Berlin -- Western Europe is looking to save itself from a rogue U.S. president who seems bent on disrupting if not destroying the defense and economic alliances that have served our common interests so well since World War II.
European leadership in this crisis must come from the German government in Berlin.
Germany could do as Gaullist France did in 1966: assert itself by removing U.S. troops from the country. Or Germany could embark on a trade war. But these options only weaken all parties and make the alliances even more vulnerable.
A move that would make Western Europe's point and actually strenghten all the parties in our alliances would be for Germany quickly to fulfill its pledge to increase its defense spending to 2% of GDP. Currently it is at about 1.3%.
But the increased spending would not be for conventional NATO purposes; it would be for increased cybersecurity, to fend off hacking and social media threats from both the east (Putin) and the west (Trump).
In addition to increasing spending for security measures along an east-west axis, Germany should also be prepared to spend more to defend itself and Western Europe along a north-south axis. This will require investments and new defense and economic alliances with the countries of North Africa, to stem the flow of dispossessed peoples into Europe.
Such bold moves by Germany would make an indelible impression around the world. They would be welcomed by its Western European partners and by many if not most Americans, who likewise are troubled by the crisis needlessly fomented by our own president.