Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

21 May 2018

Europe Must Confront America’s Extraterritorial Sanctions


Europe’s biggest challenge in resisting US sanctions on Iran is not legal or even geopolitical. It is psychological: European leaders act as if the US still cares about a trans-Atlantic alliance of shared interests, values, and approaches. NEW YORK – Donald Trump’s renunciation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and the reimposition of US sanctions on that country threaten global peace. Europe’s security depends on defending the agreement with Iran despite the US withdrawal. That, in turn, requires Europe, along with Russia, China, and other United Nations member states, to ensure that economic relations with Iran can develop. And that can happen only if Europe confronts, and ultimately overturns, America’s extraterritorial sanctions, which aim to deter trade and financial activities with Iran by non-US actors.

20 May 2018

RIP the Trans-Atlantic Alliance, 1945-2018


The Atlantic alliance, built to contain the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II, began to die when the Cold War ended. What kept it alive over the last three decades has been less strategic necessity than a convergence of values — the values of the liberal postwar order. Now, the senior partner of the alliance, the United States, has lost interest in those values. The alliance was already a corpse, but Donald Trump drove the last nail into its coffin when he decided this week to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump is wrong over Iran, but Europe can’t afford to divorce the US

Bruno Tertrais

In 2003 a US-led war in the Middle East fractured western unity and divided the European family. It was a trauma of historic proportions, a watershed in some ways comparable to the 1956 Suez crisis. With Donald Trump’s decision on Iran, we may be on the verge of another such moment. On the surface, things may not look as bad as they did in early 2003. At this point, US military action against Iran is a worst-case hypothesis – not a plan. No 180,000-strong force is being built up near Iranian territory. Nor are Europeans split into two camps. In this current crisis, and despite Brexit, Europeans look like they’re sticking together.

The Iran Deal Exposes Europe’s Weaknesses as a Global Power

Judah Grunstein

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Last week, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel solemnly declared that from now on Europe would have to take its destinyin its own hands. It’s hard to disagree with Merkel. But that was already true the first time she expressed the sentiment in May 2017, in the aftermath of Trump’s first visit to Europe as president. In the meantime, Europe has not done anything to fundamentally address the challenge of managing trans-Atlantic relations under Trump. As a result, a week after the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal—officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—it is becoming increasingly clear that Europe will be hard pressed to back up its outrage with actions to defend the agreement—and its interests. ...

19 May 2018

Why Trump Can Safely Ignore Europe

By Jeremy Shapiro

Europe has reacted swiftly and with great fury to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last week to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal. The problem is not simply that the Trump administration has undermined one of the signature achievements of European foreign policy but that his inherent volatility, his unpredictability, and most of all his lack of commitment to the transatlantic alliance mean that any act of U.S. disruption is now possible. Righteous indignation is the language of the day, and predictions about the death of the transatlantic alliance abound. But laments and indignation do not add up to strategy. The real question is not whether Europeans are pissed off but whether they will do anything in response to Trump’s actions. The answer is most likely no.

18 May 2018

Speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference (Ecole militaire, Paris)

Minister Parly, 
Ladies and gentlemen.

May I start by thanking France for hosting us today. France is a strong NATO Ally, contributing to our shared security and our collective defence in many different ways. You have high end capabilities. You have professional, dedicated forces. You have the resolve and the will to deploy them when needed. And also in cyber space we see France leading the way. And just the fact that France is organising this conference. The first annual conference on the Cyber Defence Pledge. Shows France’s strong commitment to our collective defence and also to the efforts to strengthening our cyber defences. And to implement the Cyber Defence Pledge.

17 May 2018

Trump’s decision to blow up the Iran deal is a massive attack on Europe

By Carl Bildt

Few ideas are as holy in President Trump’s international liturgy as the concept of national sovereignty. His National Security Strategy speaks of a “beautiful vision—a world of strong, sovereign, and independent nations,” and the Trump himself is keen to repeat some form of “sovereignty” as often as he can. Sovereignty to Trump seems to mean that the United States can do whatever it wants without taking the interests of others into account. It’s the ultimate embodiment of “America first.” In reality, other actors have the right to their sovereignty, which is what the National Security Strategy proudly proclaims.

