What Joe Biden did to deceive Europe

The European Union is failing the test of the war in Ukraine because it is hemmed in.
Europe is at a loss for words.

The United States has taken for granted its transatlantic ally ever since Russia caught Europe off guard in the Ukraine. Moscow and Washington are engaging in a new form of cold war, leaving the continent both physically and symbolically out in the cold.
The European Union has disagreed on how to react to this new superpower competition, leaving it dumbfounded and destabilised. Europeans are adamant about supporting Ukraine’s struggle for freedom and independence from Russia, but they are also caught in its negative effects.

Others, like Sweden and Poland, want to accommodate America more than others, like Hungary, who wants some sort of accommodation for Russia. However, the political and economic elites of the continent want more autonomy from both.

France and Germany are enraged by the Biden administration’s cunning exploitation of the Russia alarm to promote America’s interests at the expense of their own, having long rejected US attempts to expand NATO into Ukraine.

However, America won’t let up and is pressing for a security system in Europe like to the one used during the Cold War. In Romania, where there are some 3,000 US soldiers stationed, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in charge of a meeting of NATO’s foreign ministers as I type these words. At the 2008 NATO Summit, the US pushed hard to expand the alliance to include Ukraine, much to the chagrin of its main partners.

The Economist, an Atlanticist publication, notes that “American economic populism and geopolitical rifts undermine the long-term competitiveness of the European Union” and cautions that “the stability of the transatlantic alliance is also at stake.”

Germany is dissatisfied with US efforts to disrupt or restrict Western economic links with Moscow and Beijing because Germany has become increasingly dependent on Russia for energy and on China for exports and investments. It was the goal of German Chancellor Olaf Sholz’s visit to China earlier this month to reestablish assurance and stability in bilateral ties.

Berlin may have been able to fill its gas reserves for this winter, but the economic situation in Germany and other parts of Europe is being harmed by the energy shortage and rising costs. It is unclear how Europe would survive 2023 with gas prices six times higher than their long-term average and considerably reduced Russian gas supply.

In fact, the lack of electricity coupled with a harsh winter might result in over 100,000 additional deaths throughout Europe, surpassing the number of military fatalities in Ukraine. However, the US charges approximately four times as much for natural gas in Europe as it does in domestic sales, rather than assisting its allies in addressing the energy issue.

Meanwhile, Biden’s populist “made-in-America” crusade is eroding transatlantic commerce while showering US business giants with hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, undercutting their European rivals.

All of this has prompted the Europeans to charge that America is undermining fair and free trade while profiting from the conflict and snatching away their assets. In other words, they charge it with copying China’s policies, which raises the question: who needs Beijing when you have a buddy like that?

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, called on the EU to “wake up” as a result of the ongoing transatlantic conflict, saying that “neither the Americans nor the Chinese will spare us any slack.” Other European leaders have urged Washington to communicate with its European allies before making crucial strategic decisions that would affect the transatlantic alliance or their ability to survive.

Unfortunately, these countries aren’t exactly coordinating and consulting with one another, much less coming together behind a single plan of action fit for the enormous task the new global power battle presents to them all.

Not helping are the British withdrawal from the EU, the acrimonious disputes between France and Italy, the ongoing hostilities between Western and Eastern Europe, and the deteriorating ties between France and Germany. Paris and Berlin must act jointly if they are to be successful in resolving the issue, even though the 27 EU member states may not all agree to do so.

And yet, President Macron and Chancellor Scholz have so far been unable to collaborate, despite the fact that their predecessors, including Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, and even Macron and Angela Merkel, did so quite successfully during and after the Cold War. Europe is now exposed, defenceless, and divided as a result.
America has not been afraid to take advantage of European discord and delay. Ironically, Biden is fueling a transatlantic crisis of confidence despite having pledged to rebuild trust in the transatlantic alliance.

In fact, his close embrace of Europe is presenting a larger threat to European unity than were Donald Trump’s hatred and anger, George Bush’s aggressiveness, and Barack Obama’s apathy. It only makes matters worse if Biden is feigning astonishment at Europe’s response or seeming unaware of its hostility.

Practically speaking, it appears like Biden is doing for Europe what previous US presidents did for America at the Cold War’s peak, namely keeping Russia out, Germany in check, France on the sidelines, and the US, well, right in the middle.

America has regularly engaged in Europe for more than a century, including in two world wars and a cold war, to guarantee that no single power or group of nations controls the continent and, by extension, the rest of the globe. It won’t end right now.

By doing this, Biden has taken advantage of the chance provided by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine to boost America’s declining influence in Europe. Washington has demonstrated its ruthlessness against both allies and enemies when it comes to maintaining its global control. After World War II, when the US economically blackmailed the impoverished empire to secure geopolitical concessions, the British got a taste of it.

But right now, that might not be the wisest course of action. In an increasingly multipolar world, Europe has to be strong and unified rather than weak and divided if it is to face up to both a belligerent Russia and a growing China.

Although fascism and widespread racism are problems for Europe, the EU has shown itself to be a more sensible and responsible player than any one of its individual members.

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