U.S. President Donald Trump will get a chance to patch up trans-Atlantic ties this week when he meets with NATO allies still rattled by his failure on an earlier trip to embrace the principle that an attack against one member is an attack against all.
Trump heads to Warsaw on Wednesday where the White House said he would showcase his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a speech and in meetings with a group of nations closest to Russia on his way to the G-20 summit in Germany on Friday and Saturday.
"He will lay out a vision not only for America's future relationship with Europe, but the future of our trans-Atlantic alliance, and what that means for American security and American prosperity," Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, told reporters last week.
Aside from shoring up the U.S. relationship with NATO allies, the speech is symbolically significant given Poland's proximity to Russia and regional fears about Moscow's ambitions following its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
It was only six weeks ago when Trump, meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels, scolded them for failing to spend enough on defense during a speech in which the Republican president was expected to explicitly endorse NATO's Article 5, the collective defense provision of the treaty.
He slammed Germany for its trade practices, and shortly after returning home, pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate deal, leaving his officials to try to smooth ruffled feelings.
"They have spent a lot of their time trying to undo or explain away some of the images and the mood that came out of the last trip to Europe," said Derek Chollet, a top defense official for former Democratic President Barack Obama.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the host of the Group of 20 meeting of leading economies, has signaled she will not back down on climate and trade.