All in European Foreign Policy
Following Trump’s announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from parts of Syria, Turkey launched a military operation on Kurdish forces in Northeastern Syria. Not only is Europe's future relationship with Turkey at risk, but its relations with the wider Middle East, its reputation and credibility as a defender of human rights and democracy, and its geopolitical interests are all at stake.
On the 14th of February, two conferences took place on the Middle East. One, featuring representatives from over 60 countries, took place in Warsaw under the leadership of the United States, with generous support from Poland. The other one was a trilateral summit at Sochi, featuring the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Turkey, and organized by Russia. These two summits provide a perfect example of the two approaches that major powers currently employ towards the region, as well as the sharp contrasts in the leadership and effectiveness of Russia and America in the region.
The European response to recent developments of the crisis in Venezuela is a strong example of how European common foreign policy is made and implemented in practice. In areas of policy where EU governments can compellingly argue that they have a better understanding of the situation they can carry real authority. Fellow EU states who may not be invested in a situation at all will be willing to listen and follow their lead.
Terms like strategic autonomy and defense union have become commonplace in the face of wavering American commitments to NATO and the transatlantic alliance. The shift in the discussion hints at a move towards greater European collective action on the world stage. With the resurgence of China, the return of Russia, the retreat of the United States, and the rise of the rest, Europe needs to define its own grand strategy.
The Kremlin often wields access to its oil and natural gas supplies as deft foreign policy tools to pressure nations into political and economic action beneficial for Russia. In the interest of U.S. national security, we should respond with new policies in response to Russian energy weaponization.
The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 left Spain scrambling to reassemble a broken economy and combat soaring unemployment. European austerity measures and Catalonian dreams of independence have since occupied all of Madrid’s bandwidth and effectively back-seated Spanish foreign policy for over a decade. With the rise of Pedro Sánchez and the wounds of the financial crisis healing, Madrid has turned its attention back to Brussels, and is ready to assume the role of a leading power in Europe.
It is well known the world over that the European Union is a major economic power thanks to the single market. Yet, it is far behind other major world powers in arms development and sales. Despite the inclusion of weapons in the single market, there exists no common market for the defense. The advantages to unifying the defense industry and creating a single market for defense are clear and undeniable.
Despite Trump’s apparent drive to torpedo the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), often referred to as the Iran Deal, President Macron seemed cautiously optimistic about the prospect that the United States would remain party to the deal, suggesting the development of an add-on deal or revised JCPOA which would address ancillary concerns in Washington. But the Europeans will have to do much more to save the Iran Deal and bring lasting peace between Brussels, Washington, and Tehran.