MUNICH – European leaders have long been concerned that President Trump's words and Twitter messages could destroy a transatlantic alliance that had grown over seven decades. They had held on to the hope that these connections would be under stress.
But in the last days of a prestigious annual security conference in Munich, the divide between Europe and the Trump administration has been open, angry and concrete, diplomats and analysts say.
A high-ranking German official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on such matters shrugged his shoulders and said, "No one believes that Trump cares about the views or interests of the Allies. She is broken. "
Even Saturnine Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was pleased to note that Euro-Atlantic relations were becoming increasingly "tense".
"We see new cracks forming and old cracks deepening," Lavrov said.
Europeans no longer believe in changing Washington, not when Mr. Trump sees traditional allies as economic rivals and leadership as dictates. His aversion to multilateralism and international cooperation is a challenge to what Europe is and must be in order to have an impact on the world.
But outside the Trump administration, more and more Europeans believe that they believe this Relations with the United States will never be the same again.
Karl Kaiser, a longtime analyst of German-American relations, said: "Two years of Mr. Trump and a majority of French and Germans now rely more on Russia and China than the United States. "
Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, former Advisor to the German President and Director of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund, said:" If an alliance becomes one-sided and transactional, then it is no longer an alliance. "
There were signs that not all American and European leaders were willing to give up the alliance so easily.
To show solidarity with Europe, more than 50 American legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, were record attendants at the Munich Security Conference. They came, said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, "to show the Europeans that there is another branch of government that strongly supports NATO and the transatlantic alliance."
The most obvious setback against Washington came from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany – who delivered an unusually passionate speech – and her defense minister Ursula von der Leyen. They talked about the dangers of unilateral action by key partners without discussing the consequences with allies.
They cited Mr Trump's recent announcements that American forces were leaving northern Syria and Afghanistan and the government's decision to suspend one of the last remaining arms control agreements: ban on medium-range land-based missiles.
This decision affects European security and there is no alternative strategy, Merkel said. The repeal of the treaty, despite Russia's violations, helps to decouple Germany from the American nuclear umbrella.
"We sit with the result in the middle," said Mrs. Merkel.
The Syria withdrawal could only help Russia and Iran. This view was repeated by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who described American politics in Syria as "a mystery to me".
When Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, told him that the United States was receiving "some capacity" in Syria, the usually diplomatic Mr. Le Drian said sarcastically, "Oh, that's good news, I did not know. "And then he added sharply," That fills me with joy. "
Vice President Mike Pence, speaking after Mrs. Merkel in Munich, met a stony silence as he tried to urge the allies to retreat. Iran's nuclear deal , a sign of continued anger at Washington's decision to unilaterally abolish the treaty.European Allies consider the pact to be essential to European security and the preservation of nuclear non-proliferation.
Europeans are upset that renewed American sanctions are faring on European companies more damaging than any American.
Merkel said the split Iran "depresses me a lot", but stressed that Europe and the United States are ultimately pursuing the same goal. She said the deal was a way to influence Iran, an influence she clearly felt as if Washington was throwing away.
"It is very strange to speak of the Alliance's American leadership when Trump caused the crisis," said Dutch MP Marietje Schaake. "The Trump government is considered by many Europeans as the primary responsibility for the tensions and weakening of the West."
Nathalie Tocci, Senior Adviser to European Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, said that the gap between Europeans was "At the center of our understanding of international relations and our national interest."
"We are small and, understandably, need a partnership within and outside Europe with NATO," said Ms. Tocci.
But that is also a sign of European weakness and division. "We want to believe that it will be okay later, because we have no alternative," she said.
It means that dependence on the United States remains, even if Europeans are looking for ways to be less dependent on Washington. Analysts say.
Europeans are beginning to "do what we should," Ms Tocci said – they spent more on the military, discussed a kind of European army in coordination with NATO, and considered Europe more strategic in the face of Russia and China. "But nobody believes it can be done in the short term," she added, and many believe that this is not feasible at all.
Europeans are waiting for change in the White House, said Ms. Tocci and others.
The Europeans are holding their breath and thinking that it may only be two years, "said Victoria Nuland, a former American civil servant. "At the same time, they do not want to do anything further to ruin Trump or personally insult Trump and risk an angry reaction."
A growing number of European voices warn that the current transatlantic discord is more fundamental and that there are no roots Return to the past will be.
Mr. Trump is not the cause, said Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag, but a symptom of the tectonic shifts in geopolitics, which have led to the return of the rivalry between great power and centrifugal force of multilateralism. In the aftermath of Trump, there is no return to the time before Trump, "he said. "The status quo was the security of Europe, guaranteed by the United States. That will not happen again. "
Jan Techau, director of the Europe Program of the German Marshall Fund in Berlin, fears that the gap between Russia and China is a strategic vulnerability. The United States faces "a dilemma for the superpowers," Techau said.
It must "urge the allies to do more," he said. "At the same time, the message must be:" We will always be there. "
" Trump does not understand the price he strategically pays when he screams his allies so openly and openly, "added Techau
If there's any ambiguity, Russia and China know that the security guarantee is no longer real "If this protection works," he said, "then this strategic space will be available."