What is the state of the Atlantic alliance following the July NATO summit and the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki? Where are relations heading between the Trump administration and the European Union, which Trump has claimed “was set up to take advantage” of the United States? What are the implications of the Trump administration’s protectionism for trans-Atlantic relations? Where do Brexit Britain and post-election Turkey fit in an evolving West? Under pressure from within and without, can the European Union forge a stronger independent foreign policy and preserve multilateralism and liberal order in a world where these concepts are under assault?
On July 19, the Center on the United States and Europe, in partnership with the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), hosted a panel discussion examining recent developments in Europe and trans-Atlantic relations, including the outcomes of Trump’s July trip to Brussels, London, and Helsinki. Following the discussion, the panelists took questions from the audience.
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[The resignation of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Wess Mitchell] is surprising news, which seems to have caught everyone off guard. He doesn’t appear to have shared this news with his ambassadors, who were in Washington last week for a global chiefs of mission conference. His deputy is also slated to retire soon, which raises question of near term leadership on European policy at a time of challenges there.
[Wess] Mitchell was a strong supporter of NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe where he will be sorely missed. His departure comes follows the resignation of senior Pentagon officials – Robert Karem and Tom Goffus – working on NATO along with Secretary Mattis. Without this pro-alliance caucus, NATO is now more vulnerable than at any time since the beginning of the Trump administration.