The Munich Security Conference is where the Atlantic Alliance "likes to show its best face to the world", says the Financial Times. So the "very public bust-up" between Donald Trump's administration and European allies showed how badly bonds have "frayed".
A combative Angela Merkel was "blunt" about US unilateralism, Washington's efforts to isolate Iran, the US withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan, and Trump's protectionist policies. For his part, Vice-President Mike Pence didn't "waver" from the America First policy, castigating Europeans for not withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and instructing them to bar China's Huawei from the 5G market.
The "most immediate danger" of this rift is that it is exploited by Russia and China, say Steven Erlanger and Katrin Bennhold in The New York Times. In a show of solidarity, more than 50 US lawmakers a record number attended the conference.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
However, a growing number of Europeans warn that geopolitical forces run deeper than a temporary Trump presidency and believe Europe needs to become less reliant on the US. Ideally, Europe should be able to stand up for itself, agrees Leonid Bershidsky on Bloomberg, but it remains a "long way" from economic and military independence.
In this context, Merkel's unilateral decision to press ahead with Nordstream 2 is worrying, says The Economist. Putin's new gas pipeline will make gas cheaper for German consumers, but it could make Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states less secure (it will bypass Ukraine and Poland, depriving them of transit fees and allowing Russia to cut off their gas without affecting Germany).
It also gives Russia a bigger stick with which to threaten Europe and drives a deeper wedge between Europe and the US, which has long-opposed the pipeline. To Putin, "causing so much trouble for a mere $11bn must seem like a bargain. For Europe, it is a trap."
Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career.
On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.
SIPP holders to get cash warnings and be offered default funds
News Providers will be required to offer investors a default fund and must warn customers of the inflationary risk of cash savings the regulator has said. What the new rules mean for your retirement pot?
By Marc Shoffman Published
Zoopla: Asking price discounts hit a five-year high – is now the time to buy a property?
News Zoopla’s October House Price Index shows sellers are accepting discounts of 5.5% on average to secure a sale – we reveal where homeowners are taking the biggest asking price cuts
By Marc Shoffman Published