U.S. at the risk of losing European trust completely

Orkhan Sattarov, Head of the Vestnik Kavkaza European Bureau
U.S. at the risk of losing European trust completely

The tough position taken by Donald Trump’s administration on its European partners who are doing their best to maintain the Iranian deal has taken short the EU political elites. They appeared to be unable to develop a further strategy of relations with the U.S. and Iran. At the moment, the EU is under huge pressure both from America and Iran that has issued ultimatum to Brussels to provide guarantees of the economic part of the deal in 60 days.

Assertive Americans treat the European partners quite inconsiderate and prefer to use ultimatums and demands in the communication. For example, scarcely after an appointment, the new U.S. ambassador to Berlin Richard Grenell aggressively demanded from German companies to break business contacts in Iran as soon as possible. Even despite heavy critics of the local media and politicians, ambassador Grenell didn’t reject his position.

The Europeans who think that the Iranian deal is a great success of their diplomacy and actively build economic contacts with Tehran are now facing a dilemma: whether to save face and interests in Iran, resisting the Americans, or to wait for a couple of years, hoping for Tramp’s era to come to an end. The first scenario is closely connected with a high risk for European companies. The second one is hardly to be considered a thoughtful strategy as reelection of Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be impossible.

“American President Donald Trump is destroying the world order that had been formed in the course of decades after the World War II,” a German political scientist Stefan Birling told DLF. “This is a tragedy as the world order which is called Pax Americana has been established and defended by Washington during the last 40-50 years. At the moment, we are watching a collapse of the liberal order,” the political scientist believes. World orders such as Pax Britannica which existed in the 19th century usually broke when the power that established them failed to protect them economically and militarily, Birling explains. “During recent 15 years, there was a dramatic shift in the world power balance, primarily, it was a rise of China and other countries. These factors are killing fundaments of the American world order. Today President Trump believes that his country has found itself in a situation when expenses for providing the American order are so huge that he wants to refuse of them.”

According to the expert, the EU is poorly prepared for such a situation in general but it is a special problem for Germany: “Germany is more dependent from the international stability than any other country of the same size in the world due to our geographical situation in Europe, our dependence from exports – 46 per cent of GDP are generated by exports. And we are not ready for the post-American world. We have no efficient army. In fact, we have no real strategy of what we do want. We have no concepts and government that could help us in solving the problem.”

It’s notable that the deputy head of the Christian Social Union, an EU parliament member, Manfred Weber, one of devoted Transatlantists in the German political elite, said: “I’m not happy that the United States, our traditional partner, has made such a decision that pushes us toward China and Russia. However, if we, the Europeans, are certain about something, we should work with the partners that we have. Of course, the U.S. decision to abandon the Iranian deal will get overwhelming in the future as, for example, there is certain progress in the North Korean issue. There will be negotiations that are very welcomed by everyone. And in the end, the negotiations should result in an agreement which will confirm positions that have been agreed during the negotiations, i.e. the diplomacy work. And then North Korea would ask: What’s the value of American President’s sign? Will the relationship be stable?” the German politician says.

In the context of the U.S. unprecedented pressure and clear ignoring of European interests, even the most devoted Transatlantists in Europe are thinking about ne tactical alliances, including the one with Russia and China. If Washington crushes the Iranian issue, the strategic damage for the American interests can be quite tangible. And the whole concept of the transatlantic partnership which is in a crisis since Donald Trump’s election can completely lose its attractiveness for the European political elites. Considering the fact that anti-American attitudes are widely spread in Germany, Donald Trump’s administration will not far to seek. Notwithstanding with the fact whether the Europeans are able to deal with the American allies on Iran or not, it will be difficult to overcome the credibility gap.