16 May 2018

Plastics mines? Europe struggles as pollution piles up

OSLO (Reuters) - Europe has sent just over half the plastic waste it used to ship to China to other parts of Asia since Beijing’s environmental crackdown closed the world’s biggest recycling market in January. The knotty problem is what to do with the rest. Some of the surplus is piled up in places from building sites to ports, officials say, waiting for new markets to open up. Recycling closer to home is held back by the fact that the plastic is often dirty and unsorted, the same reasons China turned it away. Countries led by Malaysia and Vietnam and India imported far more of Europe’s plastic waste in early 2018 than before, European Union data show, but unless they or others take more, the only options will be to either bury or burn it.

15 May 2018

Italy could blow up Europe as we know it


As Italy’s leading vote-getters work through the weekend to hammer out a coalition deal — about time, some might add, two months after the election — the EU and Brussels establishments are in a state of heightened anxiety. A government of the 5Stars (anti-establishment, in media shorthand) and the League (far right, ditto) together, or somehow alone, is unprecedented. Never before in any of the six original EU countries, much less one of its leading powers, have parties deeply skeptical toward the EU grabbed the reins of power. If that happens, the consequences for Italy and the EU could be felt for months and years to come.

10 May 2018

Europe Has No Clue How to Handle an American Bully

If the United States tears up the Iran nuclear deal — the multilateral agreement that is currently making it impossible for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons — it will be more than just a typical Trumpian blunder or evidence of the continued influence of the hard-line wing of the Israel lobby and its Saudi and Gulf Arab counterparts. It will also be another sign of Europe’s strategic irrelevance, and its leaders’ collective inability to either stand up to the United States or alter its thinking on an issue of paramount importance.

9 May 2018

We Need a NATO for Infowar


It was Sweden that manufactured the nerve gas that nearly killed Russian double-agent Sergey Skripal in Salisbury in March. Or the Czechs. Or in fact the UK itself. Russian media deliver a dizzying range of exaggerations and falsehoods about our countries, while we usually opt for the high road of near-silence. But truth won’t prevail on its own. We need a robust defense not just of our borders but of our free and open societies: in other words, a Communications NATO for information warfare. Following last month’s chemical attack in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced reports of it as fabrications. A Russian military spokesman insisted that the UK had been involved, an allegation that Britain’s UN ambassador Karen Pierce dismissed as a “grotesque, blatant lie” and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called “demented.”

6 May 2018

Europe Is Annoyed, Not Grateful, After Trump Delays Tariffs


FRANKFURT — American allies did not bother to conceal their annoyance Tuesday with the Trump administration’s last-minute decision to delay punitive aluminum and steel tariffs by a month, in their view leaving a sword of Damocles hanging over the global economy. In Europe, the reprieve was seen not as an act of conciliation or generosity but instead as another 30 days of precarious limbo that will disrupt supply networks and undermine what has been an unusually strong period of growth.

4 May 2018

Damn, Busted


Britain’s military should be growing. It’s not.

The Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th birthday last week with a gala program at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington. No one does pomp better than the British, but the presence of the Queen’s Colour Squadron had a larger purpose: to solemnize the reformation of 617 Squadron, the famous Dambusters, now flying the stealthy F-35. Those 16 fighter jets are among the best in the world. Given how few planes the RAF has, they’d better be. As a nation, Brexit Britain is stepping out of the shadow of the EU. But as a military power, it’s stepped into the shade.

3 May 2018

China tries to enlist European allies in Trump's trade war

While Beijing is courting the European Union for support in a trade war, European officials are sounding the alarm on China's ambitions in their countries. Why it matters: If the U.S. starts closing off its market to the Chinese, Beijing needs the EU to remain neutral and stay open to business with China, but the Europeans are increasingly frustrated with China's behavior and wary of its ever-growing influence.

