Merkel and Trump at the opening day of the G-20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July. REUTERS/Ian Langsdon
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Following Donald Trump's decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal this month, shaken European capitals are asking themselves what the U.S. president will do next.No longer is there an underlying confidence that Europe can muddle through three more years of Trump without fear of major, and possibly lasting, disruptions to the relationship."I don't despair of making him change his mind," Macron said in New York of Trump's stances on climate and Iran.In private however, European officials say they are worried that Trump's rejection of the Iran deal could be a harbinger of other disruptive salvos from Washington.One senior European diplomat said the next conflict would likely be over trade, describing Trump's attempt to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – and his threats to abandon it – as a "litmus test". There are also fears Trump could carry out a threat to introduce steel import tariffs, which would hit European exporters as well as the Chinese.This could fuel anti-American sentiment, making it difficult for European leaders to stand with Trump and emboldening voices that are already calling for a break from Washington – no matter how unrealistic that looks in practice.
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