The Cable

Europe Questions America, Vietnam Comes Stateside, Noriega Dies: The Weekend Behind, the Week Ahead

What you might have missed over the weekend, and what to watch in the days to come.

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While President Donald Trump, now back in Washington, D.C., might have trumpeted his first foreign trip as a “great success,” European leaders had a radically different read on the situation.

“The times in which we could completely rely on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted at a campaign event on Sunday. Her chief opponent in this fall’s elections, the center-left Martin Schulz, said Monday, “Election campaign or no election campaign, in this situation let me be entirely clear: The chancellor represent all of us at summits like these. And I reject with outrage the way this man takes it upon himself to treat the head of our country’s government. That is unacceptable.”

Granted, Merkel and Schulz’s comments likely have more to do with German politics — and proving that their party is the one to deal with Trump while preserving the transAtlantic alliance — than anything else.

But French President Emmanuel Macron also had some select words on Trump. Speaking of his first handshake with the U.S. president, during which both men’s knuckles appeared to turn white, Macron said, “My handshake with him, it’s not innocent. It’s not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth.” Macron also said, “One must show that we won’t make little concessions, even symbolic ones.” On Monday, he showed it at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Versailles. Macron said he was happy to allow foreign media outlets access, but not Sputnik or RT, which, he said, print not journalism but “lying propaganda.”

Trump, for his part, will have another chance to make an impression on a foreign leader on Wednesday, when Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc comes to the White House. Vietnam in recent years has moved closer to Washington, especially given concerns in Hanoi over Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. But Nguyen’s visit comes as some of America’s Asian partners and allies are worried about the strength of the U.S. commitment to playing a big role in Asia.

Speaking of leaders from countries with which the United States has a fraught history: Manuel Noriega, former dictator of Panama, died on Tuesday at the age of 83. He was famously ousted from power in a 1989 U.S. invasion of the Central American nation.

Photo credit: Douliery – Pool/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering ambassadorial and diplomatic affairs in Washington. @emilyctamkin

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