partner perspectives

U.S. leave Europe - the absent are always in the wrong

12 MINS READMay 13, 2013 | 17:10 GMT

While there are visible signs of constant equilibrium shifting on the worlds arena of the international relationships, America's relation with Europe seems to be forgotten. Generally European continent is presented as the one reflecting American values ​​and predominantly supporting the United States in its international affairs. The fact of the matter is, the U.S. administration made ​​a number of mistakes, that have contributed to decline of its popularity in Europe. There are multiple reasons why this has happened, but all of them come from the lack of mutual understanding. Americans come up individually to the regions and powers. It is not always a good thing, especially when it comes to Eastern Europe. To understand the issue we need to realize the objectives of U.S. foreign policy.

American foreign policy is actually changing, but since the end of the Cold War it was based on four pillars, and Professor Richard Nolan from Department of Political Science at the University of Florida describes them as:

Power - the political realism, that allows the actor to shape the international system in their environment to reflect its own interests.

Peace - liberal internationalism, looking at the peace as achievable, but not automatic, in life important role play international institutions as the basis for continued cooperation.

Prosperity – an international economic policy, the pursuit of well-being is considered as superior to other objectives in international policy. With regard to U.S. foreign policy and its interests in prosperity, we can distinguish two main types of theories; one which offers a mild view and the second, that is showing more criticism. Mild stresses that the conduct of foreign policy is to bring overall economic benefits to the entire nation: a favorable trade balance, strong economic growth, a healthy macroeconomic outlook. The critical approach is characterized by a vision of American policy as being dominated by imperialistic agenda and serving the interests of the capitalist class and their elites (such as multinational corporations and banks) only.

Principles - the idealism of democracy is the fourth core of values​​, ideas and beliefs, which are guided by the U.S. in international politics. Theorists believe that these principles are hiding in the roots of democratic ideals. It is widely considered in the United States that American administration with their libertarian values, play a special role in the world. By the principle of the democracy it is easier to implement policies of Power and Peace. The most important factor is to promote democracy, because democracies do not go to war with other democracies.

In fact, in Europe, all these characteristics of American foreign policy are differently understood by the nations and governments. Mistakes of American administration in achieving its objectives in dealing with the European partners are very broad and do not focus only on the European continent. The first is the Power which says that the U.S. wants to have an impact on global policy. In Europe, this is the reason of argues with Russia, Germany and France. U.S. national policy objectives in the international space are countered by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, whose arguments appeared after the financial crisis in 2008.

Lavrov's critics stressed up that "the state is the key instrument for the protection and harmonization of interests of the individuals and society, and a major player in the international cooperation." The changes on the international arena had created new developing countries resulting in the creation of the G20 and the further transformation of the world system will be based on the rules of polycentric. [..] The preferred option for Russia is increased the role of the UN, in which Russia's position is equivalent to United States. Russia also needs to invest in new technologies, and these investments are based on the close cooperation with the European Union. The need for investment in infrastructure and the widespread industrialization of the latest Western technology. At that point, the world needs changes, which "facilitate the penetration of the economies, cultures and sourcing innovative ways of modernizing". In other words, Russia is trying to regain its former position, but it is too weak to impose geopolitically bipolar system. Russian establishment opts for the multipolar world, and that system has to rely on international institutions. That is why Russia and China have increased their role in Security Council of the UN, which recently has transpired in respect to Syria, North Korea and Iran situation.

This generally shows another point of American foreign policy which is Peace. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union USA was conducting very effective diplomacy, which over past two decades has promoted United States to be a powerful player on global arena. USA has acquired a very powerful status that is tantamount to the one displayed by the five permanent members of the Security Council. Therefore, today the number of attempts to impose sanctions on Syria and Iran and series of their failures, show that American administration does not want to increase the role of the UN, and certainly does not want to increase the number of permanent members of the Security Council. That also points out a potential division in the process of decision making. The U.S. wants to reform UN and NATO to restrict their activities to the challenges of the twenty-first century. These reforms are interpreted as follows:

- Support for multilateral actions in international organizations to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, organized crime and other threats.

- Co-operation for promoting democracy, free market and human rights.

It shows unequivocally that the way how USA wants to reform these institutions is connected to the pillars of American foreign policy.

Europe has been always loyal to the U.S. foreign policy objectives, especially Eastern Europe including Poland and neighboring countries. The loyalty has been compromised in the light of the war in Iraq, which by many has been considered an international crime and violation of international laws as well as an example of lack of elementary understanding of the international system. In another words, since 2003 American reputation in Europe has been on the decline. The Bush administration international policy has contributed to the sharp criticism not only in Russia, but also in Germany and France. Poland by supporting U.S. involvement in Iraqi war, dramatically worsened its relations with its neighbors. As a result, Germany and Russia implemented Nord Stream gas pipeline project without Poland as a transit country which has increased Warsaw dependency on Kremlin. Central Asia and Iran become a priority for Russian foreign policy. Iran ranks as second after Russia in terms of natural gas reserves (accounting for 15% of global gas reserves), and is one of the major oil exporters. These factors mean that Russia is interested in both - the presence in the Iranian oil and gas sector, as well as influencing Iran's export policy. Russia is also involved in the modernization of Iran's military equipment. In November 2005, Russia launched the first Iranian satellite. This conspicuously shows that Iran is also Russia's instrument of pressure on the United States. Russia's behavior is a response to the U.S. war in Iraq. Moscow feared that after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq will not oblige to the debts that it had in Russia. As a consequence the anti-Americanism sentiment has been reborn, which had a direct impact on cooperation with NATO. Moscow redefined its position in the region and by all mean it did not want to Ukraine and Georgia to join the North Atlantic Treaty. The relationship between Russia and the two countries was very tense. In regards to Ukraine, Russia used gas as a blackmail instrument which led to gas supply crises in 2006 and 2009. In terms of Georgia Moscow used the territorial disputes between Tblisi and South Ossetia and Abkhazia which resulted in five-days war in August of 2008. As a consequence geographical map of Georgia has changed and Russia recognized two above mentioned breakaway republics as the independent states.

