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An ‘ugly American’ abroad: NATO, the Queen, and pal Putin, oh my!

The NATO Summit will be held July 11-12, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. As Summit Nears, NATO Allies Have One Main Worry: Trump:

[T]here is one wild card: President Trump.

Nobody knows which president will show up — the truculent one railing about inadequate military spending by the allies or the boastful one taking credit for recent spending increases.

Either way, NATO members say they fear that all the preparation and the desire to show solidarity in the face of a new Russian threat will be overshadowed, if not undone, by a divisive encounter followed by Mr. Trump’s prospective summit meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

The European allies are deeply worried that they will confront the Trump who was on display at the meeting in June in Canada of the seven major economies, known as the Group of 7, or G-7. Those in the room described him as angry, mocking, wandering and rude, especially to the host, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

There, Mr. Trump focused on two of his fixed ideas: the unfairness of trade with European allies and their inadequate level of military spending.

The Trump administration regards Western European nations as free-riders on an American-funded, postwar peace that enabled them to build lavish social benefit systems because they spent so little on defending themselves. He has also made clear that he thinks the European Union, as a trading bloc, has taken advantage of American generosity.

European and some American officials say they dread the same pattern — a noisy, divisive NATO summit, damaging deterrence, followed by a chummy meeting with a dictator, in this case Mr. Putin, whose long-term goals are to destabilize the European Union, undermine NATO and restore Russian influence over Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Balkans.

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