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Westlake Legal Group > North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Trump’s Iran Strategy: A Cease-Fire Wrapped in a Strategic Muddle

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-assess-facebookJumbo Trump’s Iran Strategy: A Cease-Fire Wrapped in a Strategic Muddle United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike North Atlantic Treaty Organization Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Embargoes and Sanctions

President Trump opened a small window for diplomacy with Iran on Wednesday, but combined his words with bald threats that made it hard to see how the two countries could break out of their cycle of confrontation and revenge.

The speech was, in many ways, the sound of muddled policy. It showed that after three years in office, Mr. Trump has yet to resolve the two conflicting instincts on national security that emerge from his speeches and his Twitter feed: bellicosity and disengagement.

And he included all the other requisite elements of a Trump policy speech on Iran: burning resentment of President Barack Obama, critiques of his predecessor’s nuclear deal, dubious factual claims and campaign-year self-congratulation.

Mr. Trump did pull back from the brink of war, at least for now. He made clear that he did not plan to respond to the missile attacks on two bases where American troops operate, which seemed calibrated by the Iranians to make a point without creating more human carnage.

But the president also promised to double down on sanctions against Iran, turning again to the economic tool he remained convinced would eventually force the country to choose between ruin and survival. Beyond saying the United States “is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” he presented no path forward for the two adversaries of 40 years.

“It certainly sent mixed messages to Iran,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian-American strategist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Mr. Sadjadpour called the speech “initially triumphant” as Mr. Trump celebrated his order to kill the most famous military leader in Iran, a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops. “It was then dismissive toward Iran,” he said, “and then there was an almost throwaway line at the end about what a bright future the Iranians have if they only reshape themselves as the United States demands.”

The risk now is that the uneasy halt after Iran fired 16 missiles early Wednesday at American forces in Iraq will prove temporary. History is filled with examples where missed signals led countries down a path to conflict profoundly not in their interests, notably the cascade of events that led to World War I. Rarer are the examples where a quiet accommodation of each other’s national interests prevailed, as they did when President John F. Kennedy secretly traded Soviet missiles in Cuba for American missiles in Turkey in 1962.

Unlike the Soviets, Iran cannot reach American shores with its arsenal. But the mere fear in the West that Iran could seek revenge by pushing ahead with a nuclear weapon remains its greatest leverage. There was an uneasy sense in the Pentagon on Wednesday that while Iran may not shoot more missiles from its own territory, it will almost certainly return to its specialties of shadow wars and cyberattacks.

Mr. Sadjadpour called the speech “strategically incoherent.” But that can be said about much of Mr. Trump’s Middle East policy in the past few months. The president pulled a small, fairly safe American force out of Syria that was primarily engaged in fighting the Islamic State with Syrian Kurdish allies, claiming it was time to halt “endless wars.” He decided not to respond when Iran first shot down an unmanned American drone and then executed a precision attack on Saudi oil facilities, leaving the impression inside the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that America’s Middle East ally was not worth defending.

And then, surprising everyone, including his own military advisers, he ordered the targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important commander, saying that he was planning attacks on American targets, although the administration has offered few details.

Already that decision has led to a host of unintended consequences, including the sending of thousands more United States troops to the Middle East to defend American assets and interests that Mr. Trump only a few months ago suggested are not worth defending.

His answer to that contradiction seems to be to ask NATO to do the job. Presumably he wants allied forces to patrol the Persian Gulf at a time that tanker companies are halting their shipments across the Strait of Hormuz and airlines are avoiding Iraqi and Iranian airspace.

It seems unlikely they will heed his call. NATO’s leading members argue that it was Mr. Trump who picked this fight with Iran, by dumping the 2015 nuclear deal reached during the Obama administration that, in their mind, was working. And, as Mr. Trump himself complains, they do not have the military capability to play the role the United States has played.

“His failure to consult the allies or take their interests into consideration will make it extremely difficult to get their support,” said R. Nicholas Burns, the former American ambassador to NATO during the early days of the Afghanistan war, when Europe did come to America’s aid. “Very few of the allies trust him and will not follow blindly the most anti-NATO president in seven decades.”

The Iranians are betting on exactly that. Their strategy has been to peel Europe, China and Russia — the other nations involved in negotiating the accord — away from the United States. For a long while, they succeeded as European powers kept devising complex plans to counteract American sanctions on Iran.

But the Europeans were eventually outmaneuvered by the United States Treasury Department and unable to convince European companies that doing business with Tehran was worth the risk of losing their access to the American banking system. As a result, Iran’s effort to make up its lost oil revenue all but collapsed.

The Iranians have now resumed producing nuclear material, effectively abandoning the restrictions they agreed to under Mr. Obama. Mr. Trump used his speech on Wednesday to urge the Europeans to recognize that the Obama-era nuclear accord was over, and to get back on board with the United States.

“The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality,” he said.

The reality Mr. Trump does not want to recognize is that since he dismantled the agreement, Iranian nuclear scientists are months closer to nuclear breakout than they were when they were abiding by the deal’s restrictions.

Mr. Trump now says the new strategy is the old strategy: On Wednesday, he promised “powerful” new sanctions that would “remain until Iran changes its behavior.” He never explained why the sanctions enacted so far — the most severe in modern history, he often says — have failed to prompt that change over the past 18 months.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a hawk on Iran, had a label for the administration’s Iran policy: “confront and contain.” It is a phrase meant to invoke the Cold War, when the United States faced a much larger and more dangerous enemy in the Soviet Union.

But it is not clear that classic containment works in a world where terrorists and cyberweapons easily cross borders, where attacks are deniable and Western allies at odds with each other.

And containment begets resistance. That seemed clear on the Twitter feed of one of Iran’s leading nuclear negotiators, Saeed Jalili.

Mr. Trump had posted an American flag in the minutes after the killing of General Suleimani. Mr. Jalili waited until the missiles had hit the bases in Iraq with Americans. Then he posted an Iranian flag.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump’s Iran Strategy: A Cease-Fire Wrapped in a Strategic Muddle

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-assess-facebookJumbo Trump’s Iran Strategy: A Cease-Fire Wrapped in a Strategic Muddle United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike North Atlantic Treaty Organization Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Embargoes and Sanctions

President Trump opened a small window for diplomacy with Iran on Wednesday, but combined his words with bald threats that made it hard to see how the two countries could break out of their cycle of confrontation and revenge.

The speech was, in many ways, the sound of muddled policy. It showed that after three years in office, Mr. Trump has yet to resolve the two conflicting instincts on national security that emerge from his speeches and his Twitter feed: bellicosity and disengagement.

And he included all the other requisite elements of a Trump policy speech on Iran: burning resentment of President Barack Obama, critiques of his predecessor’s nuclear deal, dubious factual claims and campaign-year self-congratulation.

