Prospects of Europe-US relations in view of intensified differences over the Aukus Pact

Strategic Council Online-Interview: A professor at the University of Tehran called the recent tensions between France and the United States over the Aukus pact affect NATO cooperation and said that the alliance between Britain, Australia and the United States was being analyzed in the context of the Cold War with China and Europe does not have a good memory of it due to being ignored in the Cold War.

Hadi Dolatabadi told the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations that the cancellation of the 56-billion-euro contract to but submarine from France by Australia and its decision to purchase such equipment from the US and Britain is a significant blow to the status, economic and technological development of France.

He added that in strategic terms, when France faces such problems, it tries to react fiercely and this approach is related to the same Grand Strategy of General Charles de Gaulle.

Referring to the sharp criticism of French officials against the United States, the summoning of the US ambassador for the first time and the cancellation of the joint meeting of the two defense ministers, he added that France considers US withdrawal from Afghanistan without consulting European allies, as well as cancellation of submarine purchase agreement two severe blows to its position in the international system because France imagined that with Joe Biden in the White House the US is returning from the Trump’s unilateralism however with these two decisions, it became clear that this US approach would still continue.

The professor of the French Studies Department at the University of Tehran described France’s recent critical stance against the United States as a lack of confidence among them despite Trump’s departure, citing a New York Times report claiming that Paris was seeking ways to exit NATO in view of the Aukus security pact.

He added that these challenges will also affect cooperation in NATO; because in the current situation, we are witnessing an intensification of discussions about the European defense alliance.

Dolatabadi said recent issues have also made it clear to them that Europe must prioritize its own strategies and that it will be far less likely to benefit from a partnership with the United States. Even now, France is trying hard to put an end to its disregard for US interests with a show of force.

Europe escaping another Cold War

Explaining the dimensions of the Aukus Pact, according to which a number of US-made nuclear-powered submarines whose technology was previously monopolized by the US and Britain will be handed over to Australia, Dolatabadi said the alliance formed among Britain, Australia and the US is analyzed within the framework of Cold War with China and Europe does not have a good memory of it due to being ignored in the Cold War.

Referring to French President Emnanuel Macron’s remarks that Americans should not think Europe would always back Washington in its efforts against China, he said in fact, Europe and France are critical to the formation of a Cold War region and see themselves as marginalized under these conditions.

Explaining the US view of relations with its allies under conditions in which China seeks further allies under various treaties, including joining the trade pact of ” Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said  to contain China, the United States seeks to form new alliances and increase its presence in East Asia, while never taking European powers seriously, and in fact, after World War II, the US has sufficiently influenced Europe with the “Marshall Plan” and has made a very strong foothold.

Dolatabadi noted that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly established republics signed military and security pacts with the United States to secure their independence from the former Soviet Union, which increased their presence and influence in these republics.

US not worried about its partnership with Europe

He added that “the United States is not that worried about its partnership with Europe, and as far as it can it uses “Iranophobia “or” Chinaophobia” to advance its strategic partnerships around the world, and knows it can work with them in these cases at the same time and can easily ignore cases that are not in its interest.

Dolatabadi emphasized that we have seen pragmatic American policy since Trump. Democrats have now come to the conclusion that the unilateralism and bullying used by the United States under Trump have in some cases served the interests of the US and that other countries have been forced to accept that policy; Thus, unless a strong coalition of US’s European partners is formed for real and strong opposition, the continuation of US unilateralism in Biden’s policies can be seen.

He described London’s growing support for Washington after the Brexit as a factor in the continuation of US unilateralist policies, and noted the plans that Europe has made so far to establish military and security independence from the United States. He said the US has always opposed defense alliance plans in parallel with NATO, and Europe has many challenges along this way.

This university professor, referring to the remarks by French and Australian officials that France’s anger of the cancellation of the contract of submarines between the two countries would not stop talks on free trade agreement between Australia and the European Union, said “the European Union is Australia’s third largest trading partner. Besides France has to look realistically at Europe’s status and its internal challenges vis-a-vis the United States, and is unlikely that France would be able to persuade other European countries to follow its logic.

According to Dolatabadi in the current context, France is pursuing the idea of ​​independence with the aim of showing that it is serious in this regard; But the truth is that this seriousness is not accompanied in practice with specific approaches and policies.

He added that “European countries know that if France were to take action against the United States and create a new independent organization, most of its key posts would be held by Germany, France and sometimes Italy, as the EU’s defense and military posts have now been occupied by these powers. Therefore, they do not want to be under the banner of the sometimes authoritarian policies of these countries and to put their national armies under the control of the European army; So France is on a very difficult path to achieving the goal of European independence from the United States.”

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