Spy poisoning united Western allies despite rifts

Xinhua
Many European mainstream media, including German weekly Der Spiegel, hold that even convinced Atlanticists can no longer deny the crisis of the transatlantic relations.
Xinhua

IN response to the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy with a nerve agent, more than 20 Western countries have announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

United States President Donald Trump on Monday announced that 60 Russian diplomats in the US will be expelled and the Russian consulate in Seattle will be closed.

Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia at a shopping center in Salisbury, Britain, on March 4.

Seldom have the US and its European allies danced at a synchronized tempo on the global stage since Trump assumed presidency.

Given the widening rift within the transatlantic alliance, the display of unity among the Western nations with regards to the double agent’s poisoning case is worth pondering.

There has been a shadow over the transatlantic partnership since Trump’s election and Brexit.

Trump embarrassed his European allies by refusing to shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a meeting in the Oval Office packed with journalists, making public a handshake rivalry with French President Emmanuel Macron, endorsing Brexit and openly criticizing Germany on its immigration policy.

In an attempt to comfort Europe, German magazine International Politics and Society said in an article posted on its website that although Trump has offended or humiliated nearly every single head of state or government, at least he hasn’t declared a war until now.

The relationship with its European allies has long been a critical cornerstone of the US foreign policy after World War II. Nevertheless, the Trump administration appears to have scrapped the tradition and start it all over again.

Since Trump took office, his “America First” policy has been frequently at odds with his European partners. He called NATO “obsolete,” opposed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate change, threatened to scrap the Iranian nuclear deal and announced moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

In recent years, there were increasing complaints and dissatisfaction with the US in Europe.

Many European mainstream media, including German weekly Der Spiegel, hold that even convinced Atlanticists can no longer deny the crisis of the transatlantic relations.

And it is Washington that poses the biggest threat to the values shared across the Atlantic.

German politician Rolf Mutzenich said in his article “End of Transatlanticism?” that Trump is not an accident of American history, but the result of years of arrogance and the self-righteous hubris of the American world power after the Cold War.

The US president has torn the mask off Washington’s face and shown the true face of an unscrupulous and self-reliant world power, Mutzenich said.

Due to their differences on strategies, interests and policies, the US and its European allies have been drifting apart. The poisoning incident helped Washington bond with its allies across the Atlantic despite the deepening rift, which could explain why they took collective action against Russia.


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