President Trump speaks in front of last year's NATO summit. Photo: Christophe Licoppe/Photonews via Getty Images
Europe is already deeply divided between populist nationalists — some of whom flirt with Vladimir Putin — and globalists who defend multilateral institutions and view Russia as an enemy.
What we're hearing: Ivo Daalder, the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and coauthor of the upcoming book "The Empty Throne: America Abdicates its Global Leadership," tells me he worries Trump will side with the nationalist leaders and hand Putin a win this week.
- "One angle that I'm not seeing people commenting much about is that this alliance is now deeply divided between nationalists on one side and transatlanticists on the other," he said.
- "On one side you have Erdogan [Turkey], Orban [Hungary], Conte [Italy] and Trump taking a pro-Russian, pro-populist, pro-nationalist line."
- "And on the other side you have leaders like Merkel, Macron, May, and Trudeau who are deeply worried about Russia and care, above all, about preserving the liberal rules-based international order."
The bottom line: Daalder laid out his nightmare image — an image I've heard privately described by European officials over the past few weeks: "I can see the picture: Trump being chummy with the nationalists and Merkel, Macron, May and Trudeau on the other side of the room. Making the divide visual."
- "It's clear where Trump's sympathies lie. Trump has a comfort with the leaders who are deeply uncomfortable to our longstanding allies."