Monday, May 21, 2018

Who's The Leader of the Pack?

"The allies are certainly sick of this but don't seem to have an alternative."
"The Europeans are invested down a path of trying to please the president [Donald Trump], not out of belief but more hope against hope that they will convince him."
"[The real question for the Europeans] is not if they stick with the deal [nuclear agreement with Iran] but will they stand up in the American effort to unravel it and take active measures to protect their companies and banks trading in Iran?"
"[That would be] an extremely confrontational stance, and it's not clear that their companies really want that."
Jeremy Shapiro, former official, U.S. State Department; European Council on Foreign Relations

"Can't we defend what our own interests are? Isn't it wiser to temporarily part ways with the Trump administration?"
"Trump and Europe have fundamentally different objectives."
Nathalie Tocci, senior adviser, European Union 

"At some point -- after having pushed the Europeans on NATO, Paris, the Jerusalem embassy move, trade and now Iran -- the Europeans will come to the conclusion that they're better off going their own way."
"And that point is rapidly approaching."
Ivo H. Daalder, former U.S. ambassador to NATO

"Nobody thinks the trans-Atlantic alliance is over. But how do we make it work with a U.S. leadership that doesn't want to play the role of leader?"
"How do we move ahead in a world, not without the U.S., but with an American leadership not willing to play its traditional role?"
Pierre Vimont, former French ambassador to Washington
There could tough talking between Trump and his allies over his decision. Credit: PA

American allies in Europe want the status quo to continue; which is to say the long-acknowledged leader-of-the-pack suddenly, with a change of administration, is no longer interested in leading. It wants to withdraw, not necessarily its influence, but its direct responsibilities in ushering the trans-Atlantic alliance toward its self-satisfied goals in aspirational self-interests. Mostly that represents recognizing the frailties and faults of those nations not within their direct political orbit but holding their collective noses and recognizing trade opportunities to stuff their own coffers with the profits.

So regimes that are truly destructive of the human spirit, controlling and manipulative which gain the disapproval of the partnership members are still acceptable for what they can provide in capitalizing on their natural resources to provide revenues for themselves and profitable investments for those willing to set aside their ethics and forget about moral obligations of democratic societies toward populations stifled by corrupt, domineering dictators and profiteers.

While countries like Iran are using their profits to sustain their terrorist non-state militias, it fails to hinder investment and trade with them on the part of Western European nations who prefer not to 'notice' the deep linkage between their investment and profits and the offside support on their part to the fundamentalist, Sharia-driven warmongering terrorism the Islamic Republic of Iran supports, from Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, drenched in the blood of his Syrian Sunni civilians, to Palestinian Hamas, garroting the aspirations of Gazan Palestinians.

That the despicable quasi-politician-businessman-social pariah Trump appears to have scruples eluding the patrician French and punctilious Germans whose major concerns about the collapse of the Iran nuclear agreement is the potential impact on their corporate interests and investment banks trump all other concerns of which they prefer not to know the details calls into question who among them is the more intelligent and decent of human beings.

Quite dreadful of Mr. Trump to decide to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, a city with which Judaic history and heritage is plump with meaning, despite the contemptible short shrift given it by UNESCO at the bidding of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Quite horrible of Israel to defend its borders from the incursion of people infused with hatred of Jews, instructed by Hamas to bring along weapons and to infiltrate the Jewish state to help it celebrate the recognition of Jerusalem as its capital; a dreadful misunderstanding, for which Hamas operatives paid the deadly price.

So selfish of Mr. Trump to think in terms of "America First", as though members of the European Union think of themselves as one big happy family sans borders, without a single thought of their aspirational national fortunes before those of their neighbours. Sad that Britain has decided to ditch the family, but true to form remains concerned about the fallout on trade; in that area alone it fits right in with the others it spurns.

Of course the European governments who deplore Trump's unwillingness to absorb more migrants and refugees particularly from countries that breed Islamist terrorists are themselves focused on migration, but challenged by their pledge to fight Islamophobia making them truly conflicted as though they share a fundamental pathology of both inviting and rejecting the random violence that has afflicted their societies and threatens to overturn their culture and reverse their laws and their politics.

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