The Munich Security Conference report was published on February 17th, outlining much of what transpired at the event.
It provided sort of view into current global trends and the apparently waning US global hegemony.
The report, in its entirety, can be found here [pdf].
Two graphs initially stand out, showing what citizens of EU member countries think regarding which side should their country take in a conflict between the US and Russia and China respectively.
The presented data is quite showing:
It is not surprising that each country presented in the study, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Poland all show a better attitude towards the US, with much lower numbers of supporting the side of Russia, but what’s showing is that the majority in every single case prefer remaining neutral.
The biggest support for the US against Russia would be Washington’s premiere proxy state in the EU – Poland, and still 45% of respondents wished to remain neutral.
Europeans have recently adopted similar language emphasizing a more competitive environment. Emmanuel Macron has warned that Europe, “if it can’t think of itself as a global power, will disappear, because it will take a hard knock.” In a similar vein, the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that her Commission would be a “geopolitical Commission.” Her successor as German Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, also noted in one of her first major speeches that we “are currently witnessing a return of great-power competition for spheres of influence and supremacy [as well as] authoritarian challenges to our open society.
Europe reportedly needs to figure out ways to “deal” with China, Europe and Iran, but these ways apparently need to be more individual, and not under the wing of Washington.
In the case of Russia, it is considered as a very viable and reliable business partner, which also complicates things of military competition with it, since it is not entirely viewed as the “great evil” that the US-aligned media attempts to so often portray it as.
China, somewhat, stays in the same boat, as being one of the global leading powers, and polls even showing that countries such as France consider it as the premiere economic power in the world in 2019.
And the report presents it as if Russia is attempting to antagonize Europe by “attempting to interfere in European elections, spreading ridiculous historical distortions, conducting a poison attack in Salisbury, or allegedly assassinating a former Chechen fighter in a Berlin city park,” however the polls also show that these are rather vague accusations, which were never accompanied by any evidence whatsoever.
In the case of historical rewriting, it’s also very clear for the general public which direction is carrying out the attempts to distort history.
“Still, many Europeans are skeptical whether an intensified confrontation with Russia is in Europe’s interest. Time and again, politicians are speculating about an incremental relaxation of sanctions. It seems as if it is Moscow that has the “strategic patience” that European politicians claim for themselves. As The Economist noted, Russia’s “undeserved readmission to the Council of Europe created the dangerous precedent of rehabilitation without reform.”
However, French President Emmanuel Macron made headlines by suggesting to “build a new architecture based on trust and security in Europe, because the European continent will never be stable, will never be secure, if we do not ease and clarify our relations with Russia.”
For the French President, Europe has to prepare for a world, in which the United States may not care about European interests to the extent it used to. The report also presents it as if Washington even has any interest in forwarding the EU’s interests and rather isn’t simply forwarding its own at the expense of all others.
Although many factors suggest that the Europeans will side with the United States if they have to make a choice, 115
America’s European allies “feel like they have been relegated to observer status.” Instead of being consulted, they just receive instructions, further undermining the relationship: “Europeans are tired of taking orders from Mr. Trump’s America, which makes them more inclined to ignore American directives on issues like Huawei.” As critics note, “calling on Europe to get tough on China, even as the US gets tough on Europe,” may not be the most promising strategy.
And it is proving true, since even US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “the West is winning” speech was met with awkward silence, as were the praises of how well the American economy was doing.
The “America First” policy, at the expense of all allies is met with critique and allied leaders saying that partnerships with the US needed to be reconsidered in a way that is beneficial to all, not simply to one side.
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