BRUSSELS — As Donald Trump barrels into Europe with visits to NATO and Britain and a summit with Vladimir Putin, EU leaders have adopted a new strategy: Contain conflict, and wait him out. Aides to the U.S. president insist that — despite their boss’s often hostile tweet-bursts — it’s all in a long tradition of transatlantic disagreements between leaders who, in the end, are inextricably bound together by deeper shared interests and values. Churchill and Roosevelt. Johnson and de Gaulle. Kohl and Reagan. Each relationship had frictions and stumbles, only to yield to a stronger Western alliance, they argue. However, senior European officials who spoke to POLITICO mostly believe the transatlantic relationship is at a historically — even dangerously — low ebb, at a time when it faces an existential challenge from Russia’s machinations and a growing competitive threat from China. The senior officials from more than a dozen countries, most of them steeped in decades of experience in the transatlantic relationship, spoke largely on condition of anonymity out of fear of worsening the situation, or redirecting Trump’s ire at their own capitals, which each have different interests and priorities in Washington. Despite those differences, they voiced a consistent message… Read full this story
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