Mr. Trump did pull back from the brink of war, at least for now. He made clear that he did not plan to respond to the missile attacks on two bases where American troops operate, which seemed calibrated by the Iranians to make a point without creating more human carnage.

But the president also promised to double down on sanctions against Iran, turning again to the economic tool he remained convinced would eventually force the country to choose between ruin and survival. Beyond saying the United States “is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” he presented no path forward for the two adversaries of 40 years.

“It certainly sent mixed messages to Iran,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian-American strategist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Mr. Sadjadpour called the speech “initially triumphant” as Mr. Trump celebrated his order to kill the most famous military leader in Iran, a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops. “It was then dismissive toward Iran,” he said, “and then there was an almost throwaway line at the end about what a bright future the Iranians have if they only reshape themselves as the United States demands.”

The risk now is that the uneasy halt after Iran fired 16 missiles early Wednesday at American forces in Iraq will prove temporary. History is filled with examples where missed signals led countries down a path to conflict profoundly not in their interests, notably the cascade of events that led to World War I. Rarer are the examples where a quiet accommodation of each other’s national interests prevailed, as they did when President John F. Kennedy secretly traded Soviet missiles in Cuba for American missiles in Turkey in 1962.

Unlike the Soviets, Iran cannot reach American shores with its arsenal. But the mere fear in the West that Iran could seek revenge by pushing ahead with a nuclear weapon remains its greatest leverage. There was an uneasy sense in the Pentagon on Wednesday that while Iran may not shoot more missiles from its own territory, it will almost certainly return to its specialties of shadow wars and cyberattacks.

Mr. Sadjadpour called the speech “strategically incoherent.” But that can be said about much of Mr. Trump’s Middle East policy in the past few months. The president pulled a small, fairly safe American force out of Syria that was primarily engaged in fighting the Islamic State with Syrian Kurdish allies, claiming it was time to halt “endless wars.” He decided not to respond when Iran first shot down an unmanned American drone and then executed a precision attack on Saudi oil facilities, leaving the impression inside the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that America’s Middle East ally was not worth defending.

And then, surprising everyone, including his own military advisers, he ordered the targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important commander, saying that he was planning attacks on American targets, although the administration has offered few details.

Already that decision has led to a host of unintended consequences, including the sending of thousands more United States troops to the Middle East to defend American assets and interests that Mr. Trump only a few months ago suggested are not worth defending.

His answer to that contradiction seems to be to ask NATO to do the job. Presumably he wants allied forces to patrol the Persian Gulf at a time that tanker companies are halting their shipments across the Strait of Hormuz and airlines are avoiding Iraqi and Iranian airspace.

It seems unlikely they will heed his call. NATO’s leading members argue that it was Mr. Trump who picked this fight with Iran, by dumping the 2015 nuclear deal reached during the Obama administration that, in their mind, was working. And, as Mr. Trump himself complains, they do not have the military capability to play the role the United States has played.

“His failure to consult the allies or take their interests into consideration will make it extremely difficult to get their support,” said R. Nicholas Burns, the former American ambassador to NATO during the early days of the Afghanistan war, when Europe did come to America’s aid. “Very few of the allies trust him and will not follow blindly the most anti-NATO president in seven decades.”

The Iranians are betting on exactly that. Their strategy has been to peel Europe, China and Russia — the other nations involved in negotiating the accord — away from the United States. For a long while, they succeeded as European powers kept devising complex plans to counteract American sanctions on Iran.

But the Europeans were eventually outmaneuvered by the United States Treasury Department and unable to convince European companies that doing business with Tehran was worth the risk of losing their access to the American banking system. As a result, Iran’s effort to make up its lost oil revenue all but collapsed.

The Iranians have now resumed producing nuclear material, effectively abandoning the restrictions they agreed to under Mr. Obama. Mr. Trump used his speech on Wednesday to urge the Europeans to recognize that the Obama-era nuclear accord was over, and to get back on board with the United States.

“The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality,” he said.

The reality Mr. Trump does not want to recognize is that since he dismantled the agreement, Iranian nuclear scientists are months closer to nuclear breakout than they were when they were abiding by the deal’s restrictions.

Mr. Trump now says the new strategy is the old strategy: On Wednesday, he promised “powerful” new sanctions that would “remain until Iran changes its behavior.” He never explained why the sanctions enacted so far — the most severe in modern history, he often says — have failed to prompt that change over the past 18 months.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a hawk on Iran, had a label for the administration’s Iran policy: “confront and contain.” It is a phrase meant to invoke the Cold War, when the United States faced a much larger and more dangerous enemy in the Soviet Union.

But it is not clear that classic containment works in a world where terrorists and cyberweapons easily cross borders, where attacks are deniable and Western allies at odds with each other.

And containment begets resistance. That seemed clear on the Twitter feed of one of Iran’s leading nuclear negotiators, Saeed Jalili.

Mr. Trump had posted an American flag in the minutes after the killing of General Suleimani. Mr. Jalili waited until the missiles had hit the bases in Iraq with Americans. Then he posted an Iranian flag.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Some NATO Troops Begin Leaving Iraq

Westlake Legal Group 07iraq-troops-facebookJumbo Some NATO Troops Begin Leaving Iraq United States Defense and Military Forces Stoltenberg, Jens North Atlantic Treaty Organization Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the aftermath of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran in Baghdad.

The NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced on Monday that the training had been temporarily suspended.

For the security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.”

NATO, which has been running the training operation since 2018, will continue to maintain a presence in Iraq and remains committed to fighting international terrorism, an official said, while refusing to divulge details about troop movements.

NATO, which has roughly 500 soldiers in Iraq, lifted some of them out of Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night.

General Suleimani was killed in an American drone strike at the Baghdad airport on Friday alongside a powerful Iraqi militia leader. Since then, Iran and its partners have stepped up calls for vengeance Iran attacked two American bases in Iraq early Wednesday, Iranian official news media and United States officials said.

Some NATO countries, like Canada, Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Canada is moving some of its 500 military personnel temporarily to Kuwait, the country’s top military official, Gen. Jonathan Vance, said in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the German Defense and Foreign Ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has moved seven of its contingent of 14 soldiers to Kuwait and sent the rest home, its Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has removed its seven soldiers.

The Pentagon, for its part, has directed about 4,500 additional American troops to the region atop the roughly 50,000 already there. The new troops will act primarily as a defensive force, meant to reinforce American bases and compounds in the region and respond to a possible Iranian attack in retaliation for the killing of General Suleimani.

A brigade of roughly 4,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., has started deploying to Kuwait. The troops are part of the division’s global response force, kept on standby for particular emergencies.

In Iraq and Syria, however, the American-led coalition halted its yearslong campaign against the Islamic State on Sunday, as United States forces braced for retaliation from Iran.

