Cracks in the Trump-Eu­ro­pe re­la­ti­ons­hip are turning in­to a chasm

Times of Suriname - - PANORAMA -

USA - For mo­re than 70 ye­ars, the trans­at­lan­tic al­li­an­ce has ser­ved as the uns­ha­ka­ble foun­da­ti­on of Eu­ro­pean sta­bi­li­ty and un­der­pin­ned the va­lu­es of the US-led Wes­tern or­der. In 2020, it ap­pe­ars that re­la­ti­ons­hip is being rethought on both si­des of the At­lan­tic. Ear­lier this week, the Eu­ro­pean Union de­cli­ned to in­clu­de US in its list of “sa­fe coun­tries”, me­a­ning that Ame­ri­can tra­ve­lers will be un­wel­co­me in­si­de the bloc for the fo­re­see­able fu­tu­re, due to the eye­wa­te­ring US co­ro­na­vi­rus in­fec­ti­on num­bers. Con­tro­ver­si­al­ly, the list in­clu­des Chi­na - the coun­try whe­re the vi­rus ori­gi­na­ted -on the con­di­ti­on of re­ci­pro­cal ar­ran­ge­ments.

EU of­fi­ci­als in­sist that the de­ci­si­on was not po­li­ti­cal and ba­sed en­ti­re­ly on epi­de­mi­o­lo­gi­cal evi­den­ce, in the ho­pe this would pa­ci­fy US Pre­si­dent Do­nald Trump, a man who has at­tack­ed the bloc on se­ve­r­al oc­ca­si­ons. Ho­we­ver, others pri­va­te­ly con­ce­de that had Brus­sels wan­ted to ma­ke the pill mo­re pa­la­ta­ble for an Ame­ri­can au­dien­ce, they could ha­ve ad­ded a su­gar coa­ting. “In the past, I can see that we might ha­ve not in­clu­ded Chi­na in or­der to keep the US hap­py”, says an EU di­plo­mat not au­tho­ri­zed to speak on re­cord about how the de­ci­si­on was ma­de. It might seem a stretch to ta­ke this in­ci­dent as evi­den­ce of a rup­tu­re in trans­at­lan­tic re­la­ti­ons, un­til you pla­ce it in the cur­rent ge­o­po­li­ti­cal con­text. It’s no se­cret that Was­hing­ton ta­kes less of an in­te­rest in Eu­ro­pean af­fairs the­se days. And it’s well known that Eu­ro­pean na­ti­ons ac­ti­ve­ly seek gre­a­ter di­plo­ma­tic au­to­no­my from Ame­ri­ca. This is es­pe­ci­al­ly true for the 27 mem­ber sta­tes of the Eu­ro­pean Union.

One of the ways Brus­sels thinks it can dis­tan­ce itself from DC is by en­ga­ging with Chi­na as a stra­te­gic and eco­no­mic part­ner, de­cre­a­sing its re­li­an­ce on one of the world’s su­per­po­wers by ba­lan­cing its re­la­ti­ons­hip with the other. In the past few ye­ars, Brus­sels has stuck to its guns on big, in­ter­na­ti­o­nal mat­ters as Trump to­re eve­ry­thing up.

Think of the Pa­ris Cli­ma­te Ac­cord, the Iran Nu­clear deal, 5G, and you start to see a pat­tern of be­ha­vi­or in which the EU could be per­cei­ved to ha­ve si­ded with Chi­na over its ol­dest al­ly. Su­re, it might be a un­ge­nerous read of the si­tu­a­ti­on, gi­ven the deep, es­ta­blis­hed bond bet­ween Eu­ro­pe and the US, but in this con­text, any per­cei­ved friend­liness to Beijing pun­ches a very re­al brui­se.

(CNN)

Ame­ri­can tra­ve­lers will be un­wel­co­me in­si­de the EU for the fo­re­see­able fu­tu­re, due to the eye­wa­te­ring US co­ro­na­vi­rus in­fec­ti­on num­bers. (Photo:CNN)

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