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Donald Tusk (European Council) - With friends like USA, who needs enemies
May 18, 2018
European Council President Donald Tusk’s said "with friends like that (USA) who needs enemies."
That was how Donald Tusk, one of the European Union’s top officials, took President Trump to task on Wednesday, offering the latest look at how the Continent’s leaders are trying to come to terms with the United States’ shifting policy on issues like the Iran nuclear deal. Mr. Tusk, president of the European Council, which represents the European Union’s heads of government, used 280 characters on Twitter not only to rebuke Mr. Trump’s head-snapping policy decisions but also to reaffirm the bloc’s commitment to its own agenda.
EU to block Trump’s Iran sanctions by activating old law
The European Commission will on Friday launch a trade defense law in response to U.S. economic sanctions against Iran in a bid to keep the nuclear accord with Tehran alive, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday. Juncker told reporters in Sofia that EU leaders decided Wednesday night to activate the so-called blocking statute, which bans European companies from complying with the U.S. sanctions against Iran. “We have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to protect our European businesses,” said Juncker
The Atlantic alliance, built to contain the Soviet Union after World War II, began to die when the Cold War ended. What kept it alive over the past three decades has been less strategic necessity than a convergence of values — the values of the liberal postwar order. Now, the senior partner of the alliance, the US, has lost interest in those values. The alliance was already a corpse, but Donald Trump drove the last nail into its coffin when he decided last week to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran.
The Iran decision followed his decision to impose tariffs on European aluminum and steel, which followed his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords. Trump is no more contemptuous towards European allies than Asian or Latin ones; the only opinion to which he defers is that of his base. François Delattre, France's ambassador to the United Nations, says he regards the Iran decision as "the best illustration of the Jacksonian moment the United States is going through — the uni-isolationist moment". A new president, he concedes, might restore multilateralism.
"We're going to have to treat the US as a hostile power," Leonard (director of the European Council on Foreign Relations) says. "We might have to introduce countermeasures against US companies." The mind reels. No, the heart breaks.
Every leader in Western Europe understands both that the continent must improve its capacity to act collectively and that all the political passions rest on the other side — with the nationalists. Few are prepared to take the political risks that Macron has. Merkel largely shares Macron's view but, now that she teeters atop a brittle coalition, not his freedom of action.
A truly European diplomacy will depend, above all, on a collective recognition that European interests, and European values, will only periodically converge with those of the US and at other times will require working with China, the Persian Gulf countries, or other actors.
For older Europeans, including ones who have spent much of their lives regarding the US as a barely civilised menace, the prospect of facing crises with no one at their back will be strange and unsettling. The mental transition will take far longer than the political one. But Trump is sure to hasten the process. "I'm not sure the US gives a damn about the West," one senior European diplomat says. "When you speak to the US about the Euro-American relationship, you look like the most ridiculous guy on Earth. Nobody in the administration cares about that."