Where do the Threats End? EU Baffled by American Bullying on Iran, Trade and Diplomacy
Amid these crazy developments, it's interesting to see what will happen to Europe. Given its current position, Europe, in fact, doesn't have any good options. The European Union is fighting on two fronts — with Russia in the east and now the USA in the west. Unwillingly. Of course, Merkel keeps repeating that Europe should stand on its own feet, but it is still murky. If they got on well with Russia, their natural ally in all respects, then, Washington would treat European leaders differently.
So far, Trump's only gesture of attention that Macron received was that bit of «tactile diplomacy,» in which the American brushed some dandruff off the Frenchman's shoulder, and then, not so subtly, told everyone about it. Macron preferred to laugh off Trump's avuncular grooming as he hoped for something more.
Having asked Trump humbly not to quit the nuclear deal, Macron drew a blank. The French president started singing a different tune. Here's his comment on the American ultimatum to Europe demanding that it join anti-Iranian sanctions to the detriment of their own economy.
Emmanuel Macron: «Do we accept the power of others, or even tyranny over ourselves? Who has the right to decide for us in trade? Are they not the same people who threatened us because the rules didn't suit them anymore? We chose to build peace in the Middle East, while other powers do not keep their word. Should we give in to policies that make things worse?»
We can understand Macron. Top French companies — Airbus, Total, Renault, Peugeot — had invested a lot in Iran since sanctions were lifted. Well, what now? Will it go down the drain because of someone's stupid hardheadedness? Why? In Germany, these are such industrial giants as Volkswagen and Siemens. By the way, the EU imports huge amounts of oil from Iran. Should it now refuse it upon US request? Oil prices have soared from $60 to $78 since February. What's next? Add aluminum prices that soared by 20% thanks to Trump, and threats to increase import tariffs to effectively block car exports from Europe. Where does it stop?
Mindful of the bitterness of the situation, German Chancellor Merkel admits.
Angela Merkel: «EU joint foreign policy is in an infantile state. For our existence, it's vital that we make progress in this area, since the nature of conflicts has changed dramatically since the Cold War».
These words are very significant; they are an admission that the EU is stuck in Cold War-era thinking despite the fact that today's conflicts have changed, and the recognition that there is actually no EU foreign policy. The only joint venture that the European Union has are the sanctions against Russia. But Merkel herself calls such behavior infantile, that is capricious and unreasonable. Can her words be interpreted differently? What behavior and foreign policy of the EU can be called mature today?
In my opinion, an answer has been given by the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
Jean-Claude Juncker: «We must learn to talk with the Russian side on an equal footing. We Europeans sometimes think that we are the boss of the world. We forget that we are part of the universe, we suffer economic and demographic losses. We must indeed listen to the rest of the world».
This was said back in late April. And here's what Juncker said on Friday in Brussels: «At this point, we have to replace the United States, which has lost vigor as an international actor, and because of it, in the long term, influence.»
OK, but how can the EU, which is losing ground globally, replace the United States without a broad, trust-based, sincere interaction with Russia?