Germany Is Pitching For A Seat On The UN Security Council - Here's Why

by Dennis R. Schmidt, Durham University

The debate about the myth and withering of the liberal international order is in full flow. To the surprise of many, not because non-Western emerging powers such as China and India are succeeding in overturning it, but because its founders - the US and the UK - are retreating from the global stage (at least temporarily). One country that seems to be stepping up to fill their shoes is Germany. While its administrations have long shied away from taking on a leading global role, Berlin is finally realising that the shift in the global order requires a more assertive foreign policy. But given Germany’s history and culture, its ability and willingness to lead through military power is limited. It’s therefore looking for greater influence in the UN as an alternative.

2 May 2018

Move over Britain, France is America’s ‘special’ friend


Emmanuel Macron has been to Washington. He had a rollicking time with Donald Trump and delivered a speech so fine to the U.S. Congress that many Americans wished that he were president of the United States — and not just because he speaks better English. (It would be fair to say, in fact, that Macron speaks the best English of any French head of state since Napoleon III.) Macron’s American admirers are mostly Democrats, lacking decent leadership of their own. Even so, for a visiting president to have captured a notable section of the American imagination in the way Macron did is remarkable. To be sure, his charisma and charm are augmented by a contrast with President Trump. But his impact is also due to a recognition that — as president of France — he is now the face of the real “special relationship” in American foreign policy.

1 May 2018

Is a Strong France and a Weak Germany the EU’s New Normal?

Judah Grunstein
With French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel staging back-to-back visits to Washington this week, many observers have commented on the stark contrast in the two European leaders’ respective relationship with Donald Trump. But the visits also highlight an emerging intra-European dynamic: A strong France and a weak Germany at the heart of the European Union. Coverage of the two visits has been dominated by close attention to the interpersonal dynamics between each leader and Trump, and the major policy differences that both Macron and Merkel will try to bridge with the U.S. president. Through a deft blend of bluntness and charm, Macron has managed to forge a personal bond with Trump. By contrast, in her previous meetings with him, Merkel has seemed like a lightning rod for his pent-up frustrations. 

30 April 2018

L’Etat of the Union


In a rousing speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron criticized trade wars, celebrated international institutions, rejected extreme nationalism, stood up for science, expressed hopes that the United States would “one day” return to the Paris talks on climate change, and defended the Iran nuclear deal. In short, the morning after a lavish White House state dinner and reports of a blooming “bromance” between the French and American presidents, Macron took several serious jabs at the policies and beliefs of his host, Donald Trump. At times, his nearly hour-long speech resembled a modern State of the Union, with lawmakers in half the chamber—in this case, the Democratic half—rising and cheering lustily, while those in the other half clapped politely or sat on their hands.

28 April 2018

The EU should get tough on its illiberal democracies

THERE was once no brighter star in Europe. Since shaking off communism in 1989 Poland has rivalled the bounciest Asian tigers in GDP growth. It has become a vital NATO ally. But it is also on the front line of what France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, calls a “European civil war” over the rule of law. The optimism that attended the EU’s great eastward expansion in 2004 has given way, in some places, to angry, nationalist “illiberal democracy”. In Hungary, having nobbled the courts, media and public prosecutor, Viktor Orban is squeezing civil society and using state (and EU) funds to nurture oligarchs. Romania’s leaders endlessly seek to weaken anti-graft laws that might otherwise ensnare them.

27 April 2018

How China Is Buying Its Way Into Europe

By Andre Tartar, Mira Rojanasakul and Jeremy Scott Diamond
Source Link

China’s Cosco Shipping Ports Ltd., which operates around 180 container berths at ports worldwide, is purchasing a stake in Euromax Terminal Rotterdam BV. For more than a decade, Chinese political and corporate leaders have been scouring the globe with seemingly bottomless wallets in hand. From Asia to Africa, the U.S. and Latin America, the results are hard to ignore as China has asserted itself as an emerging world power. Less well known is China’s diffuse but expanding footprint in Europe. Bloomberg has crunched the numbers to compile the most comprehensive audit to date of China’s presence in Europe. It shows that China has bought or invested in assets amounting to at least $318 billion over the past 10 years. The continent saw roughly 45 percent more China-related activity than the U.S. during this period, in dollar terms, according to available data.