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."

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