The president of the European Commission says the EU needs to replace the U.S. as a global superpower because President Trump has announced that the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Jean-Claude Juncker had strong words. But is he right?
Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
“At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence…”
Those are the words of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during an address to Belgium’s Flemish Regional Parliament in Brussels. He says that the European Union should take over as global leader because the U.S. “no longer wants to cooperate” with the world, as it’s abandoning the Iran nuclear deal.
Is the EU posturing after President Donald Trump said the new U.S. sanctions against Iran would impact anyone who deals with Iran, including companies in the EU?
One sign indicating EU is posturing is talk of sanctioning the U.S.
According to Reuters, EU officials are revamping a blocking statue used by the governing body in the 1990s to threaten then-President Bill Clinton’s administration when the U.S. tried to penalize foreign businesses trying to work with Cuba.
It worked, coupled with a political strategy, and Washington backed down.
Basically, the statute blocks EU companies from following U.S. sanctions and doesn’t recognize court rulings enforcing U.S. penalties for non-compliance. But it’s never actually been used and is seen by EU governments as more of a warning to the U.S. than anything.
Now, the idea that Europe should or would replace the U.S. as global leader is somewhat silly at this point.
Through NATO, the United States uses its massive military to protect and pay for protection for 27 European nations, with the U.S. spending more than double and in some cases triple for defense.
But the underlying concern behind Juncker’s statements are the very real questions about the reasons for President Trump’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal, especially when the IAEA says Iran is in fact following the agreement.
The IAEA Director General released a statement last week stating, “As requested by the United Nations Security Council and authorized by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2015, the IAEA is verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.
“Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime under the JCPOA, which is a significant verification gain. As of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran.”
So what you need to know is that there are actually multiple storylines here.
The EU leadership posturing, stating the U.S. should no longer be the world leader—that isn’t really worth debating.
The IAEA saying that Iran is following the deal—that is something we need to pay attention to.
And finally, the biggest, most under-reported storyline so far—the fact that Israel is pushing this decision at the same moment that nation launching military strikes against Iranian positions in Syria.
Again, that is the question here. Is the U.S. going to be dragged into another Middle East war, this time alongside Israel against Iran and Syria?
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