- Biden has shown that rather than leading a renewed Western alliance with Berlin, Paris and Brussels, he prefers to lead regional alliances that protect American interests.
- Asian partners are more willing to cooperate with America in its conflict with China than its partners in the European Union, who do not want to confront Beijing
- EU representatives strongly criticized Biden, but EU leaders refrained from accusing Biden’s policy
- The European Union claims that it takes its interests in the Indo-Pacific seriously, but without the help of the United States, it will not even be able to bring them closer to home, that is, in a clash with Russia, the authors write
- EU diplomacy chief: The United States has made clear its desire to withdraw and stop continuing to wage wars for someone else, and we Europeans must take that into account.
After Donald Trump was defeated, Biden was hailed by many Europeans as a hero – a calm, calm boy who chased the screaming bully off the field.
EU leaders had been expecting Biden, who once posed for pictures during his countless visits abroad and who regularly attends the annual Munich Security Conference. Transatlantic Biden. European Biden. Biden is a multilateralist.
When Biden announced “America’s comeback” at the extraordinary virtual Munich Security Conference held to celebrate his presidency, European leaders did not think he meant to return to the arrogant sense of exclusivity that has often defined Washington’s approach to the Union and NATO.
And on Friday, Biden, at the end of his first week at the United Nations General Assembly as president, brought together the leaders of the so-called Quads – Australia, India, Japan and the USA.
By showing his activism in Asia and excluding Europeans, Biden made it clearRather than leading a renewed Western alliance with Berlin, Paris and Brussels as key partners, it intends to lead smaller regional alliances focused on American interests.
“The Quartet Summit is an opportunity to reorient ourselves and the world towards the Indo-Pacific and our vision of what we hope to achieve,” the group leaders said in a declaration.
The announcement also included the following sentence: “We also welcome the EU’s Indo-Pacific Cooperation Strategy for September 2021.” However, it was clear that the EU countries are sitting with a “redirected” audience, and not around the table to carry out these activities.
Who wants a confrontation with China?
On technology, for example, the United States’ Quartet partners have proven more inclined to support Washington’s position on China—specifically on issues where the United States has struggled to convince European partners of its position. India banned Chinese TikTok and WeChat and other apps this year, and Australia and Japan have proven close allies of Washington in the fight against Chinese giant Huawei and the country’s other giants in recent years.
Quad is pushing Washington’s plan to build a global technology supply chain with like-minded democracies – and without China’s participation – as European capitals resist this anti-Chinese strategy, lest it damage economic ties with Beijing and exacerbate US rivalry. technology field.
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Not good for the west
At Friday’s news conference, summarizing his actions during the week at a senior level at the United Nations, Josep Borrell, the union’s foreign policy chief, began as much as he spent his visit dealing with the fallout from Biden’s unexpected announcement of a new one. Indo-Pacific strategic alliance with Great Britain and Australia. The alliance also includes canceling Australia’s massive contract to buy French-made submarines.
“Before I came here, on the same day that I presented the European Union’s Indo-Pacific strategy, and on the same day and at the same time, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom presented their Indo-Pacific defense alliance,” Borrell said. – It is certainly not just about the submarine agreement. It has broader implications for our relations with the United States.
The lack of communication and confrontation between close partners caused real difficulties. He added that this is not a bad picture of coordination between powerful allies and it is not good for the West.
Referring to a phone conversation between Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron to proceed to de-escalate the controversy, Borrell said, “This process did not go well, and it could have been better implemented. Both sides agreed that it would be useful if there had been previous consultations.” .
Macron made some gains in this conversation, as he secured what appears to be Biden’s support for the Union to build his stronger military capabilities. However, this entire episode only underscored the ingrained feeling among European leaders that Biden would not be the president or partner they had hoped for.
On Friday, European Council President Charles Michel, who accused Biden of disloyalty and transparency at a news conference in New York earlier this week, delivered a formal address to the United Nations General Assembly, worded to emphasize the need for a strategy. Union independence, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.
– He said that the European Union and its member states are among the world’s major economic powers. We have values that we must promote, citizens that we must protect and interests that we must defend. It is in this spirit that we are developing the strategic independence of the European Union, as well as in terms of our security and defense capabilities. to be less dependent. To enhance our positive impact. And to strengthen our Atlantic alliance that is rooted in our democratic values and is an unshakable pillar of our security and stability in the world. Stronger allies create a stronger alliance based on transparency and loyalty.
