The Europeans misunderstood Biden and misjudged Johnson – a bad combination.
The call of an ambassador: in this way an attempt was made to react to a strategic change occurred in the twenty-first century as part of a diplomacy still based on nineteenth-century canons. Snorting and grumbling are useless. But France is right on a specific point: the triple military pact called Aukus, between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, to produce nuclear-powered submarines, will have profound repercussions on NATO. NATO will not be dismantled, but it will play a more peripheral role in the future. From World War II until the last decade, American foreign and security policy remained centered on Europe and the Middle East. Under Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden it moved to the Indo-Pacific region.
Hence the question: why was the UK involved in this change, and not France? The US considers France and the European Union unreliable due to their special relationship with China. In fact, Germany and France promoted the overall investment agreement just before Biden’s entry into the White House. Germany has a large export surplus to China, and wants to protect it. Armin Laschet and Olaf Scholz are both in favor of expanding bilateral relations with Beijing. Europe also left an open door for Huawei for its 5G networks. Only the UK has been able to sever all ties. The Chinese ambassador to the UK reacted with a tantrum. His colleagues in Paris and Berlin, on the other hand, have not raised their voices. I assume they received the necessary reassurance through confidential channels.
The UK clearly represents the minority shareholder in the Aukus pact, however, it remains the only European country on which the United States feels it can rely to protect its strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific. For the French, however, the central issue is not the UK itself, but its participation, which adds insult to injury. It was a real scam.
If the United Kingdom was still a member of the European Union, his involvement in the new pact could have been hypothesized in theory, but certainly not in practice. From the British perspective, Brexit has allowed the country to resort to strategic options hitherto unimaginable. The UK also participates in the surveillance alliance Five Eyes (five eyes), in which the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand collaborate.
The British strategic realignment was not inevitable, but it is the outcome, to a large extent, of the way in which the European Union has conducted Brexit negotiations. The European leadership has never missed an opportunity to criticize and condemn Brexit. Donald Tusk, the former president of the European Council, only acknowledged the results of the second referendum campaign held in the UK. The European Union could have supported British parliamentarians seeking compromise, such as Kenneth Clarke and Stephen Kinnock, but it did not.
The second mistake, perhaps even worse than the first, was that of forcibly imposing the Union regulatory system on the United Kingdom, as a price to pay in exchange for the free trade agreement. At no time did the European Union ever consider what strategic relationship it should have favored with the UK after Brexit. The European anger unleashed by Brexit has hampered any decision-making process dictated by reasoning.
The stratospheric cost of this stupidity is slowly coming to the surface. The UK will not dump mountains of cheap goods into the EU, as France feared. The British strategy is much smarter and aims to gradually break away from the European security policy. It will also disengage from the GDPR, the general regulation on data protection, and from the financial system. The UK is investing heavily in artificial intelligence, far more than any other EU member state. He is a member of the UN Security Council and the G7. Where exactly was the European Union headed at that moment?
And no, Biden will not lift a finger in favor of the EU in the current impasse over Northern Ireland. All European leaders have always underestimated Boris Johnson, and overestimated Joe Biden: a bad match.
European diplomacy acts under the pressure of emotions and behind a very superficial understanding of US as well as British politics. Why did the EU stake everything, and so blatantly, in favor of regime change in Washington last year? Donald Trump was coarse and braggart, but everything he did against the EU, aside from hurling insults, was limited to the imposition of tariffs. Europe has never experienced anything quite as hostile as the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the Aukus Pact. And everything had already been foreseen.
The next hitch with Washington, also widely predictable, will be on nuclear sharing. The Greens and the left, likely members of the next German coalition, want to get out of the American nuclear umbrella. The SPD limits itself to a facade membership of NATO, but opposes the recently set 2 percent military spending target.
Over time, I imagine that NATO will experience a gradual decline and transatlantic relations will weaken. Europe speaks of strategic autonomy, but it underestimates the scope, and above all the nature of the task that awaits it. Strategic autonomy presupposes federal political union, with a federal foreign policy and a European defensive force, both independent of the member states. To finance it, such a federal union requires targeted taxation and debt issuance powers. The inevitable British strategic realignment makes this task even more difficult, as the UK played a crucial role in European security, a role that Germany is not at all willing to take on.
The adult version of strategic autonomy is a very difficult undertaking, for which the EU is by no means prepared. The collective failure to correctly interpret Biden’s foreign policy and the need for an alliance with the UK tell us clearly that the company will have no hope of success.
September 21, 2021 (change September 21, 2021 | 15:53)
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