About 5,200 troops in Iraq and several hundred in Syria are now focused on fortifying their outposts instead of pursuing remnants of the Islamic State and training local forces.

Further complicating matters, Iraqi lawmakers voted Sunday to expel American forces from their country. The vote will not be final until it is signed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, and it was unclear whether Iraq’s current caretaker government had the authority to end the relationship with the United States military.

Although the vote in Parliament was 170-0, lawmakers were more divided on the issue of ousting American troops than that tally may suggest. Many of the 328 members of Parliament, primarily those representing the country’s ethnic Kurdish and Sunni Muslim minorities, did not attend the session and did not vote.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Johnson’s Balancing Act With Trump and Europe on Iran

Westlake Legal Group 06iran-britain-facebookJumbo Johnson’s Balancing Act With Trump and Europe on Iran Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike North Atlantic Treaty Organization London (England) Johnson, Boris Iraq Iran European Union Brussels (Belgium)

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson was on the Caribbean island of Mustique, still basking in the glow of his recent election victory, when the news came last Friday that President Trump had ordered the killing of a powerful Iranian general — without tipping off, let alone consulting, his British ally.

The British government was livid about the lack of notice, according to current and former officials, particularly because there are about 400 British troops deployed in Iraq, and Britain has historically been more closely aligned with the United States on combat operations there than any other country.

But Mr. Johnson held his tongue until Sunday evening, after he returned to London. Even then, he issued a carefully worded four-paragraph statement that said he would not “lament” the killing of the general, Qassim Suleimani, warned Iran against reprisals and said nothing about Mr. Trump’s action.

It was a circumspect reaction for a politician not known for his circumspection, and it underscored Mr. Johnson’s dilemma as he confronts what is arguably the first foreign policy crisis of the post-Brexit era.

Britain is caught between its traditional alliance with Washington — one that Mr. Johnson promised voters he would deepen with a post-Brexit trade agreement — and the new, still-undefined, relationship with Europe. Mr. Johnson is walking a tightrope that officials said could become even more treacherous if Mr. Trump’s showdown with Iran opens a new trans-Atlantic rift.

“Fundamentally, we’re not aligned with the Americans on this,” said Simon Fraser, a former head of Britain’s Foreign Office, who has served in Iraq and Syria. “The risk is that the U.K. will find itself potentially exposed, if tensions arise between the major Europeans and the United States.”

So far, the Europeans are also working to keep tensions in check. In a joint statement released by the leaders of France, Germany and Britain, they expressed concern about “the negative role Iran has played in the region” but called on both sides to stop “the current cycle of violence in Iraq.”

British officials credited Mr. Johnson with influencing the language of that statement, which was more sympathetic toward the White House than separate statements from the French and Germans. But it is not clear that Mr. Johnson will get much credit for softening his fellow Europeans.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had already expressed frustration with Europe’s response, saying, “the Brits, the French, the Germans” had not “been as helpful as I wish that they could be.” General Suleimani’s killing, he said, had bolstered European security, since the general had orchestrated assassinations in Europe.

On Monday, Britain continued to walk a fine line. The prime minister’s spokesman told reporters that targeting cultural sites in Iran, as Mr. Trump threatened to do if Iran retaliated, would violate international conventions on warfare. But the official was careful not to criticize the president directly.

“They are not going to give Boris Johnson any credit for trying to split the difference, even if he’s splitting it 80/20 in their favor,” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London, of the Trump administration. “To them, you’re either a vassal or an enemy.”

Mr. Shapiro has labeled Mr. Johnson’s ginger handling of the United States as “neo-poodleism,” a reference to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s unstinting support of George W. Bush during the Iraq war, which prompted critics to accuse him of acting like Mr. Bush’s poodle. In Mr. Blair’s case, Mr. Shapiro said, he was motivated by a genuine conviction that Iraq was a war worth fighting. In Mr. Johnson’s case, the loyalty is borne of more pragmatic considerations.

With Britain on track to leave the European Union by the end of this month, he said, Britain will find itself ever more dependent on its economic relationship with the United States. Facing a difficult trade negotiation with Washington, Mr. Johnson can ill afford to alienate Mr. Trump on Iran.

There is already evidence that Mr. Johnson has trimmed his sails out of deference to the president. Last year, when Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, his predecessor, Theresa May, tried to muster a European-led naval force to protect ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

When Mr. Johnson replaced her in July, the European-led initiative fell apart and Britain ended up joining a naval force led by the United States, which Germany and France refused to join.

Not everybody believes Mr. Johnson will be forced to be subservient to the United States. Some noted that he had distanced himself from Mr. Trump on trade issues during the general election campaign.

“The politics of Brexit are more about a desire for increased sovereignty than a preference for Atlanticism over Europeanism,” said Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute.

One place where Mr. Johnson has stood with the Europeans is in defending the Iran nuclear deal. Mr. Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and Iran’s announcement Sunday that it would no longer abide by its limits to uranium enrichment seemed finally to kill it off.

But critics said Europe’s efforts to salvage the deal had been weak, in part because all three countries — not just Britain — have been hamstrung by their desire to maintain good relations with Washington.

Europeans responded to this latest crisis with a flurry of meetings. On Monday, NATO held an emergency meeting of its ambassadors. On Friday, European foreign ministers will gather in Brussels. The German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said they would come up with a coordinated response to Iran.

“This could be the first step toward the end of this agreement, which would be a great loss,” Mr. Maas told a German radio station. “And so, we will weigh things up very, very responsibly.” He also said Mr. Trump’s threat to impose sanctions on Iraq if it forced out American troops was “not very helpful.”

Fears about Britain’s security mounted on Monday after the Times of London quoted an unnamed commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as saying that British soldiers could be collateral damage in Iranian reprisals on American soldiers. Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, disputed that report as “malicious, false propaganda.”

Mr. Johnson has suggested he wants to play a mediating role in the region. On Monday, he spoke with Iraq’s prime minister, Abdul Mahdi, to try to work out a solution on foreign troops. He has also spoken to Mr. Trump and European leaders.

While he has talked about being a bridge across the Atlantic, however, diplomats are skeptical.

“Frankly,” Mr. Fraser said, “the Germans and the French would rather deal with Washington on their own.”

Stephen Castle and David Kirkpatrick contributed reporting from London, and Steven Erlanger contributed from Brussels.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Inflames the Trade Wars, Again

Westlake Legal Group 03dc-Trade01-facebookJumbo Trump Inflames the Trade Wars, Again United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Taxation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development North Atlantic Treaty Organization International Trade and World Market France Customs (Tariff) China

LONDON — President Trump left the global economy unsettled on Tuesday when he threatened NATO allies and suggested that he could wait a year to reach a trade agreement with China, sending stock markets swooning.

In comments to reporters sandwiched between meetings with fellow leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Mr. Trump said a trade deal with China might not be finalized until after the 2020 presidential election in November. Earlier this fall, he hinted that a deal was near completion, signaling that the trade war could be winding down.

