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4/15/17

EU must say no to participating in any further costly US military adventures : war=destruction=refugees=terrorism

EU It's high time to stop these disastrous wars
Previously completely opposed to any U.S. action against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Trump ordered a cruise-missile attack on a Syrian airfield—and then the next week criticized President Obama in a Fox Business interview for following the very advice that citizen Trump had pressed since 2013. Might the president yet reverse himself on the European Union too?

As new advisers replace the former Breitbart crew, President Trump might dial back the expression of hostility to the EU. European leaders can never again be certain, however, what might happen if those new advisers are in turn replaced. America has been immeasurably strengthened by its allies’ trust. Even as Trump’s aggressive words fade into reassuring conventionality, those allies will not soon forget their accumulated and well-grounded reasons for mistrust.

Within weeks of his inauguration, President Donald Trump had already wrought a strategic revolution in U.S. foreign policy. Russia, formerly an antagonist, has been promoted to preferred partner. In its place, Team Trump has identified a new enemy. With this enemy there can be no coexistence, no cooperation. It must be humbled and divided, not merely defeated but utterly overthrown. This enemy is the European Union.

Meanwhile, Trump has offered sharp personal comments on Chancellor Angela Merkel. One of his top advisers has called for Germany to flout the EU and negotiate bilaterally with the U.S. so as to reduce German trade surpluses. In a meeting with Merkel, Trump also called for direct negotiations, and suggested that Germany had outmaneuvered the U.S. On bad days, the U.S.–German relationship looks more strained than at any time since the end of the Cold War, including during the Iraq War. The Trump administration seems determined only to widen the breach.

Of course, it's easy to spot signs of disarray. Modern Europe is messy, and its institutions and policies are imperfect. Some of the threats facing the EU are real: slow growth and austerity, for instance, within the eurozone. Others, like rising right-wing nationalism and migration, are less so.

Yet amid all the hyperbole and hysteria, a basic point gets missed. Europe today is a genuine superpower and will likely remain one for decades to come. By most objective measures, it either rivals or surpasses the United States and China in its ability to project a full spectrum of global military, economic, and soft power. Europe consistently deploys military troops within and beyond its immediate neighborhood. It manipulates economic power with a skill and success unmatched by any other country or region. And its ability to employ "soft power" to persuade other countries to change their behavior is unique.

If a superpower is a political entity that can consistently project military, economic, and soft power transcontinentally with a reasonable chance of success, Europe surely qualifies. Its power, moreover, is likely to remain entrenched for at least another generation, regardless of the outcome of current European crises. In sum, Europe is the "invisible superpower" in contemporary world politics. Here's why.

Before turning to Europe's specific military, economic, and soft power assets, let's dismiss the nearly universal belief that Europe is too decentralized to act as a superpower. Europe is not a sovereign state. Yet in practice, it generally acts as a single force in world politics.

We ignore European unity at our peril. Most observers analyze Europe as 28 separate countries - even though doing so generates geopolitical nonsense. To see why, consider one recent example: Russia's foreign-policy options after its invasion of Ukraine triggered Western sanctions. Many predicted that China's rising economic weight meant the Kremlin would surely turn to Beijing.

In July 2015, leading newspapers across Eurasia ran the same story (originally from Agence France-Presse) reporting that "China has emerged as Russia's largest trading partner as Moscow turns east, seeking markets in Asia in the face of Western sanctions."

Treating Europe as disunited was geopolitically naive. Even though EU law imposes no legal obligation to implement sanctions, Europe acted - and paid more than 90 percent of the costs of the Western policy response to Russia. European power and unity are the glue that has held together this Western policy for the past two years. This despite all the nonsense the US Trump Administration has been declaring.

This is only one example of how, despite its fragmentation, Europe effectively projects power in those areas that count most for global influence. Certainly, European governments often disagree among themselves, sometimes vociferously and in public. Yet policy coordination, both formal and informal, permits European governments to act as a unit to influence the outside world.

Three modes of European coordination are critical: common EU policies, coordination, and tacit policy convergence.

For these reasons,the US should recognize Europe as a single superpower in projecting military, economic, or soft power - whether or not it acts formally as one.

As for the EU to avoid getting dragged into any more US failed military adventures, it is critical that all the EU participating nation,  as one unit, issue an ultimatum to the US, Russia and Syria to cease all military operations in the Middle East and immediately start bi-lateral negotiation  within a period of 90 days.

Bottom-line : war=destruction=refugees=terrorism. More military involvement will only increase these problems as they have always done.

EU-Digest

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