US President Donald Trump is preparing for a “decisive clash” with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. And given the fact that the price of this trade war is becoming more apparent, Europeans are increasingly frustrated by the desire of the American president to open a “second front” against them, Bloomberg columnists Patrick Donahue and Jonathan Stearns write.
Perhaps the “alienated” European allies of the United States do not understand the logic that Trump is guided in its offensive. But, according to representatives of the EU, they have already come to terms with the constant attacks of Washington, and even used to repulse the “aggressive policy” of the White House.
“If Trump speaks seriously about his threats, then we are ready for them. Our list of countermeasures has already been compiled, ”said European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in a recent interview.
In the EU, it is assumed that negotiations with the United States to raise duties on European cars risk falling into a dead end. But Brussels officials are confident that their response will be “effective enough to hit the American president in the most painful place.”
Previously, the Europeans imposed sanctions on Harley Davidson motorcycles and bourbon in an attempt to affect the main electoral base of Trump. The EU also tried to take measures against the American technology giants, after which members of the US Congress immediately sent a letter to Brussels with a request to “calm down their fervour,” Bloomberg said.
“The problem is that Europeans can hardly do anything. The EU can hold its own in a trade dispute, but they are not powerful enough in geopolitics. This means that the EU has limited influence on US policy in places like Syria, the Persian Gulf, and the South China Sea, ”states Donahue and Stearns.
The difficulty is that the EU leaders feel that they are the natural allies of Washington in its dispute with Beijing. The Europeans largely share the American president’s dissatisfaction with Chinese business methods, although they favour a more diplomatic approach.
Trump’s attacks on China and Huawei echoes the fears of Europeans. But instead of creating a united front against the communist government of Beijing, Trump presents the EU with an even larger list of claims that are not limited to trade, the publication emphasizes.
“Europe treats us worse than China,” Trump said in a recent interview, again complaining about Germany’s low defence spending and the construction of the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.
At the same time, he made it very clear that Europe would become the next target of his trade offensive. EU representatives believe that key figures in the Trump administration will challenge the introduction of new tariffs on the European auto industry. But there are other factors that say that the threat of higher fees is still real. In May, the American president agreed with a report by the Department of Commerce that the import of foreign cars undermines US national security.
“Even the economic influence of Europe is limited when it tries to control the course of events beyond the banal trade issues. The most striking example of this is the situation with Iran, ”Bloomberg observers note.
On the one-sided withdrawal of Trump from the nuclear agreement with Tehran in 2015, European responded by creating an investment mechanism designed to circumvent US sanctions and preserve some of the economic benefits of the Islamic Republic. But because of the domination of the dollar and the threat of retaliation from Washington, no company dared to use it.