U.S. nuclear bomber sent to Russia's doorstep — North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military exercise

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at The White House

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at The White House

He said: "This issue is a major concern for us and we have been constantly voicing it for decades".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin on June 1. In the words of NATO's first secretary general, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was supposed "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down".

The US carries the lion's share of the military load around the world, but Europe has been increasingly important.

It has become smart electoral politics for Merkel to campaign against Trump rather than her domestic opponents. When Trump went on to the Group of Seven meeting in Italy, he declined to recommit to the Paris agreement on climate change, leaving the other six nations to issue a separate statement.

For the United States, this is a mixed picture at best. Now these naysayers are whining that "the belief in shared values [between Germany and the U.S.] has been shattered by the Trump administration".

At this unprecedented summit, we opened a new center to combat extremist ideology, launched a task force to block funding for terrorists, and agreed to a massive economic development deal that will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States. After the U.S. election, Merkel reminded Western leaders they must uphold the core Western values of human rights and diversity (an obvious swipe at the supposedly "deplorable" president). When she links Britain's departure from the European Union with USA unreliability, she suggests that now that Britain is gone, it will be possible for the E.U.to concentrate on getting its own affairs in order, propelled by a stronger relationship between Germany and France. Now that Britain is no longer going to be part of the European Union, it will no longer have veto power.

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However, I believe that Merkel is prescient because by making such a pronouncement, she is compelling Europe to step up to the plate and actually take serious steps to reform itself in order to suvive. Europe faces several internal disagreements. For example, occasional military deployments in the Baltic states and Poland to show solidarity may be in order, but hemming Russian Federation in, which the Pentagon has pushed under Obama and now Trump, and which the Europeans enthusiastically endorse, is needlessly provocative.

With the far-right parties in Germany being too weak to mount a serious challenge to Merkel, she can confidently talk about a more tightly-knit EU with little fear of political repercussions (her only real adversary, Martin Schulz, also favours enhancing European integration). And while German politicians sided with Merkel, Sigmar Gabriel signalled that it was time for cooler heads to prevail. Finally, the criticisms offered by Trump (and many US leaders before him) are not entirely wrong - European states spend much less on their militaries than the United States does on its military and have effectively outsourced much of their defense to USA armed forces.

It was noteworthy that, in the wake of the Trump clash, Merkel met this week with the leaders of France, China and India. This speech is not an impulsive move. Are we at a major inflection in Western history, one that seemed almost unbelievable a scant six months ago?

Ms. Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005, has seen her support decline in recent months, partly as a backlash against her original policy, now reversed, of welcoming refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries.

Trump's nine-day trip fit the pattern of presidents in political trouble seeking opportunities to show global statesmanship and create some distance from their domestic woes. States whose interests clash with the United States may now have opportunities to win gains while the United States, the global hegemon, is distracted with its internal crises. This will anger America's other allies around the world and produce a wave of anti-Americanism - all to your advantage.

U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges members of his cabinet, including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (from 4th R), Senior Advisor Steve Bannon, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Vice President Mike Pence, as they arrive to meet with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 17, 2017.

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