“‘It all shows just how out of touch Trump is with allies,’ said Julianne Smith, a former Obama official now with the German Marshall Fund in Washington. ‘This is a man isolated at home and abroad. He is trying to find friends in other places, knowing that relations with traditional allies are bad. But there are serious strains even with the authoritarians he admires, like Xi Jinping and even Putin.’
“Mr. Trump ‘continues to believe allies can be abused and mistreated and that he can order them around and at the same time count on them,’ Ms. Smith said. ‘He doesn’t understand that while the U.S. is powerful, it doesn’t always call the shots.’
“Ms. Merkel’s refusal to come to Washington ‘says a lot about how fed up multiple leaders are around the world, who have seen how little return they’ve gotten on the investments they made into a relationship with Trump,’ she said.
“With the virus and the riots, she added, ‘now there is a sense of America’s weaknesses being exposed, and a feeling that the emperor has no clothes…'”