Anne Applebaum: For the US-European alliance, everything has changed

Tuesday, 30 May, 2017

President Donald Trump's distorted foreign policy was exemplified this week in the contrast between his meeting with Arab autocrats, on whom he lavished goodwill, and U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, whom he harshly and publicly critiqued.

"This was a summit in which the goals and priorities of the United States and the president really were felt deeply", the anonymous official said.

Daalder asserted that Trump's stances during the G7 summit had angered key US allies.

German officials told Süddeutsche Zeitung that Trump and his aides were under the impression America had separate trade deals with each individual European Union country.

Trump's refusal while at the new Nato HQ to publicly reaffirm his acceptance of that obligation, the key pillar of Nato's system of collective defence, was particularly galling.

President Trump wasn't pulling his punches, either, declining to use the words of the Article 5 mutual defense incantation exactly as Europeans wanted.

"We hit a home run no matter where we are", he said. "The mood he conveyed is you guys are a bunch of freeloaders". At the Group of 7 summit in the coastal town of Taormina, leaders launched an aggressive, behind-the-scenes campaign to get him to stay in the Paris climate accord. He tweeted he will make a decision next week - but he did not, on behalf of US, join the rest of the G7 in reaffirming a commitment to implement the Paris agreement.

Now that he has returned to the White House, Trump will have to deal with the growing concern over possible links between his inner circle, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Russian Federation, which has generated scores of headlines in the country while he was overseas.

Aside from body-language, European media attention Saturday focused on the brevity of the communiqué concluding the two-day G-7 summit in Sicily Saturday - half-a-dozen pages long, compared to 32 pages past year - which many editorial writers saw as advertising the absence of consensus between the USA and the other G-7 members. El-Sisi visited the White House within three months of Trump taking office.

The official, who requested anonymity, added that the trip had "left no one with any doubt about who America's friends are".

From the start, he set a new direction.

On May 20, Trump arrived in Riyadh and held talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz. Or not. Again, that question is left hanging.U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania, greet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, as they arrive for a concert in the Ancient Theatre of Taormina ( 3rd century BC) in the Sicilian citadel o.One way that Trump is different is that he has made this a far more consistent and far more intense theme of nearly every discussion he has about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.British Prime Minister Theresa May also took Trump to task over US intelligence leaks from the probe into this week's deadly Manchester bombing.

Peace in the Middle East: Instead of criticizing the Saudi regime or encouraging a more democratic way of governing, Trump was decidedly diplomatic: "We are not here to lecture - we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship". The photo of his solemn visit to the Western Wall was splashed across the front pages of Israel's newspapers. A more gracious appeal would have gotten more mileage. But he never uttered the words "two-state solution", the longtime US policy plan that would create a separate homeland for Palestinians.

After stops in Israel and the Vatican, both of which went largely as planned, Trump headed to Brussels and fireworks - and not all of them were celebratory. Trump hung back, deciding against joining his peers. Every other American president has managed to do so.