U.S. couldn’t care less about EU: Will Europe learn the lesson?

September 17, 2021 - 21:33

TEHRAN — “Through AUKUS, our governments will strengthen the ability of each to support our security and defense interests, building on our longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties. We will promote deeper information and technology sharing. We will foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains. And in particular, we will significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defense capabilities.

As the first initiative under AUKUS, recognizing our common tradition as maritime democracies, we commit to a shared ambition to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. Today, we embark on a trilateral effort of 18 months to seek an optimal pathway to deliver this capability. We will leverage expertise from the United States and the United Kingdom, building on the two countries’ submarine programs to bring an Australian capability into service at the earliest achievable date.

The development of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines would be a joint endeavor between the three nations, with a focus on interoperability, commonality, and mutual benefit. Australia is committed to adhering to the highest standards for safeguards, transparency, verification, and accountancy measures to ensure the non-proliferation, safety, and security of nuclear material and technology. Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Our three nations are deeply committed to upholding our leadership on global non-proliferation.”

The first three paragraphs came from the joint leaders statement on AUKUS (Australia, UK, and U.S.) partnership to provide Canberra with nuclear-propulsion technology for submarines, according to the White House website on Wednesday. 

China’s President, Xi Jinping, has vowed to resist “interference from external forces” as Taiwan welcomed support from major allies after a U.S.-Australia ministerial forum pledged stronger ties with the island and the European parliament called for a bilateral trade deal.

Speaking at a meeting of the heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan via video link, Xi urged members of the group to “absolutely resist external forces to interfere [in] countries in our region at any excuse, and hold the future of our countries’ development and progress firmly in our own hands.”

Lloyd Austin, U.S. Defense Secretary, said on Friday, “While we seek a constructive results-oriented relationship with [China], we will remain clear-eyed in our view of Beijing’s efforts to undermine the established international order.”

The U.S. has made it clear that the Biden administration has decided to secure positions with Australia in the face of China. 

Taiwan's government welcomed the show of support from Washington and Canberra.

"Our country's government will, on the existing solid foundation, continue to work closely with the United States, Australia and other like-minded countries to expand Taiwan's international space, defend the democratic system and shared values," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou.

However, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said the three partners are engaging in an “obsolete cold war zero-sum mentality.”
What is now clear is that the Biden administration is following the path of Donald Trump, even in a stricter approach. Having an Angelo-Saxon pact, without informing the

European Union about it outraged European countries. France took the strongest reaction against the pact, calling it “a stab in the back.” 

France's foreign minister expressed "total incomprehension" at the recent move, while the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell complained that Europe had not been consulted.
France will lose a nearly $100 billion deal to build diesel submarines for Australia under the terms of the initiative, which will see the U.S. and Britain help Canberra construct nuclear-powered ones.

Let’s have a flashback at a time, when a disappointed Borrell screamed for “strategic autonomy” of the EU. A term that essentially means the EU must let go of its longtime friend, the United States. 

This is what Iran has repeatedly called for since the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, and during six rounds of intense negotiations. Iran repeatedly stated that the EU must act independently and stick to its commitments to the JCPOA, something that was neglected by the Europeans. They blindly followed the U.S., and now, they feel betrayed. 

The Biden administration, according to many political analysts, is following the Trumpian foreign policy in a stricter way. 

“Throughout his election campaign, Biden argued that Trump’s withdrawal from that agreement had been a cardinal error and that, as president, he would rejoin it as long as Iran would also move into compliance,” Fareed Zakaria wrote in The Washington Post on Friday. 

He continued, “As with Iran, the cost of these policies has been paid by ordinary people. One of the cruelest aspects of America’s sanctions policy is that it is so readily deployed because it satisfies special interest groups in Washington and is painless to Americans, but inflicts horrific damage on the poorest and most powerless — millions of ordinary Cubans and Iranians — who have no way to protest or respond.

Obama began to relax these policies toward Cuba. Trump reversed course. Biden has kept in place the Trump policy and actually tightened sanctions.”

The AUKUS pact has worried the countries on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf as well. They thought that if the U.S. can ditch a partner like EU that easily, why not do the same with the UAE and Saudi Arabia? Bin Zayed’s trips to France and the UK show that the UAE is extremely worried of losing the U.S. as an ally, and seeks to partner with the EU instead.

However, the question remains: Will Europe learn the lesson of not relying on the U.S.?

SA/PA
 

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