English speaking allies
Many EU officials and diplomats attribute recent diplomatic disagreements over the Indo-Pacific region to Washington and Biden’s obsessive focus on China, as well as the White House’s willingness to begin rebuilding its international reputation after its hasty and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Europeans acknowledge that in order to make the presence of the United States tangible as soon as possible, it is natural for the White House to first turn to the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
In his speech on Friday, Michel emphasized the EU’s interest in the Indo-Pacific region: – The EU is a leading investor in the Indo-Pacific region and one of the largest trading partners: 40% of our trade passes through this region. We decided to significantly enhance our cooperation in this region.
He went on to say that the European Union will do everything in its power to pressure China to respect international law and respect human rights.
“The safety and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean must be guaranteed in accordance with international law,” Michel said. The European Union will bear full responsibility in this regard.
It remains to be seen whether the European Union can be a truly independent power in the Indo-Pacific region or even closer to home. Many EU countries believe that Europe is still unable to defend itself, especially against a military power like Russia, without the help of the United States.
Already, some EU leaders, including Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, have suggested that the Indo-Pacific debate has been exaggerated and that the entire EU should not be dragged into France’s discontent over the loss of a submarine contract to Australia.
Asked if she understood France’s frustration with Washington, Frederiksen told Danish news site Politiken: “No, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand it at all,” adding that she considered Biden “very loyal.”
Europe does not look at the Pacific Ocean
In her address to the General Assembly on Friday, Frederiksen did not mention security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. The same is true for nearly all of the 10 European Union leaders who spoke on Friday.
Some have focused on national or regional issues, such as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has sharply criticized Turkey for its provocations in the Mediterranean. Others rose to a higher level, such as the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, who advocated world peace.
“Despite calls for a global ceasefire that would allow us to focus all our energies on global emergencies, pandemics and climate, as well as on the full realization of human rights, conflicts continue,” Bettel said. It is the result of tensions between states and within societies that reflect a deep crisis of confidence.
In addition to the old difficulties between Brussels and the White House, there are still new challenges for national governments to determine, for example, who they face in the European Union. Added to this is the continued absence of the US ambassador due to the delay in the Senate’s approval of Biden’s nominee, Mark Gittenstein. (Dennis Campbell-Bauer, whom Biden nominated as ambassador to France, is also awaiting Senate approval.)
After Biden spoke with Macron, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to Commission President Bjorn Seibert, Ursula von der Leyen, and Michel’s chief of staff, Frederic Bernard, traveled from New York to Washington to meet Sullivan in person.
Neither Seibert nor Bernard are direct equivalents of Sullivan, but due to the limited security and defense infrastructure of the European Union, there is no truly direct analogue.
Some EU officials said they hope France can use Biden’s support for a stronger and more independent military position in the EU to help persuade some EU countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, that have long opposed so-called “strategic autonomy” motivated by the fear. It would undermine NATO and impair US involvement.
It is unclear to what extent Biden intends to support European strategic sovereignty. At best, Biden appears to have put no obstacles in the way, but it is unclear whether he will actively promote Macron’s goals.
Meanwhile, Biden’s remarks in February this year. Many Europeans’ ears now seem rather empty. – It all comes into this. Biden said at the time that the partnership between Europe and the United States is a cornerstone and should remain the cornerstone of everything we hope to achieve in the twenty-first century, as it is in the twentieth century.
However, this partnership appears to be more of a pebble dug out of habit along the way than the basis for anything else.
“Let me dispel any remaining doubts,” he said. The United States will work closely with our European Union partners in the continent’s capitals, from Rome to Riga, to address the set of common challenges we face.
In his press conference summarizing the week at the United Nations, Borrell said he has seen the world turbulent, shaken by a pandemic, and more chaotic and disorganized from his conversations than at any time in his long career in diplomacy.
Borrell said Europe no longer expects America to take the lead.
“The United States has made clear through President Biden, as well as President Trump and President Obama, its desire to withdraw and stop waging all other peoples’ wars,” he said.
– We Europeans must take that into consideration. “We want to be a geopolitical entity,” Borrell said. Our strength can only come from our unity, because each member of the European Union alone does not have the capacity, the dimension and the strength to truly influence this new world. However, we have it together.
Editing: Mishaw Bronatowski
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