter one lick - by dint of size alone, the US is too big to "chip away" at the influence we have. Unless you want to totally outlaw all global trade, everywhere, for everyone? That would do it.

    No one's talking about the things you bring up because they live in the real world and not an anti-American fanfiction or anime.

  4. They do, its called an election.

  5. Regime change does not work to the benefit of the people of the nation targeted, Chile and Vietnam come to mind. Been there, done that. It only damages us further in the eyes of the world as it should. If and when the Iranians want a different form of government, they will have it on their own terms. Meanwhile, we should focus on bringing such governments into the world community by influencing the agendae for inclusion.

  6. While Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, has said that the American intention is to force Iran into new, broader negotiations, European officials said they had heard no American strategy for doing that.

    Bullying doesn't count as a strategy? Trump and company goes in to lay waste to existing agreements and deals, and then get angry when there's nothing to show for all their 'strategy.' There will have to be regime change in this country before anything about that changes. Even then there will be a lot of cleanup to take care of before progress can be re-established.

  7. "After a series of decisions by President Trump that have split the trans-Atlantic alliance, European foreign ministers have begun a scramble to contain the fallout to their own interests, global institutions and stability in the Middle East."

    So much for Emmanuel Macron's unctuous attempts to jolly Trump into staying in the Iran nuclear accord. Just the sight of Macron draping himself all over Trump when he was here in Washington for his state visit made me cringe. I suppose this is what happens when you're the president of a country, but you're barely 40 years old and thus haven't had enough time to develop a sufficient level of crusty cynicism.

    I hope Macron has learned a powerful lesson, and won't be making the same mistake twice in his dealings with Trump.

  8. Macron will not learn any lessons. He's a tool of the neoliberal European right and his only mission is to dismantle the French social rights system. His actions vis a vis Trump are purely for public relations. He is as weak as his predecessor.

  9. I thought Macron's behaviour was a display of deepest cynicism.

  10. That Iran wants to "avoid a more open confrontation with Washington" while preserving the nuclear deal with Europe tells us that the only "disaster" in this picture is Trump and Bolton at the helm for the U.S. Trump pulls out of the deal with no cogent explanation to the American people, no coordination with Europe, and no Plan B. The U.S. is increasingly isolating itself while the rest of the world moves ahead.

  11. When Netanyahu addressed Congress, he went over the head (and objections) of Obama, but his real target was the fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants who see Jerusalem as both the beginning and eventual end of our time on Earth. In that he was successful, as the "Jewish Capital" issue was ready and waiting for Trump -- a president who could not be president without the votes of this religious core of fanatical followers.

  12. Another policy disaster by President Trump:
    Now Iran is demanding financial assurances and support from Europe, Russia and China, for them to keep the nuke deal intact.
    Trump has put Iran in a commanding position.
    The 'great' deal-maker is way out of his depth.

  13. Trump is acting unilaterally, against the advice of his allies.
    If he acted like this just within the US, we would call him a dictator.
    If he acted like this in a schoolyard, we would call him a bully.
    With each success, a bully becomes more extreme.
    The rest of the world can stand up to Trump now, or can back down and continue to back down for the next 6 years.
    Every sanction the US imposes on the rest of the world affects US interests equally. We saw that with his China sanctions affecting US farmers.
    The rest of the world will feel the pain for a while, until US interests - feeling equal pain - do something about the Bully President.
    The time to stand up to a bully is the first time he bullies.

  14. Don´t forget that he is also King Donald, with a Divine Right to govern, as is with a useless congress.

  15. Why won't the NYTs call the "shooting" of thousands of unarmed Palestinians for what it is? A Massacre! The US has no standing to tell the Europeans what to with Iran in regards to the nuclear deal. Trump walked. But the fool seems determined to have a trade war with Europe. On top of that he is demanding the Iranians continue to allow US inspections. Trump continues to wreak havoc in major hot spots in the world including escalating the tensions in Ukraine, arming the right wing nationalist gov't in Kiev.

