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The Strategic Thinking That Made America Great

“Europe First” and Why It Still Matters

U.S. President Donald Trump at the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 2018 Reinhard Krause / REUTERS

In the last few weeks, U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized key allies, called the European Union a foe, and labeled Russia a friendly, respectable competitor. By coddling Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump seeks to appease Russia’s leader, who is not only working systematically to expand Russia’s influence around the globe but also trying to support a growing number of authoritarian leaders who spurn liberal democratic values and free market practices. Trump’s strategy for advancing U.S. greatness is an “America first” agenda: minimizing obligations to allies, treating everyone as a competitor, freeing the United States from the restrictions imposed by multilateral institutions, seeking trade advantages through bilateral negotiations, building up military power, befriending dictators if they support him, and acting unilaterally in a zero-sum framework of international politics.

"Europe First" never meant Europe alone.

Before Trump, the bedrock of U.S. grand strategy for successive

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