Prosperity the third pillar is quite complex, because critics argue that any action based on economic values should bring benefits only for USA. This is bending of reality. The biggest controversy in Europe at this time are American rating agencies, which monopolized the rating rights and their reports have adversely affected European economy. This was particularly evident in the example of Italy, Greece, Spain and France. The agencies have lowered the rating of Greece and investors began to retreat from the markets and at the same time EU has been working on the aid packages for Greece. Although the principle of Prosperity is commonly accepted, the European intention to increase control over bank is prevalent.

The most serious flow in America's perception of foreign policy is hidden in the pillar of Principles . In the Middle East, United States often has been applying a double standards towards Israel Saudi Arabia and Iran. Despite the fact that the moral authority in Iran is fulfilled by the Islamic ayatollahs, it is not fully closed state like North Korea. Iran conducts its own foreign policy, independently of financial assistance from another countries. Iran supports economically Palestinian Autonomy and Syria. Although the civil law in Iran is based on Sharia, the country regularly carries out democratic elections. Its citizens regularly participate in the general elections. Iran seems to be a different case than North Korea, but USA and EU are applying the same standards as to Pyongyang - a policy of sanctions, which were imposed recently on the Iranian energy branch, and are simply ineffective. The West did not achieve its projected targets by imposing new brakes on the Iranian economy. Teheran continues its development of nuclear programs and above mentioned policy has only contributed to the acceleration of work on the independence of economic system. Iran expands its relations with its neighbors. U.S. effectively influences EU member states to pursue a coherent policy on this issue. Exporting the U.S. democratic values ​​into the Middle East has been compromised by the overthrowing Prime Minister Mossadeq in Iran in 1953 and president Guzman in Guatemala in 1954 by CIA. The agency was also accused of a numerous actions interfering with the internal affairs of many countries, including Philippines, Nicaragua, Iraq, Chile, Cuba and Afghanistan. That time there was a fever of the Cold War, and the world was based on the bipolar system of mutually competing centers of powers. Another example is Saudi Arabia. The State about the most radical legal system based on Sharia law. It is one of the biggest allies of the United States. Also similarly looks policy towards Taiwan, whose Washington has not officially recognized but it sells armament to this country. Therefore USA treats Taiwan as a bargaining chip in relations with China. The unilateral intervention in sovereign states does not confer U.S. popularity in the and it weaken image of the United States in the Middle East and Latin America. Also hot spot for Europeans is an uncritical attitude towards Israel. Washington's words of criticism for the uncompromising politics and the construction of a new settlements on the occupied territories of the Palestinian Authority areas do not follow any specific action. Meanwhile in Europe, the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany threaten Israel from serious consequences. For many European governments USA supports Israel always and in every single situation without analyzing events independently. While Europe speaks about the Freedom Flotilla, which ran with the aid for Palestinians and the death of nine Turks killed by Israeli soldiers, in the U.S. the subject was brought up to the scale of terrorism. Regardless to what really happened, politicians and media approach is significantly different from the European approach. It covers many issues such as Guantanamo and torture of prisoners by waterboarding that especially in Germany arouse great controversy.

Despite the fact that Europe has created an international organization, which is the European Union and its interstate relations are based on the principles of the rule of law and respect for the human rights, the continent is not entirely devoid of its own problems. Also there is a difference of understanding in the reasoning of conduct political processes in Russia and the Kremlin's reasoning in the international arena. Countries in the region have real concerns about dependence on Russian gas and oil supplies. Russia in USA, is considered as a reliable and predictable partner, while in the region of Eastern Europe as an imperial state with intentions to recover their lost ground after the collapse of the Soviet Union. American administration recognizes Europe as a politically unified and coherent set of states. Meanwhile, the reality for European countries is quite different.

There is an existing problem of Kosovo, which declared independence before the UN decision, and therefore it was contrary to the international law. Macedonia is surrounded by Serbia and Bulgaria and both of them submitting the territorial claims. The two countries treats Macedonia as an artificial creation. Next problem for Europe is the potential division of Belgium for Wallonia and Flemish. The government in Madrid has a problem in the form of the Basque separatists, who are increasingly talking about separation from Spain. Cyprus conflict is one of the major problems of international politics because two countries belonging to NATO: Greece and Turkey are always on the brink of war. There are also conflicts related to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Problems of the Russian minority in the Baltic states. Subdivision of Moldova and the conflict about Transnistria. Also unstable situation of North Caucasus and Georgia division contributes to defining the eastern policy by the EU. In Europe, there are many similar conflicts for example Islamic radicalism in France, Germany and the UK. About all these dependencies American administration cannot forget. Withdrawing from the European continent and shifting its own vectors in foreign policy to the Pacific Asia, the U.S. will leave a room for maneuver to Russia. Thus it will deprived of opportunities for pressure. And as it ubiquitously known that "the absent are always in the wrong" and this the U.S. administration has to remember.

 

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