  16. Very good point. The "Boston Massacre" that patriots are so proud of, and which played a big role in the American "revolution," occurred when several hundred people surrounded 8 British soldiers, pelting them with snowballs and rocks for hours and refused multiple orders to disperse. The soldiers opened fire, killing 5. That apparently is a historic "massacre." But heavily armed Israeli troops--in no real danger--opening fire on largely unarmed protesters hundreds of yards away and on the other side of a formidable fence, killing 60 including children and journalists, and wounding thousands... gets the neutral term "bloodshed."

    And that's what we call "objective journalism"!

  17. Lots of reporting about European investment while ignoring the largest global investor in the world and #1 oil customer of Iran, China.

    China companies have much less fear of US secondary sanctions. They surely noted how quickly Trump backed away from sanctions on ZTE, that were a result of sales to Iran that violated those sanctions.

  18. The U.S. evangelist crowd wants to see our planet destroyed — starting with a conflagration in the Middle East —so they alone can ascend to their mystic heaven, leaving the rest of humanity to perish. Trump — the true antichrist if there ever was one — is doing his best to accommodate them.

    Europe will have to go it alone until we have regime change in the U.S. Everything possible should be done to save the Iran nuclear deal and work toward peace in Middle East.

  19. "While NATO had no role in the Iran deal, the three European nations trying to preserve it are also Washington’s most powerful allies in NATO."

    This statement that "three European nations trying to preserve [the deal]" is at best partially correct. In fact, all EU members have been insisting on preserving the accord, and most much more emphatically than the three you are referring to here. There was a strong push back on the part of other EU members against France, Germany and UK whose leaders showed up in Washington with an agenda of appeasement and renegotiation. It was, if fact, Trump's foolishness through rejection that helped solidify the EU position. If Trump had held back his decision, he would have been able to deepen the fracture in EU position. Therein lies the silver-lining thanks to Mr. Trump's art of no deal.

  20. As a U.S citizen, (and resident) it pains me to suggest payback in kind, but appeasing Trump will only enable him.
    Enabling Trump leads us down a nasty road to something akin to a neo-fascist super power trashing the world order via temper tantrum and ignorance.
    PLEASE - take a cue from China and RESIST. If Iran sanctions hit European Companies? Return the favor and be sure to inflict pain on Trump's supporters. They haven't a clue, so GIVE them a clue. The sooner they turn him out, the better for the world.

  21. To what "allies" are you referring? The U.S. has only ONE real ally in the entire world: Israel. The U.S. has abandoned most of its other now former allies. The EU needs to look for protection from China...from the U.S. and its ally Russia.

  22. Trump continues to hold the door open for China to take a superior position in Europe. If that event were to transpire, the dissolution of US/European co-operation would be catastrophic for us. Europe is our natural ally, Asia never will be.

  23. The Europeans are in a bind. They want to hold on to the deal but need the United States trade-wise. Some countries like Italy are especially vulnerable because the country has an extensive trade involvement with Tehran.

    From the European point of view, this could also be an opportunity to curve out an independent foreign policy that doesn't kowtow to the whims of a dangerous leader like Trump. The crisis can be an opportunity to cement stronger relationship with China and Russia. After the inevitable initial pain, things could be better in the long run. It could pave the way for the reconfiguration of international relations and for the possibility of stronger multilateral agreements on climate, nuclear proliferation and trade. It will certainly be better and safer for the world when there are more centers of power. A bully like Trump will have a lesser chance to be able to blackmail.

  24. We waited and waited for Congress to speak truth to power, and finally the European Union does it.

  25. It is time the world stood up to bully trump. He is only out for the press & media coverage. He has no plans other than publicity. Combined they are all more powerful than the US & should start now to flex their combined muscle to enact treaties that are good for them & ignore trump. He got out of the TPP & the other countries involved negotiated their own agreement & moved on. When he said he was going to get in, they said not without concessions by the US, he then said "He changed HIS mind." Funny how that happens. He has withdrawn from Iran Deal, other countries should renegotiate & leave US out & don't let us back in while Trump is in office. US is not the superpower it use to be.

  26. Europe should stand up up firmly and unequivocally against trump’s America. Any Trump owned sanctions against European companies for staying within the rules of the Iran deal will hurt American business too.

