At the beginning of his first trip abroad as President, senior European officials have begun to reveal their true feelings about Donald Trump.
According to an article published yesterday by Politico, many European government officials reaction to the bumbling new American president has moved from fear to ridicule as the evidence of his obvious unpreparedness for the job that he was elected to perform is made clear.
“People are less worried than they were six weeks ago, less afraid,” a senior German government official with extensive experience in the United States told me. “Now they see the clownish nature.”
Or, as another German said on the sidelines of a meeting here devoted to taking stock of 70 years of U.S.-German relations, “People here think Trump is a laughingstock.”
Facing his first meeting of NATO allies as President later this week, Trump will now face an audience skeptical of his intellectual abilities, his ill-prepared and untested team, and his basic grasp of the facts surrounding the problems that affect both Europe and the U.S.
Despite the President’s nationalist “America First” sabre-rattling,
“The dominant reaction to Trump right now is mockery,”
Politico quoted Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of the conservative journal the National Interest, as saying to a panel on Trump’s foreign policy at the German Foreign Ministry. The panel was dedicated to discerning what actual policy exists amidst the circus-like environment that the administration has created.
Michael Werz, a German expert from the liberal U.S. think tank Center for American Progress, agreed, adding he was struck by “how rapidly the American brand is depreciating over the last 20 weeks.”
With NATO forming the basis of decades of post-war European peace and prosperity, government officials are looking to America for assurances that American policy will remain stable from a man who once said that NATO “is obsolete“, and then turned around and said that he didn’t know much about NATO when he said it.
“The president of the United States has a 12-second attention span,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a former senior official in April after meeting Trump in the Oval Office.
No wonder our allies are wondering what the hell has happened to the America they have relied upon as a trusted ally for so many decades. As German Foreign Minister stated at a recent panel on German-U.S. relations last week:
“We associate the United States with the idea of freedom and democracy,” he said, before warning of the erosion of the global order that America made. “A recalibration of the world is in full swing.”
It is a recalibration that Trump’s lack of experience and credibility has set in motion. We can only hope that a new president will be in office soon enough to restore America’s stature in the world and take us out of the realm of the laughingstock of the world.
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