America First? Why the U.S. Can’t Go It Alone – And Neither Can Europe

By Ambassador Richard Boucher, Former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia

Ambassador Boucher served 32 years at the U.S. Department of State, including roles as Ambassador to Cyprus, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, and Spokesman for six different Secretaries of State. After retiring from the State Department, he spent almost four years as Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Boucher teaches at Brown University.

Donald Trump’s interactions with our European Allies and his renunciation of the Paris Climate Accords have left our Allies baffled and startled.  Faced with “America First” their reaction is to look after themselves.  Unfortunately for both President Trump and the Europeans, we’re stuck with each other.   

More than anything during his European trip, President Trump’s interlocutors tried to educate him on 21st century realities.  Europeans repeatedly reminded him that Europe negotiates trade as Europe, not individual nations.  At NATO, responding to his diatribes about flagging contributions, they explained that countries don’t contribute to NATO, but NATO expects them to spend 2% of their GDP on defense, a goal they have until 2024 to meet.  

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