Joe Biden Banks On European Inaction, Division, and Vulnerability

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US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, arrive for a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on March 24, 2022 [AP/Olivier Matthys]

How Biden suckered European Union

Since Russia caught Europe off guard in Ukraine, the US has become accustomed to its transatlantic partner. However, because of a new cold war between Moscow and Washington, the continent has been left out in the cold, both literally and metaphorically.

As a result of this new superpower rivalry, the European Union has been left startled and destabilized. Despite their resolve to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom and independence from Russia, Europeans have found themselves caught in the crossfire of this conflict.

Hungary, for example, wants to make room for Russia, whereas Sweden and Poland want to make more room for the US. However, those in charge of politics and industry on the continent want to be less reliant on both of these forces.

France and Germany, which have always resisted US aspirations to expand NATO into Ukraine, are enraged by the Biden administration’s manipulative use of the Russia scare to advance American interests at their own expense.

But the US is not giving up and is working to install a security framework in Europe akin to that deployed during the Cold War. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is leading a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Romania. Approximately 3,000 US troops are stationed in Romania. At the NATO Summit in 2008 in Romania, the US pushed aggressively for the alliance to include Ukraine, much to the chagrin of its main allies.

“American economic populism and geopolitical rifts endanger the European Union’s long-term competitiveness,” argues a recent article in the Economist, a British Atlanticist journal. According to the report, “not only is the continent’s prosperity at stake but so is the health of the transatlantic alliance.”

Germany is troubled that the US is actively seeking to cut off or limit economic relations between the West, Moscow, and Beijing. This is due to Germany’s need for Russian energy and Chinese exports and investments. Germany draws its energy from Russia and its exports and investments from China. The German chancellor, Olaf Sholz, visited China earlier this month to restore clarity and stability to his nation’s ties with Beijing.

Berlin may have successfully filled its gas reserves for this winter, but the energy crunch and rising costs are hurting Germany’s and other European countries economies. It is unclear how the continent will exist in 2023, given that gas prices are predicted to be six times higher than their long-term average, and Russia’s gas supply to Europe will be significantly reduced.

A lack of energy plus a freezing winter could result in an additional 100,000 deaths across Europe. This figure is higher than the number of soldiers killed in Ukraine. Instead of helping its allies deal with the energy crisis, the United States charges European countries around four times as much for natural gas as it does for sales in the United States.

Meanwhile, Biden’s populist “Made in America” initiative and his Inflation Reduction Act impacted transatlantic trade. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act grants billions of dollars in subsidies to the nation’s largest corporations.

To justify their actions, the Europeans accused the US of profiting from the war, hijacking their investments, and impeding fair and free trade. In short, they condemn the US for emulating China’s practices, which makes you wonder: who needs Beijing when you have a friend like that?

French President Emmanuel Macron on November 29, 2022 in Paris, France. The French president is traveling to Washington this week for his second state visit and will meet US President Joe Biden. [Chesnot/Getty Images]

This is the nature of the present transatlantic tale, which is why French President Emmanuel Macron urged the European Union to “wake up” since “neither the Americans nor the Chinese will cut us any slack.” Other European leaders have implored the US to engage and work with its European allies before making strategic decisions that are critical to their future existence or the continuance of the transatlantic alliance.

Unfortunately, these nations aren’t working or communicating much, let alone devise a unified strategy to address the major issue they all confront due to the new global power struggle.

The fact that the United Kingdom (UK) is exiting the European Union (EU), France, and Italy are at odds, there are still issues between Western and Eastern Europe, and ties between France and Germany are deteriorating. Not all 27 EU countries will probably agree to work, but Paris and Berlin will have to if they want to fix the crisis.

Nonetheless, President Macron and Chancellor Scholz have yet to be able to work as well as their predecessors did during and after the Cold War. These predecessors include Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, and even Macron and Angela Merkel. Because of this, Europe is now weak, divided, and vulnerable to assault.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly (C), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) and Croatia’s Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman talk prior to a meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) in Foreign Ministers Session during the meeting of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, Romania, on November 30, 2022. [ANDREI PUNGOVSCHI/AFP/Getty Images]

Transatlantic crisis of confidence

The United States has never shied away from betting on European nations’ inaction and division. But, in an odd twist of irony, Vice President Biden, who once promised to boost faith in the transatlantic alliance, is now assisting in its demise.

His close relationship with European countries threatens European unity more than George W. Bush’s hostility, Barack Obama’s dispassion, or Donald J. Trump‘s aversion and resentment. The fact that President Biden behaves as if he is stunned by Europe’s reaction or is unaware of Europe’s outrage makes matters worse.

From all indications, President Joe Biden is doing what previous American presidents did to Europe during the Cold War: keeping Russia out, Germany down, France on the sidelines, and the US, well, right in the heart of it all.

Over more than a century, the United States has been involved in many European conflicts. There have been two world wars and one cold war. These actions have been made to make that no single state or collection of powers controls the continent and, by extension, the rest of the world. It is not going away anytime soon.

In this sense, Biden has used Russia’s aggression in Ukraine to regain the United States waning influence in Europe. In its quest to dominate the world, Washington has demonstrated a willingness to be harsh to adversaries and allies. Following World War II, the United States exerted economic pressure on the weak British empire to extract geopolitical concessions, and the British had a taste of what it was like.

But right now, there might be better things to do. For the United States and the rest of the world to compete in a more multipolar world, Europe must remain strong and united, not weak and divided.

Even though racism has been an issue in Europe for a long time and fascism is on the rise, the European Union has demonstrated that it is a more rational and responsible actor than its individual members.

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