According to reports EconomyOnline According to Etemad, Wolfgang Isinger, a senior German diplomat who has chaired the important Munich Security Conference since 2008 and has previously served as Germany’s ambassador to Britain and the United States, believes that although it is expected that after a while Challenging Atlantic relations There is a prospect of improved US-European relations, but Europeans’ confidence in US commitment to cooperation has been severely damaged, which does not seem to be easily repaired. Isinger recently published a book entitled “The World at Risk: Germany and Europe on the Verge of Uncertainty” about the future of the West, the balance of power in the world and the relations between the Atlantic, and its effects on Europe and Germany. In an interview with the prominent German diplomat, Jan Bremer, a professor at Stanford University and founder of the Eurasia Group think tank, spoke about the future of European relations with the United States, China’s growing influence on the Green Continent and the future of the EU in the face of challenges such as populism. Has been. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Ian Bremer, a professor at Stanford University, and Wolfgang Isinger, president of the Munich Security Conference, published on GZERO.
You were one of the first to officially congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory in the US election and invite them to attend the Munich Security Conference. Of course, Joe Biden has been attending this conference for decades. To what extent do you think the new administration will change the existing European confidence and distrust of Washington?
I think there is a huge and extraordinary opportunity that is ready to be exploited. Unfortunately, over the years, there has been a lot of lost trust in cooperation between the two sides of the Atlantic. I do not think anyone is as capable as Biden of taking advantage of the potential opportunity ahead. He has very strong personal ties to European leaders. I can not imagine anyone better than him to solve the issue of trust between Europe and America. At the same time, I think there are a number of urgent issues that can be quickly addressed to improve trust between the parties. These include symbolic actions and some basic actions that do not require much time and effort to implement to improve the situation. I think one of the important steps could be the return of the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement, which will allow for greater cooperation in the field of climate and the environment between the two sides in the future. I think that such a move could revolutionize Europeans’ current view of the United States.
Even in words, we Europeans are pleased that the President of the United States does not refer to us as hostile, but as a partner, although this partner may sometimes be a tough partner, sometimes a nuisance, and sometimes a good partner.
Do you think we will see a honeymoon between the United States and Europe following Biden’s inauguration?
I believe so! But I personally tell all my German and European friends that they did not expect much. Europeans should not wait and see that Biden and his government automatically take all the positive steps towards Europe. We must move toward the United States. We also need to discuss the equal share of costs, we need to put proposals on the table on how to improve trade and how to deal with China and much more. We should not be passive and wait for the United States and Joe Biden to follow us. We need to go to Washington and discuss our proposals for comprehensive cooperation.
I have to mention one thing. An issue has changed radically in the last four years and it will be very difficult to correct it. For the past five, six, or even seven decades, European policymakers have firmly believed that the United States would be present in Europe and be part of continental Europe, extending its umbrella over Europe, both security and nuclear. This approach will continue forever. For four years, the Trump administration raised serious doubts about this approach. Such doubts will never be completely resolved. Because Europeans are not idiots, yes today may be a honeymoon with Biden, but is there a guarantee that in four years American voters will not elect another president like Donald Trump and we will go back to where we were before There is no news of a climate pact, there is no news of Borjam, and security cooperation is no longer done on a permanent basis. Doubts about the reliability of the alliance with the United States are not easily resolved. Every government except Biden will have trouble resolving this skepticism. This is a new memory in the minds of Europeans, and European policymakers are wondering if we can really link our future to the will of 40,000 or 50,000 voters in states like Georgia or Arizona. This is Biden’s toughest responsibility to Europe, and the biggest difference in Atlantic relations over the past decades.
Has Trump really damaged the relationship so much? I know that he did things that seemed very hostile, he did things, for example, he drove a number of American troops out of Germany and increased his forces in Poland. The question is, how many of these words and slogans were without action?
Politics and international relations have always been for purposes such as money and military cooperation and security and trade guarantees, but the truth is that symbols are also very important in this area. From the point of view of a German, if I say that America is not just a partner, the White House in the post-World War II era provided us with the logic and values that we know as the “West”. For us, America was the leader of the West and the representative of Western values such as the value of humanity and human rights, etc., and I hope that it will return to this position. Honestly, in the view of many of my compatriots, the United States has lost its ability to lead. If you look at recent polls in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, you can see that the results of these polls are really negative. I think Europeans’ views can be repaired, they will be repaired and approaches will change quickly, but our relationship has been fundamentally affected anyway. There are certainly many deep and fundamental issues that remain, but symbols and symbols are also very important.
Another major change that has taken place in recent years is the growing role and influence of China in continental Europe, especially in Eastern and Southern Europe. An issue that may not have been a fundamental issue 20 years ago, but is now a matter of ongoing debate. I don’t think that will change with Biden’s choice. How much do you think China’s growing influence in Europe will affect Europe’s strategic orientation and the continent’s future?
