Middle East

2021 failure

The unfortunate United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow has finished the dark situation.

The end of the year invites consideration of the events and trends that shaped it. 2021 contains the Covid-19 pandemic, which was recently reactivated by a variant of Omicron. A steady march of climate change. This puts more pressure on us to reach net zero emissions. Geopolitical tensions, especially competition between the great powers between the United States and China. In all these respects, 2021 was a year of deterioration.
2020 was difficult, but it ended with hope. An effective Covid-19 vaccine was deployed. The United States had a new president, who, unlike his predecessor, was aware of the threat posed by climate change and the value of the US alliance. Nato was developing a new strategic concept. Effective action to address the challenges facing the West seemed to be a real possibility.
Still, over the past year, these challenges have simply escalated and increased. The unprecedented global social experiment brought about by the pandemic, including the confinement of people in their homes, is putting a serious burden on society. The deepening of polarization is torn at the seams of democracy.
Even in a country with a well-established liberal democracy, the government’s underwriting of extraordinary power does not help. That trend is likely to continue long after the emergency is over. Beyond the indisputable psychological sacrifice of the blockade, the perception of abuse of power can have lasting consequences for future public support, including the perception of citizens of the social contract. Recognizing the threat to democracy around the world, US President Joe Biden recently held a virtual summit on this topic (including a suspicious guest list). But, as some experts have observed, renewing democracy requires something more fundamental. On the economic front, recovery is highly asymmetric, with some showing strong progress and others continuing to sustain life. Today, supply shocks and soaring energy prices are creating more headwinds, along with a new wave of travel bans and blockades. And amid rising financial risks and inflationary pressures, policy makers and multilateral financial institutions are forced to strike a delicate balance.
The lack of effective multilateral action during the pandemic was illustrated by the great contradictions in access to vaccines, further highlighting the inadequate ability of the global system to address common challenges. The unfortunate United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow finished the dark situation.
The decline in confidence in international cooperation did not come at its worst. Russia is currently gathering troops near its border with Ukraine. And as China acts more aggressively than ever, the risk of conflict in the Western Pacific continues to rise.
The series of virtual summits could not relieve tension. And new security mechanisms, especially Quad, a loose coalition of four major democracies in the Indo-Pacific region, and the AUKUS Defense Pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States provide the necessary vision clarity and a comprehensive approach. Missing. To ensure stability.
Against this backdrop, further asymmetric warfare and geopolitical turmoil are expected in 2022. As the CCP prepares for the 20th National Convention in October, CCP leaders will continue to actively resist and provide cooperation on common issues such as climate change. Western efforts to counter the growing influence of their country.
Strengthening frayed transatlantic relations must be a top priority for the West to negotiate from a strength standpoint. That was the point of Biden’s recurring slogan, “America is back,” which denied Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine.
Still, the transatlantic relationship is nowhere on track. For example, it wasn’t until last month that the Biden administration announced that it would withdraw tariffs on European steel and aluminum by Trump. Also, according to the latest transatlantic scorecard produced by the Brookings Institution, US-Europe relations fell from an average of 6.6 (1-10 scale) at the end of June to 5.3 at the end of September.
It is up to Biden to show his administration’s determination to restore transatlantic relations. However, it is unlikely that it will happen soon. American political tradition stipulates that foreign policy should be given more weight in the second phase when the president is no longer faced with reelection. So far, Biden is obsessed with his low approval rate, the November mid-term parliamentary elections, and the possibility of Trump’s return as a Republican 2024 presidential candidate.
Therefore, in 2022, Europe needs to reinvigorate its impetus to ensure greater strategic independence from the United States. A growing sense of vulnerability may help focus Europe’s minds, but 16 years later, Europe’s foreign policy was effectively steered by the steady hands of long-time German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Success is not easy because it is gone.
Indeed, Merkel’s successor Olaf Scholz recently met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, officially confirming their common ambition to strengthen the “strategic sovereignty” of the European Union. did. However, there is a wide gap between words and deeds in Europe, and France and Germany may no longer be the driving force of the EU. In post-Brexit Europe, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi is manipulating his country towards a central stage.
It is important for Europe to strengthen its strategic independence, but it should not turn its back on the United States. It certainly should not try to draw an intermediate path between China and the United States. Europeans cannot forget that our common structure is the most important example of the paradigm of ensuring peace through prosperity and ensuring prosperity through open exchanges. However, its paradigm is based on resilience, and there is little room for ambiguity or passiveness here.
There has always been disagreement between the United States and Europe. It doesn’t change. But they are bound by common values ​​and similar institutions, and the challenges they face are more complex than ever. To move forward together, we need honest introspection, including approval of the West’s own democratic failure. And realism tells them they should. – Project Syndicate

•• Ana Palacio, a former Foreign Minister of Spain and a former Senior Vice President and Legal Advisor of the World Bank Group, is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University.



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