From a piece I have running today for NBC News.
As Trump announced plans this week for a July summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin, our Western allies are grumbling that Trump treats them like dirt.
Some predict the beginning of the end of the U.S.-European partnership. “Europe,” declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month, “has to take its destiny into its own hands.”
But those who see a serious break in relations overlook the fact that Trump is America’s first businessman-president, a man who sees the world — even his friends — in transactional terms. What Trump knows about Europe has less to do with its values, history and politics and more to do with the understanding that European countries need America more than he needs them. He believes that — like so many others he’s angered and insulted who need him — the Western allies will ultimately come crawling back . . .
Because the dictators who run Russia, China and North Korea are antagonists not reliant on the United States, they might require his flattery more. In contrast, Trump does not conceive of the Europeans as “friends,” but as self-interested actors in a Darwinian world — who will ultimately do what’s best for themselves.
You can read the rest of the article here.