But this week, peace no longer seems at hand. Beyond Mr. Trump’s downbeat assessment of the conflict with China, his administration is considering tariffs as high as 100 percent on French items including wines, cheeses and handbags. He promised to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel from Brazil and Argentina. And he raised fresh doubts about international negotiations that were supposed to defuse a growing conflict over how American technology companies are taxed in Europe.

The president’s affinity for using unpredictability as a negotiating tactic has angered trading partners and at times roiled financial markets — including on Tuesday, when stocks dropped in Europe and the United States after Mr. Trump’s trade comments. The S&P 500 index fell about 0.7 percent Tuesday, after a similar decline Monday.

“In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a 52-minute appearance in London with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general. He added: “But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right. It’s got to be right.”

The president also said Tuesday that he might impose new import taxes on goods from Germany and any other NATO ally that did not fully pay its dues to the organization, an inaccurate description of how the military alliance is maintained. Member states are expected to maintain robust military spending, but they do not pay dues.

He then renewed a threat, which his administration made in a formal trade investigation concluded on Monday, to place tariffs of up to 100 percent on some French exports. That would be in response to a new French tax on online economic activity, which will hit American giants like Amazon and Facebook. His administration has threatened similar actions in response to digital tax pushes in Italy, Turkey and Austria.

“They’re American companies,” Mr. Trump said. “We want to tax American companies. That’s important. We want to tax them, not somebody else.”

The threat of such draconian tariffs, which were spearheaded by Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, raised speculation that the Trump administration could abandon the tax talks taking place through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. However, the Treasury Department, which is leading those negotiations, is expected to proceed with them.

The events of recent days seem to have put an end to weeks of relative calm and record highs in the stock market, after more than a year of tumult largely caused by Mr. Trump’s decisions to impose tariffs on a variety of products, including $250 billion of imports from China.

The jolt to the stock market this week stood out after three straight months of placid trading and incremental gains. Measures of global policy uncertainty, while still historically elevated, had dipped this fall as Mr. Trump suggested a breakthrough with China was near. Farmers, who have been hurt by Chinese retaliatory tariffs against the United States, had reported a surge of economic optimism in November, according to an index compiled by Purdue University.

While some analysts argued that Mr. Trump’s bravado was a negotiating tactic that markets should ignore, others said the falling stock prices were a sign that investors had been too optimistic about the trade war. European leaders warned that they would retaliate if Mr. Trump levied tariffs on French goods, blaming him for escalating what is becoming a multinational fight over the taxation of tech companies. Some economic forecasters warned that Mr. Trump was risking the health of the global economy.

“It is remarkable how President Trump seems impervious to the delicate state of an economic expansion that is clearly long in the tooth,” Bernard Baumohl, the chief global economist for the Economic Outlook Group, wrote in a research note. He called Mr. Trump’s trade remarks “disheartening to say the least.”

Business groups expressed alarm about Mr. Trump’s China comments.

“We want and need to see a deal as soon as possible,” said David French, the senior vice president for government relations for the National Retail Federation. “The tariffs continue to hurt U.S. businesses, workers and consumers and are a substantial drag on the U.S. economy.”

But delaying a China deal could have political benefits for Mr. Trump, some analysts said.

“Any deal reached now will be subject to scrutiny for the next 12 months and the harsh disinfectant of sunlight during the general election cycle,” said Henrietta Treyz, the director of economic policy research at Veda Partners, an investment advisory firm. “Trade wars are political — right now, President Trump has the benefit of widespread bipartisan U.S. voter opposition to China and a robust consumer spending cycle.”

Mr. Trump’s trademark volatility was on full display Tuesday. At points, he seemed to suggest tensions with trading partners like France and even the long standoff with China could be easily resolved. At others, he suggested that he would make final deals only when he felt like it, and that more tariffs could be on the way in the interim. At one point, he said he would not settle for an “even” agreement with China — only one that favored the United States.

Administration officials sounded increasingly pessimistic that a first phase of any China deal would be reached anytime soon.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday that he believed holding off on a deal until after the election would give Mr. Trump more leverage in negotiations — assuming he won.

“Because once the election occurs — and the president seems to be in very good shape for the election — once it occurs and he’s back in, now that’s no longer a distraction that can detract from our negotiating position,” Mr. Ross told CNBC.

Mr. Ross said that the agreement in principle that Mr. Trump promoted in October was at the “40,000-foot level,” but that coming to terms on details such as what American agriculture products China would buy and how the deal would be enforced had proved to be more challenging. He said that barring a breakthrough, additional tariffs scheduled to be imposed on Dec. 15 would go into effect.

“We don’t have a breakthrough until it’s in black and white, on paper — signed, sealed and delivered,” he said.

Katie Rogers reported from London, and Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport from Washington. Matt Phillips contributed reporting from New York, Keith Bradsher from Shanghai and Ana Swanson from Boston.

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In Tense Exchange, Trump and Macron Put Forth Dueling Visions for NATO

LONDON — A once-cordial relationship between President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France devolved in a dramatic fashion on Tuesday, as the two leaders publicly sparred over their approach to containing the threat of terrorism and a shared vision for the future of NATO, a 70-year-old alliance facing existential threats on multiple fronts.

In a lengthy appearance before reporters, the president met a cool reception from Mr. Macron, who earlier in the day Mr. Trump derided as “very insulting” for his recent remarks on the “brain death” of the alliance. When asked to address his earlier comments on the French leader, Mr. Trump, a leader averse to face-to-face confrontation, initially demurred, but Mr. Macron was direct.

“My statement created some reactions,” Mr. Macron said. “I do stand by it.”

What followed was an extended, terse back-and-forth over trade, immigration, and Mr. Trump’s relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Mr. Trump’s interactions with the Turkish president are also sure to be closely watched. Mr. Erdogan, who has already upset NATO allies by purchasing a sophisticated Russian antiaircraft missile system, the S-400, is now threatening to oppose NATO’s plans to update the defense of Poland and the Baltic countries if the alliance does not join him in labeling some Kurdish groups as terrorists.

”Who is the enemy today?” Mr. Macron asked. “And let’s be clear and work together on that.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164329611_60662a0d-f574-45d5-b95b-60cda22a7fa4-articleLarge In Tense Exchange, Trump and Macron Put Forth Dueling Visions for NATO United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States North Atlantic Treaty Organization Great Britain elections Defense and Military Forces

Mr. Trump, left, with Turkish president Recep Tayypip Erdogan during a visit to the White House in November.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The meeting continued to devolve as the two discussed the containment of ISIS fighters in Syria. Hunched forward, Mr. Trump tried to jokingly offer captive fighters to the French.

“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?” Mr. Trump said.

