The Times (London) and the German tabloid newspaper paper Bild held an English language interview with President-Elect Donald J. trump over the weekend, just a few days before he becomes Commander in Chief and chief executive of The United States. Many of his comments have stirred great concern and confusion in European capitals.

Art of the Deal

Students of business negotiations and "The Art of War" will recognize the possibility that all of Mr. Trump's seemingly strange and highly provocative statements are actually just a negotiation ploy putting opponents and friends alike off their stride and making it easier to reach an agreement favorable to your side.

Viewing the following statements in that light may give you a more comfortable feeling for the year ahead.

Russia vs Germany

When asked who he trusted more, German Chancellor Angela merkel or Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump said that at present he "trusts them both equally, for now." DW Akademie reports online that German leaders are "dismayed and bewildered" by things the President-Elect said in the weekend's interview.

NATO is obsolete

NATO was formed after WWII to counter the U.S.S.R.’s aggressive policies in Europe. Mr. Trump told The Times that it was now obsolete. The President-Elect also complained that the U.S., the UK, and four other countries were the only member countries in NATO which met their financial obligations out “of the 22 NATO members” of the European defense organization, saying the remainder weren't meeting their 2% GDP commitment to supporting the military organization.

The reporter from Bild reminded Mr. Trump there are actually 28, not 22 members of NATO. Although the President-elect calls it “obsolete,” NATO has a major role in fighting terrorism and also in training pro-Western military forces.

Of apparently small comfort to many European heads of state, Trump has also stated in the past that despite his rejection of the usefulness of NATO he is committed to the defense of Europe.

Strangely, The Independent’s website quotes Mr. Trump as also saying, NATO is very important to me." Mixed signals indeed.

Trump on EU

Mr. Trump also said he expects the EU to break up and told The Times and Bild that he blamed the massive influx of refugees for the building instability and for the Brexit vote.

On Brexit

The President-Elect said he thought the UK’s exit from the EU was a wonderful move, telling The Times, "I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing," and "The fact that your pound sterling has gone down? Great. Because business is unbelievable in a lot of parts in the UK."

Mr. Trump also said he wants to immediately build closer ties to the UK with a bi-lateral trade agreement.