When generals and diplomats gather for Europe’s most important security conference in Munich next month, President Donald Trump will not be in the room. But the U.S. president will cast a long shadow over the annual event, as his provocative comments about the NATO alliance have shaken the confidence of America’s partners across the Atlantic.
Doubts about Washington’s leadership of NATO are expected to dominate the Feb. 16-18 Munich Security Conference, with European strategists weighing what to make of the contradictory messages coming from the White House.
Immediately after Trump’s election in November 2016, European governments braced for a nightmare scenario, fearing the “America First” president would make good on his talk of cozying up to Russia and abandoning NATO’s central tenet of collective defense. But more than a year later, their worst fears have yet to be realized.
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