“Let’s be serious,” a stone-faced Mr. Macron replied. Mr. Macron said that he and Mr. Trump “don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table.”

“When I look at Turkey, they are fighting against those who fight with us,” he added, referring to Kurdish fighters.

The contentious tone was baked into the day’s proceedings. Hours earlier, in a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, Mr. Trump said President Emmanuel Macron of France had been “very insulting” to the alliance.

Mr. Macron had suggested that Europe could no longer assume unwavering support from the United States. “I think nobody needs it more than France,” Mr. Trump said of the alliance, “and that’s why I think when France makes a statement like they made about NATO, that’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.”

Mr. Trump’s visit comes as leaders across Europe struggle to balance the shared goal of combating the rising influence of global adversaries — China will be a focus — and containing other unpredictable members, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump said that he was considering delaying reaching a deal in his protracted and economically damaging trade war with China until after the 2020 election.

“In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he had “no deadline” for reaching an accord.

Mr. Trump’s defense of NATO against Mr. Macron’s comments was something of a role reversal for the two leaders. In the past, Mr. Trump has been so disruptive at NATO meetings that he triggered an emergency session. He has accused other member countries of shortchanging the United States on military spending, and he has questioned whether the alliance still served a purpose.

A goal of the current meeting was to avoid any formal disruptions. This time, however, it was Mr. Macron’s comments that were viewed as unhelpful to the alliance.

Mr. Trump called the remarks a “very, very nasty statement essentially to 28 countries” and said that NATO served a “great purpose.”

Heather A. Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Mr. Macron saw an opportunity to assert French leadership in Europe, with Britain moving toward leaving the European Union and the German government enmeshed in its own political troubles.

“President Macron is seizing that moment, seeking to be disruptive in his own way, and so we will see how that works,” she said.

In the background of these competing global interests is Mr. Trump’s possible impeachment. On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee is set to question legal experts about whether there are grounds to impeach Mr. Trump for pressuring Ukraine to take actions that could help him in the 2020 election.

That threatens to throw off Mr. Trump’s focus and overshadow a victorious message that administration officials brought along with them to Britain: Last week, officials told reporters that the president had been “spectacularly successful” in urging allies to increase their military spending by more than $100 billion.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump spoke to reporters for 52 minutes, at times turning his attention back to domestic issues. He castigated the impeachment effort led by Democrats as “unpatriotic” and again defended his behavior during a July call with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky — an interaction that formed the basis for the inquiry.

“I did nothing wrong,” Mr. Trump said of the impeachment inquiry during a bilateral meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg, noting that he was not open to a censure from Congress, either. “You don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong.”

Mr. Trump’s morning comments set a tense backdrop for his meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Mr. Macron, who has shifted from a charm offensive with Mr. Trump to a more confrontational approach.

Experts in the region said they were watching to see whether Mr. Macron and Mr. Trump could agree on a path forward for NATO. “We need U.S. leadership in order to push any number of things on the NATO agenda, particularly in tougher areas like nuclear modernization or arms control,” Ms. Conley said.

Mr. Trump will also meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and host a private fund-raising round table with supporters, which Trump campaign officials say will raise $3 million.

Notably absent from the president’s schedule is a one-on-one meeting with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is campaigning ahead of a Dec. 12 election and has been desperate to keep Mr. Trump at arm’s length. Mr. Johnson is managing the political fallout from a terrorist attack on Friday in central London, where a lone extremist fatally stabbed two people and wounded three others.

Mr. Johnson will host several leaders, including the president, in a group reception at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening, before the Trumps head to Buckingham Palace for a reception with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

A chief concern in Britain is that Mr. Trump could change the course of next week’s election, intentionally or not, by sending inflammatory tweets or wading into local politics in interviews.

During his meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg, Mr. Trump indicated that he would respect Mr. Johnson’s wishes and not interfere in the impending election.

“I’ll stay out of the election,” Mr. Trump said. “I think Boris is very capable and he will do a good job.”

Hours before he and the first lady, Melania Trump, were expected at the palace, Mr. Trump also addressed a controversy engulfing the Royal family. Prince Andrew, the queen’s third child, recently spoke with the BBC about his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey A. Epstein — an interview that turned into a public relations disaster, leading to the prince stepping back from public life.

“I don’t know Prince Andrew, but that’s a tough story,” Mr. Trump said.

In dealing with Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Trump has taken a soft touch, after other NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against Kurdish militia. A Kurdish force had been fighting alongside the Americans against the Islamic State, but Mr. Trump gave the go-ahead for the Turkish incursion in a controversial phone call.

Steven Erlanger contributed reporting.

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In Tense Exchange, Trump and Macron Put Forth Dueling Visions for NATO

LONDON — A once-cordial relationship between President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France devolved in a dramatic fashion on Tuesday, as the two leaders publicly sparred over their approach to containing the threat of terrorism and a shared vision for the future of NATO, a 70-year-old alliance facing existential threats on multiple fronts.

In a lengthy appearance before reporters, the president met a cool reception from Mr. Macron, who earlier in the day Mr. Trump derided as “very insulting” for his recent remarks on the “brain death” of the alliance. When asked to address his earlier comments on the French leader, Mr. Trump, a leader averse to face-to-face confrontation, initially demurred, but Mr. Macron was direct.

“My statement created some reactions,” Mr. Macron said. “I do stand by it.”

What followed was an extended, terse back-and-forth over trade, immigration, and Mr. Trump’s relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Mr. Trump’s interactions with the Turkish president are also sure to be closely watched. Mr. Erdogan, who has already upset NATO allies by purchasing a sophisticated Russian antiaircraft missile system, the S-400, is now threatening to oppose NATO’s plans to update the defense of Poland and the Baltic countries if the alliance does not join him in labeling some Kurdish groups as terrorists.

”Who is the enemy today?” Mr. Macron asked. “And let’s be clear and work together on that.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164329611_60662a0d-f574-45d5-b95b-60cda22a7fa4-articleLarge In Tense Exchange, Trump and Macron Put Forth Dueling Visions for NATO United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States North Atlantic Treaty Organization Great Britain elections Defense and Military Forces

Mr. Trump, left, with Turkish president Recep Tayypip Erdogan during a visit to the White House in November.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The meeting continued to devolve as the two discussed the containment of ISIS fighters in Syria. Hunched forward, Mr. Trump tried to jokingly offer captive fighters to the French.

“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?” Mr. Trump said.

“Let’s be serious,” a stone-faced Mr. Macron replied. Mr. Macron said that he and Mr. Trump “don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table.”

“When I look at Turkey, they are fighting against those who fight with us,” he added, referring to Kurdish fighters.

The contentious tone was baked into the day’s proceedings. Hours earlier, in a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, Mr. Trump said President Emmanuel Macron of France had been “very insulting” to the alliance.