    Indeed, European companies should sue trump for losing them any value in their investment and business as a result of trump’s reneging on the Iran deal.

    This highlights the global role Mueller has to save trump-America from itself and the world order from international thugs.

    Let’s hope that Europe is patient with Americans until we can save our country from the malefactors running it.

  27. Trashing the American-European alliance, which has served American prosperity and global security since WWII, is insane.

    There is no "strategy" from the Trumpkins, who are in so far over their heads it's not funny. There is also a striking absence of human empathy in this group, as demonstrated by the sick spectacle of the Trumps gloating and celebrating while Palestinians were being slaughtered by the dozens forty miles away.

    It is much easier to destroy than to create, and Trump et al are very quickly destroying America's leadership position in the world. We will pay the price for generations to come.

  28. When you have the UK splitting from the EU, the EU not helping Italy and Greece with the Middle East influx, Turkey being an NATO member favoring Russia then don't hold your breath RE solving the Iran issue. All of Europe is loose sand waiting for Trump to be the glue.

  29. No one can blame the European Union for wanting to distance itself from the United States under Trump. He has managed to alienate our allies, discard the climate agreement, walk out on the deal with Iran, and now move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, knowing full well how fraught with peril this last action could become. I hope members of the EU realize how disappointed and embarrassed millions of Americans are that this lecherous fraud is in the White House. Will the EU accept political refugees from the United States?

  30. Europe should ignore and isolate Trump regarding his pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement. Iran has been in complete compliance w/ the agreement since its signing. Contrary to Trump calling the agreement a disaster, the only possible disaster will be Iran resumes its development of a nuclear weapon and a regional or worldwide nuclear war becomes more likely. Europe with Russia and China must prevent this from occurring.

  31. With the U.S. showing little regard for treaties, climate change or anything else, why are the Europeans not ridding themselves of the American yoke and making their own deals? Why this neurotic need to please a president who cares nothing about them? The rules of engagement have changed, so should they.

  32. I'm reminded of a big fat kid who does a cannonball during a swim meet. He's the owner's son, so they can't kick him out. The competitors don't give up, but no one knows if it'll count.

    There was a scene like this in Barbet Schroeder's Ida Amin documentary. The dictator swam sideways to block his competitors from getting ahead. That's the level of play our President and his administration engage in.

    Like Amin and other preening tin men, Trump gloats over Europeans, but wants their attention. Like Europeans in the time of Amin, today's EU leaders are aghast but mostly powerless.

    Of course they're different. Amin was hemmed in, internationally, and did his worst things at home. Trump is trimmed by domestic institutions, but international affairs are less fettered. It's where we see him best. Both were parodied. Both ruined things. The media struggles to make sense.

    Most countries line up for Trump the same way they did for Amin. Western Europe is opposed, but Russia and Saudi Arabia are friendly. The one big difference is Israel. The only Israeli commando killed in the raid on Entebbe was named Yoni Netanyahu. How painful to see his younger brother Benjamin embrace a leader cut from the same charismatic liar cloth.

  33. I'll bet the Europeans are dumbfounded that just one man could bring down an established democracy and turn it into a dictatorship with nobody in the democracy making the slightest effort to stop him.

  34. It's not one man, it's the Republican party that supports him ... they know he has the mind of a child and they use that fact to their advantage.

  35. The kindest thing one can say about Donald Trump is that he's a white nationalist who's been carefully cultivated by Vladimir Putin. He's a large but temporary aberration on the American stage.

    He's also fighting for his political life, acting like the most guilty man in history. Self preservation and self aggrandizement are his pole stars. He'll take his one third approval by the ignorant and the deplorable and ride it as far as it will take him.

    There is virtually no action he's taken that is in the long term interest of the US. On trade, the environment, immigration, the Middle East, relations with Europe and NATO, it's been one abomination after another.

    The Europeans are in a bind. They still believe in the liberal order the US led after WWII. But the most effective path to influencing Trump is abject flattery, and, as the Russians know and the Chinese have come to know, a large payoff to the Trump organization. He's been for sale since well before the presidential campaign. Throw in some hookers and concealed cameras and Trump is your oyster.

