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How to Save the Transatlantic Alliance

Waiting Out Trump Won’t Be Enough

At an European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium May 2019 Piroschka Van de Wouw / REUTERS

When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at this year’s Munich Security Conference, he seemed to speak not to the audience facing him—the leaders and representatives of important U.S. allies around the world. Rather, his “America first” rhetoric seemed like a courtesy for his boss in the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump.

Pence’s performance in Munich was symptomatic of the state of transatlantic relations. At the highest administrative level, U.S. rhetoric toward Europe alternates between silence and verbal assault. Constructive dialogue, cooperation on common interests, and a commitment to shared values are all on the retreat.

The damage need not be permanent, but simply waiting out the current U.S. administration will not do. The repercussions of Trump’s tenure will outlast his term of office, and the United States will be a different country for it. To save the transatlantic alliance,

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