Mr. Macron had suggested that Europe could no longer assume unwavering support from the United States. “I think nobody needs it more than France,” Mr. Trump said of the alliance, “and that’s why I think when France makes a statement like they made about NATO, that’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.”

Mr. Trump’s visit comes as leaders across Europe struggle to balance the shared goal of combating the rising influence of global adversaries — China will be a focus — and containing other unpredictable members, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump said that he was considering delaying reaching a deal in his protracted and economically damaging trade war with China until after the 2020 election.

“In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he had “no deadline” for reaching an accord.

Mr. Trump’s defense of NATO against Mr. Macron’s comments was something of a role reversal for the two leaders. In the past, Mr. Trump has been so disruptive at NATO meetings that he triggered an emergency session. He has accused other member countries of shortchanging the United States on military spending, and he has questioned whether the alliance still served a purpose.

A goal of the current meeting was to avoid any formal disruptions. This time, however, it was Mr. Macron’s comments that were viewed as unhelpful to the alliance.

Mr. Trump called the remarks a “very, very nasty statement essentially to 28 countries” and said that NATO served a “great purpose.”

Heather A. Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Mr. Macron saw an opportunity to assert French leadership in Europe, with Britain moving toward leaving the European Union and the German government enmeshed in its own political troubles.

“President Macron is seizing that moment, seeking to be disruptive in his own way, and so we will see how that works,” she said.

In the background of these competing global interests is Mr. Trump’s possible impeachment. On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee is set to question legal experts about whether there are grounds to impeach Mr. Trump for pressuring Ukraine to take actions that could help him in the 2020 election.

That threatens to throw off Mr. Trump’s focus and overshadow a victorious message that administration officials brought along with them to Britain: Last week, officials told reporters that the president had been “spectacularly successful” in urging allies to increase their military spending by more than $100 billion.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump spoke to reporters for 52 minutes, at times turning his attention back to domestic issues. He castigated the impeachment effort led by Democrats as “unpatriotic” and again defended his behavior during a July call with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky — an interaction that formed the basis for the inquiry.

“I did nothing wrong,” Mr. Trump said of the impeachment inquiry during a bilateral meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg, noting that he was not open to a censure from Congress, either. “You don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong.”

Mr. Trump’s morning comments set a tense backdrop for his meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Mr. Macron, who has shifted from a charm offensive with Mr. Trump to a more confrontational approach.

Experts in the region said they were watching to see whether Mr. Macron and Mr. Trump could agree on a path forward for NATO. “We need U.S. leadership in order to push any number of things on the NATO agenda, particularly in tougher areas like nuclear modernization or arms control,” Ms. Conley said.

Mr. Trump will also meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and host a private fund-raising round table with supporters, which Trump campaign officials say will raise $3 million.

Notably absent from the president’s schedule is a one-on-one meeting with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is campaigning ahead of a Dec. 12 election and has been desperate to keep Mr. Trump at arm’s length. Mr. Johnson is managing the political fallout from a terrorist attack on Friday in central London, where a lone extremist fatally stabbed two people and wounded three others.

Mr. Johnson will host several leaders, including the president, in a group reception at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening, before the Trumps head to Buckingham Palace for a reception with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

A chief concern in Britain is that Mr. Trump could change the course of next week’s election, intentionally or not, by sending inflammatory tweets or wading into local politics in interviews.

During his meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg, Mr. Trump indicated that he would respect Mr. Johnson’s wishes and not interfere in the impending election.

“I’ll stay out of the election,” Mr. Trump said. “I think Boris is very capable and he will do a good job.”

Hours before he and the first lady, Melania Trump, were expected at the palace, Mr. Trump also addressed a controversy engulfing the Royal family. Prince Andrew, the queen’s third child, recently spoke with the BBC about his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey A. Epstein — an interview that turned into a public relations disaster, leading to the prince stepping back from public life.

“I don’t know Prince Andrew, but that’s a tough story,” Mr. Trump said.

In dealing with Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Trump has taken a soft touch, after other NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against Kurdish militia. A Kurdish force had been fighting alongside the Americans against the Islamic State, but Mr. Trump gave the go-ahead for the Turkish incursion in a controversial phone call.

Steven Erlanger contributed reporting.

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Trump Begins NATO Summit by Targeting Macron’s ‘Brain Death’ Comment

Westlake Legal Group 03prexy-sub2-facebookJumbo Trump Begins NATO Summit by Targeting Macron’s ‘Brain Death’ Comment United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States North Atlantic Treaty Organization Great Britain elections Defense and Military Forces

LONDON — President Trump began a two-day summit meeting on Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO — strained, in part, by his own brash handling of overseas allies — by stepping into an unlikely role as defender of an alliance he once called “obsolete.”

In a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, Mr. Trump said President Emmanuel Macron of France had been “very insulting” to the alliance when he warned recently about the “brain death” of NATO.

Mr. Macron had suggested that Europe could no longer assume unwavering support from the United States. The two leaders were scheduled to meet later in the day.

“I think nobody needs it more than France,” Mr. Trump said of the alliance, “and that’s why I think when France makes a statement like they made about NATO, that’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.”

Mr. Trump’s visit comes as leaders across Europe struggle to balance the shared goal of combating the rising influence of global adversaries — China will be a focus — and containing other unpredictable members, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump said that he was considering delaying reaching a deal in his protracted and economically damaging trade war with China until after the 2020 election.

“In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he had “no deadline” for reaching an accord.

Mr. Trump’s defense of NATO against Mr. Macron’s comments was something of a role reversal for the two leaders. In the past, Mr. Trump has been so disruptive at NATO meetings that he triggered an emergency session. He has accused other member countries of shortchanging the United States on military spending, and he has questioned whether the alliance still served a purpose.

A goal of the current meeting was to avoid any formal disruptions. This time, however, it was Mr. Macron’s comments that were viewed as unhelpful to the alliance.

Mr. Trump called the remarks a “very, very nasty statement essentially to 28 countries” and said that NATO served a “great purpose.”

Heather A. Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Mr. Macron saw an opportunity to assert French leadership in Europe, with Britain moving toward leaving the European Union and the German government enmeshed in its own political troubles.

“President Macron is seizing that moment, seeking to be disruptive in his own way, and so we will see how that works,” she said.

In the background of these competing global interests is Mr. Trump’s possible impeachment. On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee is set to question legal experts about whether there are grounds to impeach Mr. Trump for pressuring Ukraine to take actions that could help him in the 2020 election.

That threatens to throw off Mr. Trump’s focus and overshadow a victorious message that administration officials brought along with them to Britain: Last week, officials told reporters that the president had been “spectacularly successful” in urging allies to increase their military spending by more than $100 billion.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump spoke to reporters for 52 minutes, at times turning his attention back to domestic issues. He castigated the impeachment effort led by Democrats as “unpatriotic” and again defended his behavior during a July call with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky — an interaction that formed the basis for the inquiry.

