G7: The climax of the US-EU conflict - ÖZLEM ALBAYRAK

G7: The climax of the US-EU conflict

Certainly, controversial situations have risen between Trump's America and EU countries in the past. For instance, after Apple was subjected to tax fines in Europe in 2016, a fine of around $3 billion was issued by U.S. courts in April 2017 to Volkswagen due to the emission scandal, which was construed as a principle of "reciprocation" by many.

Last month, Trump announced that he would withdraw from the nuclear deal signed with Iran during the presidency of Barack Obama, and he made this decision despite the warnings by other countries party to the agreement such as China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, announcing that economic sanctions against Iran would be imposed again. This is a good example to sense the potential hazards of political policies vowed to destroy much of what the predecessor built.

But Trump was not willing to settle only for that; as if it was not enough, he announced that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, messing up all equilibrium policies, international strategy plans, and challenging goals hanging on knife’s-edge. This was one of Trump's controversial issues with Europe. This decision alone meant that the consolidation of interests in the Middle East with Israel by Trump's U.S. would actually make a modest contribution to transforming the region into a bloodbath. We all know well what happened in the region after this decision, which was rightly protested by Turkey. It is one thing not to be capable of predicting consequences of a decision, it is quite another to be filled with such an ignorant self-confidence to the level of insisting on that decision despite the foreseeable horrific consequences; and I actually do not know which is worse.

Trump has most recently caused a huge scandal at the G7 Summit. He came late and left the summit early, pulling out of signing the joint conclusion statement. The summit in Canada has already begun under the shadow of supplementary customs tariffs that the U.S. has imposed on its European partners. What is meant by supplementary customs tariffs is respectively 25 percent and 10 percent of additional customs tariffs on steel and aluminum that the U.S. imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, as of June 1. The EU, in turn, imposed additional customs tariffs to some U.S. goods. It was trusted by EU leaders that this issue would be resolved during the summit. The unconcerned attitude of Trump has severely disappointed the partners, who had expected a negotiation and consensus in this regard. The infamous G7 photo of Merkel on social media was a bit of a sign of this frustration and anger.

The behavior of Trump was, in fact, far beyond nonchalant. Trump almost overtly and publicly traded barbs with particularly Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and other leaders through his Twitter posts following the summit and threatened especially Germany and EU auto producers, announcing that they were examining customs taxes on automobiles in the U.S. market,. Trump's chief trade advisor Peter Navarro said that German automobile manufacturers had facilities in the United States, but that U.S.-produced parts were used in only 35 percent of the vehicles.

I think the world is way too globalized for us to say we are not worried about Trump's actions. As a matter of fact, the decisions such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, which would lead Israel to increase its bullying in the region, were a clear indication that Trump's acts would directly affect other countries. Indeed, Turkey, troubled by the Mavi Marmara incident, would not be expected to remain indifferent to it. And it was not indifferent indeed.

On the other hand, the fights of Trump's U.S. with the EU were interpreted as the end of the economic and political cooperation and partnership that was established after the Second World War, and this seems to be true. It seems that a new period of conflict of interests among Western allies, in which post-war ideological rapport starts to fade away and economic interests gradually emerges, is to be much more brutal than ever. And no one will ever have the luxury of an easy escape without being harmed by this conflict.

Trump finally came together with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who was an object of mockery for the international media for years, being demonized in the extreme, and presented as a global clown in the U.S. and the EU during the presidency of Barack Obama and his predecessors. Time will tell us whether this alliance will continue, or if Trump's legacy would be refusal of thesis of Obama and all democrats.

What certainly can be said is that it was unfavorable that Obama attempted to redesign the Middle East, constantly made U-turns, and remained silent when expected to act or vice versa. But it seems that the evils caused by Trump, who put aside all international practices such as diplomacy, courtesy, and delicacy, will not be merely limited to indirectly causing the death of dozens of Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. There is nothing worse than insisting on evils with foreseen consequences.

In other words, Trump will cause more troubles for the East and the West; both Muslims and non-Muslims, and he will terrorize the world even more.


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