To show solidarity with Europe, more than 50 American lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats — a record number — attended the Munich Security Conference. They came, said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, “to show Europeans that there is another branch of government which strongly supports NATO and the trans-Atlantic alliance.”
The most visible pushback against Washington came from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — who delivered an unusually passionate speech — and from her defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen. They spoke about the dangers of unilateral actions by major partners without discussing the consequences with allies.
They cited Mr. Trump’s recent announcements that American troops would leave northern Syria and Afghanistan, as well as the administration’s decision to suspend one of the last remaining arms-control agreements: the ban on land-based intermediate range missiles.
That decision affects European security, and there has been no alternative strategy, Ms. Merkel said. Abandoning the treaty, despite Russia’s violations, helps decouple Germany from the American nuclear umbrella…
The Syria pullout, she continued, could only help Russia and Iran. That view was echoed by the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who called American policy in Syria “a mystery to me.”
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