“I did nothing wrong,” Mr. Trump said of the impeachment inquiry during a bilateral meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg, noting that he was not open to a censure from Congress, either. “You don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong.”

Mr. Trump’s morning comments set a tense backdrop for his meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Mr. Macron, who has shifted from a charm offensive with Mr. Trump to a more confrontational approach.

Experts in the region said they were watching to see whether Mr. Macron and Mr. Trump could agree on a path forward for NATO. “We need U.S. leadership in order to push any number of things on the NATO agenda, particularly in tougher areas like nuclear modernization or arms control,” Ms. Conley said.

Mr. Trump will also meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and host a private fund-raising round table with supporters, which Trump campaign officials say will raise $3 million.

Notably absent from the president’s schedule is a one-on-one meeting with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is campaigning ahead of a Dec. 12 election and has been desperate to keep Mr. Trump at arm’s length. Mr. Johnson is managing the political fallout from a terrorist attack on Friday in central London, where a lone extremist fatally stabbed two people and wounded three others.

Mr. Johnson will host several leaders, including the president, in a group reception at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening, before the Trumps head to Buckingham Palace for a reception with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

A chief concern in Britain is that Mr. Trump could change the course of next week’s election, intentionally or not, by sending inflammatory tweets or wading into local politics in interviews.

During his meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg, Mr. Trump indicated that he would respect Mr. Johnson’s wishes and not interfere in the impending election.

“I’ll stay out of the election,” Mr. Trump said. “I think Boris is very capable and he will do a good job.”

Hours before he and the first lady, Melania Trump, were expected at the palace, Mr. Trump also addressed a controversy engulfing the Royal family. Prince Andrew, the queen’s third child, recently spoke with the BBC about his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey A. Epstein — an interview that turned into a public relations disaster, leading to the prince stepping back from public life.

“I don’t know Prince Andrew, but that’s a tough story,” Mr. Trump said.

Steven Erlanger contributed reporting.

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U.S.-India Defense Ties Grow Closer as Shared Concerns in Asia Loom

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WASHINGTON — As Indian helicopters touched down on the deck of an American warship, the Germantown, in the Bay of Bengal this week, what was billed as a modest military simulation became the latest sign of progress in a growing great power partnership in Asia.

The United States and India on Thursday will conclude the first land, sea and air exercise in their history of military exchanges, a step forward in White House efforts to deepen defense cooperation between the two countries.

The exercise, Tiger Triumph, brought together 500 American Marines and sailors, and around 1,200 Indian soldiers, sailors and air force personnel to train side-by-side for nine days. While the official focus was to prepare for rescue operations and disaster response, it also included search-and-seizure training and live-fire drills.

The staging of the joint training completes one of the goals of a defense pact the two countries signed last year. In addition to the exercise, the agreement allows for the transfer of advanced weaponry and communications systems to India.

The only other country with which India has held similar exercises involving three branches of its armed forces is Russia. During the Cold War, India was closer to the Soviet Union than to the United States, and much of the Indian arsenal still harkens back to that era.

“You hear officials say now that the U.S. exercises more with India than any other non-NATO partner,” said Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “You would never have imagined that 20 years ago.”

The drills ending this week followed the 15th cycle of a separate training mission, the Yudh Abhyas exercise, an annual peacekeeping practice between the two countries’ armies that was held in September at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State this year, and involved close to 700 troops.

As the White House grapples with security challenges in Asia, including nuclear talks with North Korea and fears of growing Chinese technological prowess, meetings with leaders from the Asia-Pacific region have been a common sight on President Trump’s calendar. State visits with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia have both ranked among Mr. Trump’s most visible diplomatic events over the past year.

But increasingly in recent years, the Trump administration has placed its bets that India, which has historically represented a regional challenge in its own right, is quickly becoming a key player in the larger American strategy in Asia. That does not mean significant issues do not bedevil the United States-India relationship, in particular the tense standoff over Kashmir with Pakistan. Both nations have nuclear arms.

The White House has not been quiet about its view that American allies around the world have been remiss in contributing fairly to global security efforts. In India, though, it has found a partner that many officials believe is both willing and able to play a larger role.

Appearing beside Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September at a rally in Houston, Mr. Trump heralded the exercise this month as a demonstration of the “dramatic progress of our defense relationship.” Joint appearances with Mr. Modi have been a mainstay of high-level diplomacy in Mr. Trump’s first term, and the president has pursued a stronger military relationship with India even as he has disparaged or cut back on defense ties with traditional allies in Asia.

Before the Group of 20 summit over the summer, Mr. Trump questioned the value of the United States’ mutual defense treaty with Japan, a cornerstone of American defense policy in Asia put in place in 1951 after World War II. And in the months before, the Pentagon repeatedly suspended or scaled back military exercises with South Korea as Mr. Trump pursued a nuclear agreement with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

The United States and India have long shared common strategic goals and concerns about growing Chinese influence in Asia. But meaningful cooperation has often been sidetracked by points of contention, such as India’s decision to move ahead with a deal to purchase a Russian missile system known as the S-400 in violation of American sanctions. The specter of Russian weapons sales to an ally also has roiled Washington’s relationship with Turkey.

Facing what it sees as threats to the established international order from China, however, the Pentagon has become increasingly concerned about regional stability and more eager to aid in strengthening ties in the region.

After a meeting last week with Japanese leaders in Tokyo, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described security efforts in the Indo-Pacific region as a top concern. “It is the No. 1 regional priority for the United States military,” he said.

The Trump administration’s efforts to woo India are in many ways a continuation of a foreign policy pursued by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama aspired to move closer to India strategically, and succeeded measurably in areas like arms sales.

According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, exports of American weapons to India between 2013 and 2017 increased 557 percent over the previous five-year period. American arms sales to India now stand at about $18 billion.

“India is now at that level where it’s basically like a NATO partner even if there’s no alliance,” said Siemon T. Wezeman, a senior researcher at the institute.

The United States and India share concerns about China potentially using ports across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to expand its economic and political influence, as well as to add to the reach of the Chinese navy. Some analysts describe these potential dual-use ports across the Indian Ocean as Beijing’s “string of pearls.”

But while past administrations also made efforts to align more closely with India, they were typically part of a larger strategy of building out a regional defense network in Asia — one that often included India’s rivals, in particular Pakistan.

“One of the reasons why the Trump administration has been able to move forward with India relatively quickly is that it’s less concerned about alienating Pakistan,” said Daniel Kliman, the director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

To many analysts, the Trump administration’s intensive push to expand defense relations India presents an opportunity to advance operations in Asia far beyond what has been possible with the help of traditional allies alone.

“There’s recognition that what India might contribute to a broader regional balance is enormous,” Mr. Kliman said.

Edward Wong contributed reporting from Washington, and Maria Abi-Habib from Delhi.