For decades, we in Europe considered China as a market, in Germany we always considered China as a country where we could sell a lot of Mercedes-Benz, Beamu and Volkswagen. Over the past few years, we have come to the conclusion that if we want to defend our relationship with China, we must consider issues such as human rights, intellectual property and copyright issues, security issues, and, most importantly, cooperation with the United States. Let the United States find a solution to these issues. In Europe, there is both an interest and a will to coordinate and cooperate with the United States on China. The fact is that we have not yet reached a single conclusion that can be called the “EU strategy against China”. There is definitely a French strategy on China, to some extent there is a German strategy on China, maybe the Italians and the British have defined a strategy, but we have not yet reached a consensus, a conclusion we can send to our American partners and say that this is our approach. It is up to China to ask them to consult with us so that Washington can tell us where we disagree, where we can take joint initiatives and what cooperation there is against China.
Do you think the US approach to China is too extreme or is Europe’s approach to China too extreme? What is your personal belief?
In the case of China, I personally give a few positive points to the Trump administration. Because Trump caused a kind of awakening in Europe by adopting a confrontational approach with China. The Europeans thought that maybe Trump’s logic was right, maybe we should think more strategically about China, not just trade and investment with China. If Europe and the United States come together, they represent more than 40 percent of the world economy. In the absence of unity, the Chinese really cannot ignore our power. I am not so pessimistic that we can turn the issue of China into a positive agenda in bilateral cooperation.
Don’t you think that the European Union has grown a lot? Has not the inflation of the union caused the possibility of coordination and consensus to be lost, and even the existence of the union has been questioned due to the addition of countries that were practically incapable of joining the union?
You see, when countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic came to us, and then Bulgaria and Romania, and the Baltic states, they came to NATO, they came to the United States, and they said, ‘We want to be part of your organization and our union.’ We want to enjoy the same security that the other member states enjoy, the same conditions that East Germany has always enjoyed, and they practically offered to join the West. How could we say “no” to them? What was the justification for the negative answer? Joining these countries, which are our direct neighbors, and adding them to NATO and the European Union, was the right thing to do. If we go back to the 90s, we see that all these countries were deeply interested in joining the West. What we have seen in the last 10 years or so has been the transformation of the United States, which first took place in the Tiparti movement, then in the Republican Party, and finally in the victory four years ago. Donald Trump As a result, at the same time in France we saw the growth of Marine Le Pen’s popularity, even in Germany the right-wing party, known as the afd, was more popular, with between 10 and 15 percent and sometimes even 20 percent of the vote in parts of Germany. He took it. Poland and Hungary are not the only countries where populist and populist movements have grown, and they are not even the only countries in which populist parties have come to power. I think that the values of the European Union and the idea of collective cooperation will eventually prevail, and I think that the Prime Minister of Hungary, Victor Urban, is not going to remain Prime Minister forever. Elections will be held in Hungary, and changes will take place in Poland. I am not in favor of expelling these countries from the EU, because they may have disagreements about the rule of law or the independence of the judiciary. I believe that we must take a strategic approach, be patient, put pressure on them and show the voters in Poland and Hungary that there are better ways and there is a European way. There is a strong and active opposition in these countries. I have not lost hope and to be honest I am very optimistic that this crisis will be resolved within the EU. Do not forget that a few years ago, analysts said that if the British left the EU, the EU would be sentenced to death.
Now you can even claim that the opposite was true …
Europe is now in a much better position than it was five, 10 or 15 years ago in terms of sovereignty, capabilities and financial access. Don’t forget, just last year, following the global outbreak of coronary heart disease, after years of fruitless debate, the union came to the consensus in a moment that we could allow the union to go under debt. This sovereign decision was in fact a new chapter in the history of European cooperation. Despite the election, despite the challenges to the rule of law, the EU is in a better and stronger position than ever before.
You could even claim that the European Union, as a multilateral body, has shown that it can be more successful in dealing with coronary heart disease than any other international body or organization.
Yes, but I’m still not satisfied with the level of cooperation. Do you know why? Because rescuing European countries from the effects of a global disease is a challenge, but at the same time as we inject money into our economies to rebuild their economies, we must not forget that other countries in the world, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, are at risk of post-corona challenges. , To the extent that half of African countries are likely to become bankrupt or bankrupt states due to these injuries. Imagine what a huge wave of migration and asylum would be created if these countries could not meet the basic needs of their people and provide the means for reconstruction and recovery. We need to take a strategic look, not just at our own needs in Europe and the United States, but at the needs of the rest of the world. I hope that the future administration of Joe Biden in the United States will adopt the approach that we can all live in security while others are safe.