    The more honorable but gut wrenching option is to await the inevitable Trump implosion as his criminality is increasingly revealed. Pence, the ayatollah in waiting, would probably be a better partner with the Europeans, but still horrid on women's issues and the Middle East.

    Nope, the world will remain off its axis until at least January 2021. I wish the Europeans well as they try to save civilization.

  36. "It is less clear what she and other Europeans are willing to do about it."

    Why is the NYTimes always so dismissive of European efforts to manage the chaos caused by Trump and America's insane Israel policy?

    Europeans are doing the best they can, all while being geographically located in the same neighborhood that U.S. Israel and foreign policy in the Middle East has destabilized.

    And, no, this isn't just a "Trump thing." It's also a Schumer blindly supporting Israel thing, a Hillary Clinton supporting Iraq and Libya thing, and a CIA playing games in Syria thing.

    Frankly, the U.S. is very lucky that Europe has been as deferential as it has been over the past few years.

  37. So, Trump is rattling sabers (like he did during his dance in Saudi Arabia) in Iran and N. Korea. He decided to have joint S. Korea/U.S. military operations on the border of a country he was trying to sit down and talk with. Now, Kim, is wisely backing out.

    Does Trump really think he can wage war in Iran AND N. Korea? For the love of God, the U.S. cannot even beat a bunch of illiterate poppy farmers in Afghanistan. Instead, those farmers have managed to create an opioid crisis in the U.S. Our troops are getting ambushed in places like Niger. Niger? Do they even have running water or is that on the Gates Foundation goal list? (hint: 9 out of 10 people in Niger do not have a working toilet)

    Navy ships are running into things because they do not seem to know where they are at.

    Air Force jets are crashing.

    And the nation is so deep in debt not even Bezos could pay it off.

    This is NOT a time to be rattling sabers.

  38. We are now morally, spiritually and political isolated under an idiotic leader with enormous power to do terrible evil in this world. This disturbing story disturbs just exactly because it's like a historical nightmare in reverse: in the 1930s, alarmed Germans appealed to the western nations to stop their own deluded leader from his violent international adventures. Now, serious Americans must rely on the efforts of Europe's leaders to do what they can to stop the massive and reckless international idiocy of the Trump government. Of course, the parallel can be disputed. Trump isn't Hitler, but he is nonetheless reckless and extremely dangerous. It bothers me greatly that a rationalist as cool and calm as Angela Merkel says our country has created a "crisis," and has said it, moreover, as a Lutheran Pastor's daughter to a group of Europe's Catholics. After World War II, the great German historian Meineke wrote of the "The German Catastrophe." We have before us our own American catastrophe in the making, and our Congress dithers in complete cowardice and capitulation to this man Trump.

  39. With mueller closing in expect more global chaos caused/exploited by this president...

  40. All this is smoke and mirrors from the Europeans. They'll huff and puff and bluster, but in the end they won't stand up to the US. What they are doing is deeply hypocritical. They are basically telling the Iranians: "you must abide by every clause in the agreement and, at best, we kind of vaguely promise that we will try to get you some economic benefits at some point in the future, but we won't try too hard because what we are basically interested in is to make sure our own companies are not hurt financially." How long does anyone think this charade will endure?

  41. Maybe the man is just being his nasty self or is intentionally playing Putin's hand all around.

    Does it matter which? Chaos anywhere & everywhere he turns his attention.

  42. Europe, we are so sorry. Please hold on until 2019.

    - A sane American

  43. there must be some way to set up a banking system thru Russia or China completely outside of US control. crypto currency based perhaps? let's use our imaginations.

  44. Not only has Trump made America more isolationist with his tariff policies (with exceptions for Chinese investors in his developments), he has done greater damage to Americas reputation by condoning the murder of Palestinians by Israel.

    There is a difference between legitimate warfare and the shooting of unarmed teenagers in the head by Israel snipers.

    These acts should be addressed by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

    As soon as America rids itself of this current despicable government, they should emulate Trumps vindictive dismantling of Barack Obama's legacy by removing the embassy from Jerusalem and by probing every part and every member of the Trump organization in minute detail according to the letter of the law.

    Only then will America gain back any semblance of respect from the rest of the world.