Joe Biden disappointed Europe. Former French ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud was one of the first to speak openly about this: “What we see is a long-term movement on the American side. Obama was not worried about Europe. Trump was hostile to Europe. Now Biden. Biden is one big disappointment for all of Europe.”
The diplomat complains that the current American administration has no interest in matters in the Old World. The European Commission sent Biden’s team a long list of issues that could be worked together on: cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, taxes in the field of high technologies, but there is still no answer. “No initiative. Not a single statement that Europe and the Americans will work together on this or that. The Americans have switched to China. Their foreign policy is China, China, China.”
The French are at a loss. The scandal with submarines for Australia thwarted a diplomatic operation extremely important for Paris, with the help of which the French Foreign Ministry hoped to significantly strengthen relations with Washington. This September marks the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Chesapeake. It was the French fleet that inflicted a decisive defeat on the British in 1781, turning the whole course of the American War of Independence.
Rear Admiral Comte de Grasse, who commanded the French flotilla, then acted in the interests of his country, which was at enmity with the British Empire. It never occurred to him that after almost two and a half centuries, the distant descendants of the participants in the battle on both sides would continue to compete, but already for the right to be called the closest ally of the United States.
To remind the American partners of their past merits, a gala banquet was planned at the French Embassy in honor of the anniversary. But the French ambassador was then recalled to Paris – and the event had to be canceled. Macron was afraid to go further. Rather than actually bickering with Biden, the French president has targeted the generally uncomplaining Australian prime minister.
To seriously go against the will of the United States, apparently, a figure of the scale of Charles de Gaulle is needed. He could give up the dollar, remove the NATO headquarters and American bases from his country, independently negotiate with China and the USSR. Such generals from politics in Western Europe are now not visible, so today there is no one to command the “united European army”, which has been talked about for a long time in Paris, Brussels and Berlin. And the desire is there.
As soon as the Americans confronted everyone with the fact that they were leaving Afghanistan, the Europeans once again experienced a bitter sense of their own helplessness and colossal dependence on the United States. “Europe can and obviously should be able and willing to do more on its own. What we need is the European Defense Union,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her keynote speech.
Back in May this year, the defense ministers of 14 EU countries proposed to create a joint rapid reaction force of 5,000 troops that could be used in critical situations, for example, as happened later in Kabul, when Europeans cannot evacuate their representatives and ordinary citizens without the help of the United States. could. The idea of a unified military force was first discussed in Europe in 1999. In 2007, a collective system of operational combat groups (1,500 troops) was formed, but it was never used.
A summit on “European defense” is scheduled in Brussels for the first half of next year. But, whatever one may say, in the military sphere the trump cards are still in the hands of another organization – NATO, whose headquarters are also located in the capital of Belgium. That is, again, a lot depends on the United States. While European leaders are gathering their spirit and thoughts, the Secretary General of this organization Jens Stoltenberg will present an updated concept of relations between the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance in December…. Stoltenberg’s position is well known: in September, in an interview with the British The Sunday Telegraph, he said that the European Union’s armed forces could weaken the bloc he leads and even “divide Europe”, while a united rapid reaction force threatens to undermine the “modest resources” of NATO allies.
The United States retains military control over Europe. After the bombing of Yugoslavia, which was not only a violation of all rights and norms, but also harmed Europe itself, the largest American military base Bondsteel appeared in the Balkans, in Kosovo. The United States has long pushed the French and Germans who played a supporting role, taking Kiev “under itself”, and now they are playing with the Ukrainian detonator. If anything happened there, the whole of Europe would be in trouble.
President Macron could have dared as much as he wanted that “NATO’s brain is dead”, hinting at the overseas hegemon, the problem is different – the Europeans themselves have a thin gut. And you have to swallow and digest a lot. The Americans first indicate whether to build Nord Stream 2 or not, and then deploy tankers with the liquefied natural gas promised to Europe to Southeast Asia, because it is more profitable for them.
The only “concession” on the part of Biden can be considered only that the Americans finally agreed to remove the tariffs imposed by Trump on aluminum and steel supplied from Europe. More precisely, the United States has provided a quota for duty-free imports of European steel and aluminum, which gives the Europeans the opportunity to restore the previous supply volumes, which have been cut by half over the years, but blocks attempts to increase them.
The Biden administration delayed the cancellation of tariffs to the last. The “gift” was made at the G20 summit in Rome exactly one month before Europe was supposed to double import duties on American motorcycles and whiskey, effectively equalizing the losses on both sides. It should be remembered that for each “fed vitamin” American combiners, as usual, demand “a lot of small favors.” They will need them, first of all, in the Chinese direction, which is strategic for the United States.
“Perhaps we were initially too naive in our approach to cooperation with some partners,” said outgoing Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, as China became Germany ‘s largest trading partner in 2016 and helped the German economy maintain sustainable growth. The new coalition government, led by the dark horse Scholz, has already been imposed a North Atlantic agenda on Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. It is possible that, obeying this trend, Germany, contrary to its own economic interests, will be against the ratification of the Investment Agreement between the European Union and China. Much to the displeasure of the United States, it was signed in 2020, but the process of its ratification was frozen by the European Parliament.
London remains a key ally for Washington in advancing American initiatives. Here, several years ago, they began to curtail joint projects with China. On command, they sent their aircraft carrier to Southeast Asia. Even under Trump, the British refused a contract for the development of 5G networks of Chinese Huawei. It is still not clear what they got in return. Johnson was denied a free trade agreement with the United States. In a dispute with the European Union over Northern Ireland, which is now economically out of the United Kingdom due to a hasty Brexit deal, London has no support from the United States. The British cabinet is obliged to adhere to the Irish Protocol it signed, Joe Biden, an Irishman, said several times.
Europe was so scared by Donald Trumpthat his successor was idolized here in advance. London newspapers now write differently. One of the most popular British newspapers, The Daily Mail, told readers that the American president, it turns out, has serious health problems: “Biden twice suffered from cerebral aneurysm, he also has problems with the heart muscle, which contracts too quickly, causing dizziness and confusion”. A little later, the same edition relished the story of eyewitnesses about how the “leader of the free world” spoiled the air, talking with the wife of the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall: “It was long and loud.” Since the case was at the climate summit, then “emission reductions were expected from him…” Experienced Camilla did not show it,
You have to breathe deeply without disturbing the system of relationships that have developed long ago. Biden or someone else – by and large doesn’t care. The personal qualities of the current American president are secondary here: in European society, for now, he can afford a lot without fear of embarrassment.