President Donald Trump is renewing his censure of NATO on the campaign trail ahead of his upcoming visit to the defense bloc’s headquarters.
In Moscow, the US national security adviser is finalizing plans for a meeting between the American and Russian presidents.
And in London, protesters are devising ways to disrupt the President’s long-delayed visit to the United Kingdom.
The parallel activities will collide in two weeks, when Trump departs for Europe on a trip intended to shore up alliances but more likely to reveal their strain. After this month’s G7 meeting ended in recriminations between allies, there is little expectation among European and US diplomats of an easygoing time.
US officials have proceeded as if Trump will meet Vladimir Putin in mid-July after stops in Brussels for the NATO talks and the UK for a working visit.
The prospect of a meeting with Putin, which Trump first raised during a congratulatory phone call in March, has sent ripples of consternation through European capitals. Some leaders fear a campaign to isolate Moscow for its destabilizing activities could be quickly undone by an eager-to-please Trump.
“It’s the uncertainty,” one western official said in explaining European concerns at a Trump-Putin meeting. “No one knows what he’ll walk out saying.”