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Trump’s Syria and Ukraine Moves Further Alienate America’s Already Wary Allies

BRUSSELS — European leaders have long understood that President Trump is an unreliable ally, subject to loud tantrums, abrupt shifts and sudden whims. They have worried about his ambivalence toward NATO, resented his personal attacks and bristled at his use of trade policy and economic sanctions to restrict their companies and markets.

Until now, Europeans have done little except complain about him. But Mr. Trump’s recent actions in Syria and Ukraine may change that.

The more optimistic now argue Mr. Trump’s betrayals in those conflicts are of a different category of seriousness, and may accelerate what has been a slowly building process of European integration and peeling away from the United States. Others are not so sure.

But there is agreement that Mr. Trump has destabilized Europe’s near neighborhood in a major, even fundamental, way that requires a unified response, if only Europeans can come together.

Mr. Trump this month pulled American troops out of Syria, forsaking the Kurds who were guarding European jihadists, and allowing Turkey to invade. Mr. Trump’s impeachment inquiry has laid bare how through the course of the year he prized politics over policy in Ukraine.

Both episodes benefited President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has been working to destabilize European democracies, chip away at Western cohesion, and on Tuesday hosted his new friend, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a NATO member.

As European leaders prepare for a meeting of NATO members in London in early December, Mr. Trump’s capriciousness is testing Europe’s ability to cohere and adjust.

“Europeans have put themselves in the position of being dependent on an undependable president,” said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

“This just exposes again how Europeans remain overly reliant on the United States,” he said, “not only to deter Russia but to protect Western interests in the Middle East. But will Europeans do anything about it?”

Mr. Trump’s sudden withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria, and the quick response of Mr. Putin, have shaken Europeans. How deeply is the question.

“This has been more grist to the mill for the need for European governments to take more responsibility for their near neighborhood,” Mr. Niblett said. “But that doesn’t mean it will get done.”

The European Parliament is preparing a resolution condemning Turkey’s offensive and urging economic sanctions, but governments are split on the matter.

While to some degree America’s allies have priced in Mr. Trump’s limitations and behavior, “this is a whole different level,” said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, “playing into all their fears about America as an unreliable ally.”

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Residents throwing vegetables at American troops. Russian and Syrian forces taking control. This is a picture of the U.S. withdrawal from northeastern Syria.CreditCreditDelil Souleiman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

So unreliable has Mr. Trump proved, in fact, that his allies would not dare call the December meeting a “summit,” NATO officials concede. It will incorporate only a reception at Buckingham Palace and a single morning session at a golf resort hotel an hour’s drive from central London.

The main reason for that, officials say, is because of Mr. Trump’s tantrum about military spending that so distorted the last NATO summit meeting in Brussels in July 2018.

There, Mr. Trump was finally calmed down when the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, told him, “We get it, Donald, we need to buy more American arms.” The French president, Emmanuel Macron, told him: “We understand, we need to spend more so you can spend less.”

Such remarks are revealing of Europe’s deepening disdain for Mr. Trump, even before his meddling in Syria and Ukraine.

“European governments have a very low regard for Trump anyway,” said Charles Grant, director of the Center for European Reform. “They know that they need to work with the United States, but it confirms to them that Trump is incapable of thinking strategically, handing victory to the Russians in Syria.”

Mr. Trump’s move in Syria was particularly neuralgic for the French. They have been vocally furious with American unreliability ever since 2013, when President Barack Obama decided to ignore his own red line and call off bombing strikes on Syria in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons — a decision passed on to Paris just as French war planes were preparing to join the United States in the strikes.

France felt abandoned then, especially after becoming more aligned with Washington under Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande and rejoining NATO’s command structure.

“But this is a whole new level of frivolousness in the way that the U.S. treats allies,” Mr. Leonard said.

Mr. Macron was particularly bitter last week about Mr. Trump’s unilateral Syria move, in a news conference after a Brussels summit meeting.

“I understood that we were together in NATO, that the U.S. and Turkey were in NATO,” Mr. Macron said. “And I found out via a tweet that the U.S. had decided to withdraw their troops.”

Asked about the seeming impotence of the European Union, he added, “I share your outrage.”

But such decisions also help those in Europe, like Mr. Macron, who are trying to make the case for more European strategic autonomy, both in defense matters but also increasingly in financial ones, as Europeans try to protect their firms from both American tariffs and secondary sanctions against Iran.

Mr. Macron is pressing for more spending on European defense, especially on French armaments, as a way for Europe to counterbalance a long-term trend of American retreat from multilateral obligations.

But whereas the European Union has mostly joined together in a common regulatory system on matters of trade and finance, it often remains a bloc of 28 foreign policies.

“Europe is split,’’ Mr. Leonard said. “There are those deeply worried about what is going on and wanting to build a Europe that can defend itself, not just in defense but to push back on the extraterritoriality of American sanctions and Trump’s weaponization of the international financial system. And there are those who think they have to suck up to Trump bilaterally, like the Poles,” who only trust the Americans to deter Russia.

“And then there are those like Germany that will follow Macron to a degree rhetorically, but when it comes down to difficult decisions about how much to spend on defense, how assertive to be on sanctions, holds back,” he said.

But the more Mr. Trump and Congress go after European national interest and leaders, threatening a trade war with Europe and insulting its leadership, the more countries are driven into the French camp.

“There are more structural developments that have shaken the way that Europeans view the United States,” said Manuel Muniz, dean of the School of Global and Public Affairs at IE University in Madrid.

He cited Mr. Trump’s questioning of NATO and collective defense; his abandonment of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal; his imposition of trade sanctions on European products like steel and aluminum; his harsh attacks on individual European leaders at various times, including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and former Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain; and the behavior of some of his ambassadors toward their host countries and institutions.

Mr. Trump’s criticism of European free-riding on defense is accurate, Mr. Muniz said, but it has also led to Europeans ceding responsibility for their own interests and fates.

But given his unreliability as an ally, “Trump will accelerate the process of European integration on defense and security,” he said.

In fact, in many corners of the world, America’s transformation from the indispensable ally to the unreliable one is now taken for granted.

“America’s unreliability as both a global leader and ally or partner is no longer in doubt — and countries are adjusting accordingly,’’ and not just in Europe, according to Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli foreign minister and now vice president of the Toledo International Center for Peace.

The Kurds and Turks quickly scrambled to make a deal with Russia, and India is also pursuing closer ties to both China and Russia. The South Koreans are seeking a form of rapprochement with the North and even Saudi Arabia is looking for better ties with Iran, he wrote in an op-ed article for Project Syndicate.

The main problem “is not just what Trump does, but how he does it,” Mr. Leonard said. It is not just Mr. Trump’s “America First” nationalism, he said. Alliances need predictability, “and Trump is so unpredictable.”

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