Trump tried to make Vladimir Putin's wildest dreams come true by destabilizing the European Union.
Trump never misses an opportunity to insult America's closest allies in Europe — but the problem is much worse than just trash talk. We now know that Trump is actively trying to destabilize the European Union, two European officials told the Washington Post.
During an April meeting at the White House, Trump offered French President Emmanuel Macron a shocking deal: If France leaves the E.U., the U.S. will give France a much better bilateral trade deal than the rest of the E.U. gets.
Yes, a U.S. president actually offered a bribe to try to dismantle a major organization of U.S. allies. Trump tried to con his way into knocking down a pillar of Western democracy and the international liberal order.
If Trump succeeded at this, it would make Russian President Vladimir Putin's wildest dreams come true.
"As long as there is a unified Europe that maintains a liberal international order with basic rules of the road, it is a disaster for a dictator like Putin," former vice president Joe Biden told Rogin. "That's why Putin is doing what he's doing."
Trump, of course, is under investigation for his campaign's collusion with Russia to interfere with the 2016 elections, and for his obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
So when Trump openly fawned over Putin during the 2016 campaign, it wasn't just bad taste. It was the tip of a much bigger iceberg of corruption and widespread attempts to undermine American democracy.
Similarly, when he whines about Russia being excluded from the G-7 talks, or praises brutal dictators like Kim Jong Un in North Korea and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, while his senior trade adviser says there is a "special place in hell" for Canadian President Justin Trudeau, he's not just embarrassing the United States. He's undermining its strategic alliances.
Trump seems to think that alliances are a sign of weakness, and that dictators are the strongest possible leaders. It's toxic masculinity writ large on the world stage.
After all, Trump has blown up almost every major international agreement or alliance the U.S. has entered that he can think of. He withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, broke America's end of the bargain on the Iran deal, pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, and bailed on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
For all of his "America First" talk, Trump seems determined to send America careening down a path to international irrelevance, losing the position as a global power and moral leader that it's held since World War II.
Published with permission of The American Independent.