Donald Trump hasn’t ushered in a post-American world yet. But he is accelerating the demise of a benign hegemony that has made the world more peaceful and more prosperous with his policy of “America first”. Read more
The European Union and Japan have finalized a trade agreement that would create the world’s largest open economic zone when it comes into effect in 2019.
The deal cuts tariffs, harmonizes product regulations and liberalizes public procurement for a market of 600 million people.
The EU and Japan account for 28 percent of the world’s economic output.
In a joint statement, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe said the deal demonstrates their commitment “to keeping the world economy working on the basis of free, open and fair markets with clear and transparent rules.” Read more
European countries have agreed to deepen defense cooperation outside NATO.
The so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation involves 23 of the EU’s 28 member states.
Ireland and Portugal are expected to join later. Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom will probably stay out.
All EU countries in Central and Eastern Europe have signed up, despite their wariness of weakening defense ties with the United States. Read more
In another sign that the world isn’t waiting for the United States, eleven countries in Asia and Latin America have announced their intention to keep the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) alive.
One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to withdraw from the trade pact.
Japan and Mexico stepped into America’s place to salvage it.
Both have also intensified their trade negotiations with the EU, which itself is rushing to defend globalization from a suddenly protectionist America. Read more
European allies warned Donald Trump he could drive them into the arms of China and Russia if he decertified the Iran nuclear deal — and that is exactly what’s happening.
In a rare joint statement, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom reiterate their commitment to the 2015 agreement:
The nuclear deal was the culmination of thirteen years of diplomacy and was a major step toward ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is not diverted for military purposes.
European foreign-policy coordinator Federica Mogherini is even more adamant:
The deal has prevented, continues to prevent and will continue to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Trump nevertheless refuses to confirm Iran’s compliance and has threatened to withdraw from the agreement altogether unless it is somehow improved.
China and Russia, the other two signatories, have made common cause with the Europeans, virtually isolating the United States. Only Israel and the Arab Gulf states support Trump. Read more
American allies are coping with Donald Trump’s disruptive presidency in similar ways, a collection of essays in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine reveals:
- All feel they need to step up and defend the liberal world order as Trump is determined to put “America first”.
- They worry that a new era of American isolationism could make the world poorer and less safe.
- Leaders are doing their best to rein in Trump’s worst impulses and most of their voters understand the need for pragmatism, although they have little faith in this president. Read more
I argued here last month that Donald Trump was inadvertently breathing new life into the EU — whose demise he has publicly wished for — by driving France and Germany closer together.
Now Politico reports that Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have agreed to:
- Jointly develop a new generation of fighter jets;
- Push ahead, together with Italy and Spain, to procure a European alternative to American drones (a “Eurodrone”);
- Cooperate on military space surveillance; and
- Beam data to the EU’s European External Action Service for use in missions around the world.
At a joint news conference, Merkel also left the door open to creating a eurozone finance minister and harmonizing French and German tax rates.
“It’s complicated, but it could boost the internal market,” she said. Read more