Europe's Latest Humiliation
Donald Trump humiliated the European Union by annulling the Iran nuclear deal, and now Joe Biden has done so by announcing the new AUKUS agreement with Australia and the UK. But as much as Europe's leaders may protest, the EU's subordination to the US reflects a conscious choice that they have made.
ATHENS – A “brutal lesson in geopolitics,” is how the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel described the announcement of AUKUS, the new security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The deal is not just a major financial blow to France, whose contract to deliver 12 submarines to Australia for $A50 billion ($36 billion) was unceremoniously ditched in the process. Perhaps even more important was that US President Joe Biden chose to announce AUKUS in a manner that can only be interpreted as a deliberate humiliation of France and, by association, the rest of the European Union.
It was not the first brutal lesson the US had taught the EU recently. When Donald Trump reneged on the deal that former President Barack Obama and the EU had jointly struck to end Iran’s nuclear program, one of his reasons was to put Germany in its place. Hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that EU corporations would ignore Trump’s sanctions and continue to trade with Iran, German corporations made their own announcement: Unwilling to be cast out of the US market, and to miss out on Trump’s corporate tax cuts, they would cease trading in Iran.
The two incidents served the purpose of preserving America’s financial and geostrategic hegemony over the West. Both incidents inflamed European leaders enough for them to consider retaliation. Trump’s threat of sanctions against EU-based corporations continuing to deal with Iran sparked discussions in the EU of corresponding sanctions on US companies. Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron responded to Biden’s AUKUS announcement with a move once reserved as a last resort just before declaring war: recalling France’s ambassadors from Washington, DC, and Canberra.