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Europe for Europe’s Sake

Even before US President Donald Trump left a NATO summit early this week, sulking and humiliated, the alliance’s future had become unprecedentedly uncertain. But what that means for European defense will be largely up to Europeans themselves.

In this Big Picture, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer contends that, whatever lies in store for NATO, the European Union should be acting as if American troops had already withdrawn from the continent. And as former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt points out, whatever the outcome of the impeachment proceedings against Trump, Europeans cannot count on US diplomatic and foreign-policy channels functioning normally.

Meanwhile, Dominique Moisi of the Institut Montaigne worries that NATO’s denouement could be hastened by recent criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron, who is increasingly at odds with other European leaders on the issue. But as Nöelle Lenoir, a former member of France’s Conseil Constitutionnel, points out, most Europeans, including Germans, have begun to recognize the need for EU defense autonomy.

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