An uncomfortable realisation is making its way through the halls of power in London, Canberra and some in Washington. Since the end, World War 2, a sense Western unity has existed against the threats of Communist aggression. Due to the destroyed nature of Europe and its own ambitions, the United States took the leading role. This provides power and control while direct as the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, the systems of the world have taken American position and reviewed by the nation. Yet with the United States losing its industrial base and facing growing domestic issues that position has been undermined and is now challenged. Western unity has not moved to be against China. Europe increasingly raises questions about its own intentions and if it aligns with its former allies.
Brexit Reveals True Beliefs
Before Brexit, many in the United Kingdom talked about shared values and friendship with the European Union. There was a belief that was told that those in Berlin, Paris and Brussels where working with the United Kingdom on the grand project of the European Union. That they all shared a bond as Europeans and that this allowed everyone to be helped and also achieve greatness. Pointing to the fact that you could travel anywhere across Europe, they pushed belief of a close relationship. Yet actions since the people of the United Kingdom voted democratically to leave have shown the true values and thoughts of those on the continent. Brutal diplomatically undermining of government thrown into chaos followed the vote, harsh, unforgiving negotiations with punishing Britain a goal, were cemented as the foundation of European policy. Recently the EU even tried to undermine the basis of the UK promoting independence and attempting to send Northern Ireland into chaos once more. The lie that a special relationship existed has been exposed by the actions.
Still Not Paying Its Share
A common issue that crosses party lines is that countries in NATO are not paying their fair share when compared to the American effort. President Obama and President Trump while in different ways both stressed that Europe needed to increase its funding. This has been rejected by most nations in NATO with Germany, perhaps the biggest example. Funding a military similar to the American presence would take a lot of money and commitment and possibly will disrupt the numerous social programs that have been established. While some nations have slowly increased military spending, it is in the backburner for most governments and is not popular with their citizens. For the United States getting European involvement in issues that they deem important has become more difficult. In the Middle East, Europe has started to take positions that are often against US interests. Russia, in many Americans minds, is not the threat that needs to be focused on. Even in Europe while claiming that NATO defence is needed, they trade heavily with Russia with not much concern. This has started to strain ties and create a great deal of tension and raise questions of loyalty.
Forgetting China or Ignoring It
Recent allegations against German firms still being active in regions where slave labour and re-education camps are active are the latest sign of European posture to China. While the EU often makes claims about human rights and other noble goals, the activities of European firms and governments when it comes to the abuses of China are much murkier. Most countries are not interested in creating issues with China. It is far away, and many see only benefits in having friendly relations. France is a notable exception due to its influence in Africa being threatened. For many of the Anglo world who find China’s current actions deeply concerning these support of the regime has been noted and is created a large rift. Europe has ignored the steady purchase by Chinese government linked entities of European assets and continue. With Europe seeming unwilling to challenge China it is taking on a more neutral role then what would be expected of a ally. Economically already many European nations and the European Union itself is seeming to take China’s side over Western partners.
Questions remain if the EU and Europe in a general sense will remain part of the US alliance. Perhaps it is wishing for a more independent position in world affairs that it was afford in the Cold War. Yet recent policy around the United States has been mixed. Germany itself has had mixed statements about its position in reference to the American military bases that are within the country. The next President of the United States is going to have to deal with a strained and more complicated situation with Europe.