Europe’s bruises need more than Pom­peo’s sweet woo­ing

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL -

In a speech in Brus­sels on Tues­day, US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo ar­gued that Don­ald Trump’s for­eign pol­icy would make a se­ries of ex­ist­ing post­war in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions – in­clud­ing the EU, UN, World Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund – func­tion bet­ter.

In Pom­peo’s words, Wash­ing­ton is build­ing “a new lib­eral or­der” to fight cyn­i­cal abuses by Rus­sia, China and Iran. He jus­ti­fied the with­drawal from mul­ti­ple in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions and vi­o­la­tions of in­ter­na­tional rules by the United States in the last two years with his the­ory of “new or­der” and claimed that Euro­pean coun­tries’ ac­cu­sa­tions against Wash­ing­ton are “plain wrong.”

No ma­jor coun­try will prob­a­bly sup­port Pom­peo’s speech, in­clud­ing the US’ Euro­pean al­lies, most of which are EU mem­bers. Pom­peo ques­tioned the value of the EU, sug­gest­ing that Brus­sels bu­reau­crats place their in­ter­ests above their coun­tries and cit­i­zens. His words will hurt the feel­ings of many EU elites.

The US has with­drawn from the Paris Climate Agree­ment and the Ira­nian nu­clear deal to which the EU has greatly contributed, and the US has threat­ened to aban­don the In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nu­clear Forces (INF) treaty. Not only that, Wash­ing­ton is now plan­ning to im­pose tar­iffs on Euro­pean cars. Since Wash­ing­ton has been so mean to Europe, it is im­pos­si­ble for Euro­peans to change their views about the US by lis­ten­ing to a few sym­pa­thetic words of Pom­peo.

Wash­ing­ton can­not af­ford this lofty am­bi­tions. The coun­try needs fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments as well as the firm sup­port of a num­ber of al­lies to build “a new lib­eral or­der.” At least the other ma­jor pow­ers have to show no ob­jec­tion. Nev­er­the­less the US seems to be un­able to meet th­ese con­di­tions.

The strat­egy of the US is re­duc­ing rather than in­creas­ing cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in in­ter­na­tional pub­lic goods. In par­tic­u­lar, Wash­ing­ton has shown a strong will­ing­ness to seize more from the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket through var­i­ous means. This self­ish­ness of the US has led to un- prece­dented alien­ation of its al­lies, bring­ing about the most iso­lated re­la­tion­ship be­tween two sides of the At­lantic since World War II.

It will be con­sid­er­ably dif­fi­cult for Wash­ing­ton to build a new in­ter­na­tional or­der which si­mul­ta­ne­ously harms China, Rus­sia and Iran. In the ini­tial pe­riod of build­ing or­der and re­con­struc­tion af­ter WWII, the vic­to­ri­ous al­lies had largely the same at­ti­tude to­ward the is­sue.

In fact, the US has be­come the big­gest de­stroyer to the world or­der in re­cent years. As one of the most im­por­tant al­lies, Europe has suf­fered the most from US moves. What Pom­peo said in Brus­sels on Tues­day may not nec­es­sar­ily be the US dec­la­ra­tion of build­ing a new or­der, but more likely an at­tempt to woo Europe and ease the tense re­la­tion­ship with Euro­pean coun­tries.

If Wash­ing­ton truly walks on a path Pom­peo de­scribed, its jour­ney is des­tined to be an ex­haust­ing one and will end up badly.

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