So Europe’s first great love affair of the 21st century is over. Knowing that it could only last eight years kept almost every one of them special. Barack Obama’s approval ratings in France and Germany approach 90%. Almost every trip across the Atlantic turned into a memory to be treasured, except perhaps for the Poles, some of whom resent being reminded that Nato is an institution intended to preserve European democracy against internal as well as external threat. Even in the UK last summer, after that ill-judged appearance with David Cameron at the Foreign Office, when the president warned that a post-Brexit Britain would go to the back of the trade deal queue, nearly 80% of Britons still loved him.
Now his memory will be flattered, it seems, by the arrival of Donald Trump, with his questionable relationship with Vladimir Putin, his dodgy business record, and today’s astonishing allegations that Russia has evidence that is personally compromising to him.
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