Biden’s ‘summer love’ with Europe came to an abrupt break

President Joe Biden’s beloved summer Europe Looks like it has come to an abrupt end.

After assuring European leaders that “back to America” ​​and multilateral diplomacy would guide US foreign policy, Biden angered and alienated a number of allies with a single approach on a number of key issues, the latest being a new security initiative for Indo – notably excluded France And The Union of Europe

Some have likened Biden’s recent actions to those of his predecessor, Donald Trump, under the “America First” doctrine, a surprise to the president who is immersed in international affairs and vows to repair unstable relations with the Allies and restore US credibility on a world scale. .

While it is impossible to predict whether any harm is permanent, the short-term effect seems to have revived European suspicions of American intentions, with Biden’s overarching aim being to unite democracies against the dictatorship, mainly focused on China and Russia.

Just three months ago, on his first visit to the continent as president, Biden was hailed as a hero by European counterparts eager to overcome Trump’s transatlantic tensions. But that obvious solution is now hidden to many and its one clear winner is the German Chancellor Angela Merkel On her way out.

Since June, Biden has left the US’s oldest ally, France, Poland and Ukraine, to question the US commitment to their security and more broadly upset the European Union with unilateral decisions from Afghanistan to East Asia. And, when Europe cheered when Biden pledged to return to nuclear talks with Iran and revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, both efforts stalled for nine months under his rule.

The seeds of resentment may have been sown in the spring, but Biden began to blossom in July after Biden agreed to a Russian-German gas pipeline that would bypass Poland and Ukraine, and resumed Europe a month later with reservations about a pull-out with US’s confidential withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, Biden provoked France and the European Union, joining Britain and Australia after the US Brexit, with a new Indo-Pacific security initiative aimed at countering China’s growing aggression in the region.

Unsurprisingly, China reacted angrily, accusing the US and its English-speaking partners of launching a plan to destabilize the Pacific to jeopardize global security. The reactions of Paris and Brussels, however, were so intense. Both complained that they were not just out of contract but in consultation about it.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in June, praised “America’s return is the best news for all of us”, expressing “full comprehension” in Wednesday’s announcement. “It really stabs me in the back,” he said. “It looks like Trump did.”

France loses nearly $ 100 billion in contract to build diesel submarines to Australia under the new AUKUS initiative, which will help Canberra build the US and Britain nuclear-powered.

As such, its rage on a purely commercial scale is understandable, especially since France, which handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997, is the only European nation with significant territorial property or a permanent military presence in the Pacific.

However, French and European Union officials went ahead, calling into question the full co-operation effort to blunt China’s growing influence and emphasize the importance of lame plans to boost Europe’s own defense and security capabilities.

In a joint statement with Le Drian, French Defense Minister Florence Parley said the decision “reinforces the need to make the issue of European strategic autonomy loud and clear. There is no other credible way to protect our interests and our values ​​in the world, including the Indo-Pacific.”

In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borel echoed those comments. “I think this kind of agreement was not cooked up yesterday. It takes a certain amount of time, and despite that, no, we haven’t been contacted,” he said. “

In fact, the 27-member European Union on Thursday unveiled a new strategy to boost economic, political and defense ties in the Indo-Pacific, just hours after the US, Britain and Australia announced. The EU says its aim is to strengthen the respect for international trade rules and improve maritime security and strengthen and expand economic ties. It said this strategy would lead to more European naval deployments to the region.

US officials rejected the French and EU complaints on Thursday, echoing Biden’s brief comments on Wednesday that endorse France’s role.

Speaking with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Australian Defense and Foreign Ministers, Foreign Secretary Anthony Blinkan said there was “no regional divide” with Europe over the Indo-Pacific strategy. “We welcome European countries that are playing a major role in the Indo-Pacific,” he said, calling France “a key partner”.

Biden said Wednesday, “France, in particular, already has a substantial Indo-Pacific presence and is a key partner and ally in strengthening the security and prosperity of the region. The United States is looking forward to working closely with France and other key countries.”

But we have to watch how closely they work.

———

AP writers Sylvie Corbett in Paris and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.

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