John Bolton, President Trump's national security advisor, threatened Europe with economic sanctions over the Iran deal, reinforcing a growing fear of a new world of no permanent alliances.
Quick take: Bolton's threat, made on CNN, further undermines the seven-decade alliance between the U.S. and Europe, a central factor in a sharp rise in global living standards and peace among the major powers.
Why it matters: If Europe decides it cannot rely on the U.S. and American rivals understand the same thing, Trump could risk jeopardizing an international system that had — until now — been led by the U.S.
- The centrality of the Atlantic Alliance cannot be overstated. Look at the rest of the world, and you grasp how unusual it is. Since the Soviet collapse, Russia has formed no similarly fixed alliances, but instead has transactional relationships with countries like Iran, Syria and Hungary. Similarly, China's closest relationships may be with North Korea and Pakistan.
- Yet history, writes the FT's Edward Luce, may recall this as the time "the U.S. abandoned its belief in allies."
I asked several foreign policy hands whether we are watching the end of alliances as we've known them, at least for now. Here are their replies:
- Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group
- Mathew Burrows, director at the Atlantic Council and former counselor, U.S. National Intelligence Council:
- Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group: