Trump: Hostile to Europe, voids Tillerson’s “ironclad” ally pledge

The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and Federica Mogherini the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy jointly addressed the Press. Their statements followed an informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers with the American dignitary. Shoot location: Brussels – Belgium. Shoot date: 05/12/2017. Copyright: European Union.

At the end of last week, Rex Tillerson, the US State Department Secretary was intentionally undermined by President Donald Trump. This surprise move from the White House came only hours after the former gave an “’ironclad’ promise of U.S. support to its oldest allies in Europe”. To undercut this pledge, the White House leaked information that Tillerson may be fired before the end of the year and be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump inner cycle confident. The next day Trump didn’t refute the information, he just said Tillerson is not leaving.

In any case, this was clearly a White House machination to dent Tillerson’s reassurances to the Europeans, the very moment when the State Secretary was ready to set off to a NATO and EU tour in Europe. The message was received badly on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. According to a Reuters report, “an EU official involved in diplomacy with White House officials said ‘Tillerson comes to Brussels to give a public statement of support that the EU and NATO have wanted all along, it seems he has no mandate, that the guillotine is hanging over his head. It leaves Europe just as doubtful as before about Trump.” Last Tuesday, Tillerson started  a tour of the European institutions in Brussels, the EU and NATO, and participated in an informal meeting of the European Foreign ministers.

Trump undermines Tillerson

Undoubtedly, there are crucial differences between Trump and Tillerson on many key global issues. For example, regarding the US stance towards Europe and North Korea, the two men appear to be definitely split. The White House follows an unrestrictedly aggressive line in both cases. Some months ago, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, during her state visit to Washington D.C. was abused by Trump.

In their joint Press conference, she had to listen to the US President saying that many European NATO countries and more particularly Germany owed hundreds of billions to the US and the Alliance. Supposedly, they owe huge amounts of money because those countries had not been spending for years a certain part of their GDP on armaments, and of course not buying American goodies. Trump repeated those remarks in his first official participation in the annual NATO meeting in Brussels last spring, enraging the Europeans.

Anti European words and actions

The next anti-European step by Trump came at his official visit to Saudi Arabia. In Riyadh, the American President after having secured $220 billion in Saudi contracts with the US, exorcised Iran and threatened to pull out from the P5+1 agreement with Iran. The P5+1 nations (US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) agreement of 2015 with Iran, provided that the latter country accepted to stop its nuclear program and be duly inspected about that. In exchange, the P5+1 nations lifted a long and devastating embargo.

The first to profit from Tehran’s opening to the world were the Europeans. The airplane maker Airbus and the French oil giant Total singed hefty contracts with Iran, which are now in limbo because the US may again choose to impose an embargo. On top of that, Trump while in Riyadh, labelled Iran as a terrorist country, the sole source of terrorist action in the Middle East. And all that from Saudi Arabia, a well known supporter of all and every Sunni Muslim terrorist organization in the entire world. In this way Trump is undermining the business openings Europe, and more particularly France and Germany have in Iran. On the contrary, the US don’t stand a chance to get anything from this country.

Bought by Saudi money

Trump’s full siding with the Saudis has already created more waves of insecurity in the Middle East, as for example in the Lebanon. Some weeks ago, the Saudis practically arrested the Prime Minister of this country and forced him to read in a TV appearance his resignation address. Lebanon has been an old colony and a traditional ally of France. Paris rushed to protect the Lebanese PM and had difficulties taking him to France. President Emmanuel Macron had to fly to Riyadh in order to save the Lebanese premier.

In the latest development, the White House quite openly and summarily undermined State Department’s European opening. Tillerson’s ‘ironclad’ reassurances and the subsequent uncanny attack of Trump against his minister was a lesson to many. The Europeans learned the difficult way, that Trump’s aggressive stance will not change and actually may worsen.

Spreading insecurity

Europe is also anxious with the US – North Korea deadlock. Both sides threaten each other with total war and nuclear inferno. Trump has again sidestepped Tillerson in this affair too, by telling him in a twitter “not to lose his time with North Korea”. The State Department had secured a direct line of communication with the leadership of the isolated country and the White House managed to cut it off. Trump’s dangerous changes of the American foreign policies have no end.

He pulled the US out from the Paris Climate Agreement and threatens the world with a dangerous reshuffling of global trade flows. He targets countries like Germany for exporting more product than what they import from the US. His latest inflammatory decision is his readiness to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and preparing to move the US embassy there. All the leaders in this region have contested this prospect as a precarious step. Only the extreme right wing and religious bigots of Israel and their US relations support this decision, despite or probably because it may trigger a new wave of violence and deadly warfare.

Mogherini reacts

Undoubtedly, a new bloodshed in Palestine will decisively corner the moderate voices in all sides of the conflict and secure the position of warmongers. In this way, Trump must be repaying one of the many debts he undersigned, in order to land at the White House. Europe is again targeted in her underbelly of East Mediterranean and the Middle East. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaking in Brussels in the presence of Tillerson, said “any action that would undermine peace efforts to create two separate states for the Israelis and the Palestinians must absolutely be avoided”. She also stressed that Europe’s position vis-a-vis the status of Jerusalem is that it has to be agreed through negotiations.

Before that, the EU Foreign affairs ministers had an informal meeting with the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. According to an EU Press release “Mongherini and the EU foreign ministers and the US State Secretary discussed how to strengthen transatlantic cooperation on major global challenges”. The wording would have been warmer and more meaningful hadn’t the presence of Tillerson in Europe been undermined by the White House.

All in all, the Europeans have no doubts left that Trump’s America is not what it used to be for the Old Continent: the integral part of an ‘ironclad’ alliance.

 

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