Europe-focused correspondent with extensive experience in the Middle East and South Asia
MUNICH – An all-time security conference where Western allies have long beenged united fronts erupted Saturday into a full-scale assault on the Trump administration's foreign policy. European leaders, would-be Democratic challengers and even the president's republican backers took the floor to rebuke the president's go-it-alone approach.
Chancellor Angela Merkel – habitually cautious about provoking Trump – led the charge, unleashing a stinging, point-by-point takedown of the administration's tendency to treat its allies as adversaries.
The speech appeared to provide much-needed catharsis.
Merkel accused the United States of America and Russia with its plans for a speedy military pullout from Syria.
The crowd gave the German.
The crowd gave the German chancellor at extended standing ovation – a rare display at the normally button-down Munich Security Conference. Merkel beamed as she took her seat. Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a top adviser, looking at the crowd, stone-faced.
The speech, and the response, has just drifted from its United States traditional allies during Trump's term – and how little Europeans care about concealing their contempt.
At last year's conference, US allies in Europe were relocating to the state of the transatlantic relationship, said Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group.
Merkel's successor to the podium by Vice President Pence, who was with only applause – and some incredulous looks – when proclaimed Trump" the leader of the free world. "
America came first and reaffirmed that it was America's first and only leader of the world, and that America's leading the world stage once again, "Pence said.  While the vice president extends some reassurances to allies – asserting the country's commitment to NATO, and celebrating shared victories against terrorist groups – ie, offered barbs.
Pence credited Trump with spurring NATO allies to spend more on defense but insisted they are still not spending enough. He also reiterated a demand he made on Thursday in Warsaw for European allies to follow the United States.
Pence later said he had had "frank discussions" with European allies about the issue. Merkel said she found the dispute between Europe and the United States of America on "depressing."
The vice president's speech was disapproved of by some European officials
Gathered shortly thereafter, a group of senior European military officers observed with surprise that Pence made a relatively small mention of Russia, the major security concern for many of the conference's attendees.
Other officials joked that Europe's eagerness to have more US […] (19659023) The transatlantic tension came at a high-profile conference with a decades-long pedigree. The gathering in Munich has traditionally been a chance for the United States and its allies to work out their differences with the rest of the world.
But since Trump's election, the focus has shifted to the schisms within the West.
"We need to get used to this. It's not going to like the good old times, when everyone comes, gives speeches, everyone applauds, and everyone goes home, "said Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, whose nation is on the front lines of the conflict with Russia and its security depends on Europe and the United States getting along well enough to defend the Baltics. "It's getting crazier and crazier. I do not know what next year's Munich will bring. "
Hours after Pence left the stage, his predecessor, Beyond the gap between America and Europe. Joe Biden, Trump's Election for All-in-One and Cooperative Decision-Making – The Very Rhetoric that Europe Trump's Election.
"The America I do not Wish to Make Our Back on the World or Our Closest Allies," Biden said, "Citing a commitment to both NATO and the European Union has often been in doubt under Trump. "The America I see a free press, democracy, the rule of law. It stands up to the aggression of dictators and against strongmen. "
Biden emphasized that he was speaking as a private citizen, not a candidate. But the possibility that he wants to challenge Trump in 2020 hung over his remarks.
He was introduced by R. Nicholas Burns, a former top State Department official under both Democrats and Republicans who favorably contrasted Biden's approach to the world with Trump's, then asked the crowd to "imagine a different sort of American leader."  Biden himself offered the crowd a warmly received assurance that Trumpism will return to the end of the year. "As my mother would say: This too shall pass. We want to be back. We want to be back. Do not have any doubt about that. "
Democrats and Europeans were not the only one ones offering criticism of Trump.
The President's fellow Republican, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.), praised the president for trying to shake up the foreign policy status quo. But hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, with Trump's moves to get out of Syria and Afghanistan without consulting allies.
Ivanka Trump, Graham slammed cuts in foreign aid and preemptive military withdrawals.
"The first people who suffer are going to be women," he said.
Europe's calculus in "deciding how to handle" Trump is bound to say that he or she is "one-to-one".
Merkel herself has called for Europe to "take our destiny." into our own hands. "
But her actions have not been nearly as dramatic as her words. Europe, Merkel has studiously avoided taking the bait when Trump has hit the road on Twitter or Twitter.
Her Saturday remarks were a striking departure, with the chancellor – who has said she is in her final term – appearing unburdened by the need to avoid offense.
"Longtime observers of Merkel's political evolution" said they were decided – in their deliberate fashion – "they seemed to be liberated," said Constanze Stelzenmüller, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Merkel has devoted much of her speech to item-by-item. and Europe disagree, seeking to refute the trump administration position on each one. She was particularly aggrieved by U.S.. Threats to raise tariffs on German cars – on the grounds that they endanger national security.
The idea, she noted dryly, which is "a bit of a shock" given that BMW has a major manufacturing center in South Carolina.
"Trying to forge win.
" Trump to forge win -win situations, "she asked rhetorically," is this not better than trying to solve all the issues alone? "
Anne Gearan & Missy Ryan contributed to this report.
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