Mike Pence to kick off Europe tour to clarify Trump's foreign policy

Cheryl Sanders
February 17, 2017

Making his debut on the world stage, Vice-President Mike Pence will seek to reassure skeptical allies in Europe about US foreign policy under President Donald Trump, who has made his "America First" mantra a centerpiece of his new administration.

"I was hoping you could tell me what the fuck is going on over there", said one anonymous official to Prothero, who wrote that allies who have worked with the U.S.in the past are at a loss as to how to proceed in the face of the Trump administration's close ties to Russia, NATO's foremost rival.

Pence would attend the Munich Security Conference opening later today, wherein he is expected to meet several world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will meet with Pence when he visits Brussels on Monday.

President Trump has sent mixed signals that confused numerous European allies and are looking for clarity into what the stand of the U.S.in the region is.

Everybody but Vladimir Putin.

European countries along Russia's border were rattled about deeper U.S.

The Trump administration's secretive and slapdash approach to crafting policy and its conflicting and contradictory messaging has left many European observers unsure what the new president's actual views on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are.

Asked about those comments during an October 9 presidential debate, Trump undercut Pence: "He and I haven't spoken, and I disagree", he said.

At a surprise news conference on Thursday, Trump said that he didn't believe any of his associates had been involved with Russian Federation during the campaign and that the stories linking him to the Kremlin are "a ruse" and "fake news". He based his claims on a conversation he had with Flynn.

Flynn's resignation this week over calls he made to Russia's ambassador and the lies he told to cover his tracks removed a major Russian influence from the Trump cabinet, but the officials with whom Prothero spoke were not entirely reassured.

While Trump was briefed on the discrepancy in Flynn's statements in mid-January, Pence's spokesman, Marc Lotter, said the vice president learned about it from media reports on February 9.

A diplomat from a eurozone country told BuzzFeed News that Flynn's resignation was welcome, and added that they expected the new USA administration to face many problems and challenges as it navigates its stances on rivals like Russian Federation and China, and allies like the United Kingdom and Germany. Several of those candidates have sought to link themselves to Trump, who has praised the Brexit vote and formed a bond with former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage. "When they think about Flynn talking to the Russians, they have that in the back of their minds".

Conference organizer Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the United States, said that other issues - Trump's backing for Britain's decision to leave the European Union, his perceived closeness to Russian Federation as well as his inaugural promise to put "America first" - also have raised "an unbelievable number of question marks". "But more importantly, they'll be looking for constancy and for affirmation and action by the president of the United States".

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