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President Trump, French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images.

A months-long effort by the U.S.' closest European allies to persuade President Trump to stick to the Iran deal has failed. This failure not only dooms the deal itself, but also shows that when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, allies no longer count.

Why it matters: The U.S.' greatest advantage in competing with China and Russia is that it has allies, whereas they merely have clients. That reality seems lost on Trump, who has ignored allies' views and interests since taking office.

Trump’s Iran decision is but the latest in a long list of decisions allies opposed:

  • In January 2017, he abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which included key allies such as Australia, Canada and Japan.
  • In June 2017, he announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • In December 2017, he ordered the U.S. embassy in Israel move to Jerusalem.
  • In March 2017, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which affected mainly allies.

Each time, allied leaders tried to persuade Trump not to follow through on his decisions. Each time, they failed. It didn’t matter whether they sought to negotiate a compromise (as they tried on the Iran deal) or firmly stood their ground (as on Paris and Jerusalem). Nor did it matter if they flattered him (as President Macron and Prime Minister Abe did) or took a business-like approach to overcoming differences (as Chancellor Merkel did).

The bottom line: Recent U.S. presidents took allied concerns into account and valued unity. No more: Trump views other countries, allies or not, only in terms of what they can do for the U.S. That is the true meaning of America First.

Ivo Daalder is the president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a former U.S. ambassador to NATO.

Go deeper

4 mins ago - World

U.S. envoy to visit Sudan as "most dangerous" crisis intensifies

The sit-in in Khartoum. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty

U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will visit Khartoum this week amid what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has called the “worst and most dangerous" crisis of Sudan’s transition to democracy, two sources with direct knowledge tell Axios.

Driving the news: Roughly 2,000-3,000 people had joined a sit-in in Khartoum as of this afternoon, per Reuters, after protesters massed over the weekend to call on the military to bring down the government. The protests came just four weeks after a failed military coup.

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.