China Daily (Hong Kong) : 2019-01-11

VIEWS : 15 : 14

VIEWS

14 CHINA DAILY | Friday, January 11, 2019 HONG KONG EDITION VIEWS The good news is that the EU has started to wake up to act independently rather than blindly following the US as it has done for decades. For instance, the EU did not bow to US pressure to quit the Iran nuclear deal. Just like the downgrade, the US administration did not even bother to notify the EU before announcing its plan of withdrawal from the INF Treaty, a treaty with Russia that is critical to European security. The EU strongly protested the US’ unilateral and protectionist trade policies when the White House imposed punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports last year, including those from the EU, in the name of national security. As a US ally, the EU found it hard to understand how it could pose a threat to US national security. At the World Trade Organization, the EU has joined China, India and some other countries to fight the US which has been blocking the appointments of judges to the WTO’s court, known as the Appellate Body. For leaders of the EU, which faces one of the biggest crises, US President Donald Trump’s support for Brexit and his earlier remarks that the United Kingdom will be “better off ” without the EU added fuel to the fire. No wonder German Chancellor Angela Merkel said repeatedly last year that Europe cannot rely on the US to maintain the world order and protect Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron, too, is deeply upset with the US president. Shortly after Trump declared himself a nationalist, Macron said “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism” at the World War I Armistice Centennial Commemoration in Paris in November with Trump among the audience. Trump has indeed shown little regard for the EU. He has charged that the EU was established in order to take advantage of the US in trade. He has even said that “nobody treats us much worse than the EU”. A Pew Research Center survey shows that across Europe, the ratings for the US have been plummeting and anti-Americanism is on the rise. For example, only 14 percent of French people said they had confidence in Trump’s international leadership. The major disagreements between the EU and the US, however, go way back before Trump became US president. Europeans were overwhelmingly against the Iraq War launched by former US president George W. Bush. They also condemned the rampant US military drone strikes in South Asia and the Middle East under the Barack Obama administration. The good news is that the EU has started to wake up to act independently rather than blindly following the US as it has done for decades. For instance, the EU did not bow to US pressure to quit the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, it has taken countermeasures to thwart the renewed US sanctions. But the EU should do more in this regard, including rejecting the mounting US pressure in limiting high-tech cooperation with China, a huge win-win opportunity for China and the EU.

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