Is the marriage over? For longer than I've drawn breath, Europe and America have been intertwined in a relationship that blossomed into a marriage in the aftermath of WWII.
Now, in a pattern that echoes his path from Ivana to Marla to Melania, Donald Trump seems intent on straining America's relationship with Europe, perhaps in favour of a new paramour, Russia.
Trump recently dissed both NATO and the European Union, dismissing America's oldest military alliance as "obsolete" while praising Brexit, predicting the departure of other member states from the E.U. and blasting Angela Merkel's migrant policy. These are not actions by which mutual confidence is sustained.
For a while the president-elect said he welcomed a nuclear arms race with Russia. Barely a week later he advocated a reduction in Russia's and America's nuclear arsenals, hinting that he might scrap U.S. sanctions against Russia in the bargain.
The Europeans know that Trump does not have the confidence of America's 17 national security/intelligence agencies. They know that because America's intelligence types have been telling their counterparts not to share anything they don't want Putin to know about. Again, not great for sustaining mutual confidence.
French president Francois Hollande made it clear today that he's heard enough from the Great Orange Bloat.
"Europe will be ready to pursue transatlantic cooperation, but it will based on its interests and values," Hollande said before awarding France's highest honour to outgoing US ambassador Jane Hartley. "It does not need outside advice to tell it what to do."
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, two Chinese state newspapers have warned of trouble ahead.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday, Trump said the "One China" policy was up for negotiation. China's foreign ministry, in response, said "One China" was the foundation of China-US ties and was non-negotiable.
One recent analysis concluded that in a major trade war, China's economy might sustain a 50% hit. America's economy could take an unrecoverable 75% blow. China, being more manufacturing focused, has the more resilient economy that would recover in short order. A trade war could leave America's FIRE economy (and the economies of America's dependents) mortally wounded.
In what Angela Merkel has termed Trump's "thought environment," the incoming president imagines America's strength as perhaps much greater than it would prove to be if strained. That would, of necessity, reset America's relationships with rivals, adversaries and one faithful allies alike.