Will the Coronavirus Widen the Rift Between US and Europe?

By Arthur Evans


By Arthur Evans – During the “100 days with COVID-19: lessons to be learned” international online summit held from June 15 to 19, leading experts and politicians from more than 20 countries discussed the unforeseen changes that have in recent months happened in global politics and economics.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic has dominated international headlines, it has also exacerbated the serious differences already existing between the United States and Europe.

During the online summit, Michael Schumann, the President of the Federal Association for Economic Development and International Trade of Germany) said that “Germany should move away from US dominance and focus on its interests. We should turn to China and Africa, India and, of course, Russia. We must finally take full responsibility for our own destiny.”

Another German expert, Stefan K. Ossenkopp (journalist, blogger and scientist) emphasized that “Europe needs to get rid of not only COVID-19, but also of a geopolitical, ideological virus that makes Europeans think that they need only one strategic partner –the United States.” He noted that the liberal elite and representatives of the US military-industrial complex are intentionally disparaging China and Russia, thus nudging the West towards a confrontation with them.

Another German participant, Mirjam Zwingli, believes that peace and stability in the long haul are possible only through cooperation with Russia. However, the West is deliberately demonizing the Russian Federation as it tries to create the image of a common enemy and justify defense outlays.

The experts also said that amid the ongoing fight against COVID-19, the unprecedented US sanctions designed to thwart the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and which directly affect the interests of large European companies working in this field and of millions of ordinary citizens of the European Union, have somehow failed to gain enough public attention.

However, about 18 percent of Europe’s natural gas consumption comes from the Russian Federation, and Washington’s new restrictive measures call into question the billions of dollars invested in the project by private companies of many countries, primarily Austria, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and France. Moreover, from the standpoint of international law, the US action flies in the face of the free market laws and WTO regulations.

Russia, from which the Americans purportedly protect Europe, has an impeccable and longstanding record of working in the gas market and has never abused its position as a major supplier of energy resources.

However, if the US succeeds in forcing its natural gas on Europe, then it could effectively turn it into a strong instrument of pressure on Europeans.

Another important thing the participants of the online discussion focused on was the shaky trust between the US and Europe, seriously undermined by former CIA intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about large-scale wiretapping of top government officials of leading Western countries authorized by the White House.

“Everyone is spying on everyone, everyone knows this and everyone understands this. The Germans hoped the US would protect them and so they stopped developing their own security forces, became weak and fell into decay. Germany and its people became dependent, that’s why Berlin must build its new security architecture,” Michael Schumann said.

Adding to the Americans’ woes was a series of big-time flops by their spook agencies, such as the exposure of a US “double agent” in Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND)who had sold “scores of documents and internal information” to the CIA, and the abduction in Milan of Egyptian preacher Hassan Mustafa Osam Nasr by CIA agents, an operation for which all the 25 of them involved in the kidnapping were tried in absentia and sentenced by a court in Rome.

The US illegal activity on the territory of European countries became public and caused serious concern among their political leadership who were forced to reconsider the procedures for their national security services’ collaboration with allies.

More and more people within the European expert community now tend to believe that emergence from the global coronavirus pandemic will come with significant changes in the global system of international political and economic relations. This is primarily due to Washington’s continued violation of the established norms of competition in the world market. As a result, the Old World is losing trust in the United States. Meanwhile, the Russian Federation’s position on the key issues remains unshaken as Moscow demonstrates its readiness to engage in mutually-beneficial and equal cooperation.

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