Saturday, 19 August 2017

Právo: USA may turn into EU's rival in post-American world

ČTK |
4 August 2017

Prague, Aug 3 (CTK) - The chaos accompanying Donald Trump's presidency may accelerate the process of the U.S. decline and the emergence of the post-American world where the USA might become quite unpredictable and turn into a geopolitical rival of Europe, Milos Balaban writes in Czech daily Pravo today.

The post-American world, predicted by Fareed Zakaria a decade ago, seems to be emerging faster than expected, also because the U.S. administration has no time to solve domestic problems, which harms the USA's prestige and authority in the world, Balaban writes.

The U.S. foreign policy, for its part, is a combination of the backpedalling on Washington's global responsibility, represented by its refusal of the Paris climate agreement, with the worsening of its relations with each of the world's key players - Russia, China and the EU, Balaban writes.

Another step to confirm this decline is the U.S. Senate's July 27 decision to toughen the anti-Russian economic sanctions, which, however, seem not to be primarily targeting Russia but Germany and several other EU countries, Balaban writes.

The sanctions enable to punish foreign firms for investing in energy projects in cooperation with Russia, such as the Nordstream-2 gas pipeline. At the same time, the USA declared its readiness to supply liquefied gas to Europe. The sanctions thus boost the U.S. business, Balaban writes.

In reaction to it, Austria and Germany emphasised that the energy security of Europe is a matter of Europe, not the USA. This view, nevertheless, is definitely not shared by Poland, a fierce opponent of Nordstream. Poland must rejoice at the U.S. policy going counter to Germany's interests, Balaban writes.

As a result, a dispute on the sense of the anti-Russian sanctions may burst out in the EU now that the USA has turned them into an instrument of the competition struggle, Balaban writes.

According to information from the White House, Washington is pondering on imposing sanctions on China due to its approach to North Korea. If so, the step would undoubtedly afflict Europe as well, Balaban writes.

Maybe these are symptoms of the approaching post-American world, in which the USA, with its policy, might become totally unpredictable for Europe and it might turn from the EU's ally into a geopolitical rival, Balaban writes.

Elsewhere in Pravo, political scientist Jiri Pehe writes that the role of the USA as the world leading power has mainly been declining since its failed invasion of Iraq and other mistakes made by the George W. Bush administration. The decline continued when Barack Obama was president, though slowed down by Washington's rising "soft force." It seemed that a multipolar world set-up may come to being with the USA playing a positive role in it, Pehe writes.

However, Trump's chaotic governance has swept all this away in six months. The USA is feared and laughed at by the world, and it is becoming globally unimportant, Pehe writes, citing Zakaria and a Pew Research poll examining the USA's popularity in 37 countries.

The new geopolitical vacuum is being filled by the other big powers. Trump's negative example has boosted the EU. Asian powers, headed by China, together with Europe, are seeking ways to maintain world stability even without the USA, Pehe writes.

Unfortunately, Trump seems to be a mere symptom, not the cause of the progressing U.S. decline. If so, the previous state of things need not return even if a more enlightened and more acceptable person became Trump's successor in the presidential post, Pehe writes.

"We are probably witnessing the end of the global set-up in which the USA has played the crucial role since after the World War Two," Pehe concludes.

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