Relaciones Transatlánticas

En 1991 llegué a Detroit para realizar mi primera visita a Estados Unidos. Mis anfitriones, de la ya extinta Agencia de Información de EE UU, estaban decididos a mostrarme a mí y a los demás búlgaros del grupo no solo el sueño americano, sino sus puntos débiles. Antes de recorrer la ciudad, nos dieron instrucciones sobre cómo conducirnos en lugares supuestamente peligrosos. Nuestros anfitriones dejaron claro que, si no queríamos convertirnos en víctimas, no debíamos actuar como tales. Caminar por en medio de la calle y mirar nerviosamente a nuestro alrededor con la esperanza de encontrar un policía solo aumentaría la probabilidad de un atraco.…  Seguir leyendo »

Même l’Amérique de Trump peut avoir raison contre l’Europe

L’administration américaine a annoncé le 3 octobre, une série de mesures protectionnistes portant sur une liste de produits européens emblématiques : des taxes additionnelles de 10 % sur les avions civils, et même de 25 % sur un grand nombre de produits couvrant fromages italiens et anglais, whiskys irlandais et écossais, vins français, outils allemands et olives espagnoles, etc.

On pourrait voir là une nouvelle manifestation de la stratégie du président Donald Trump, prônant des guerres commerciales « bénéfiques et faciles à gagner ». C’est au contraire le retour à une certaine normalité des relations internationales en termes d’échanges commerciaux que nous signale cet épisode, ce dont il faut certainement se féliciter.…  Seguir leyendo »

Donald Trump walks from Marine One to Air Force One at Ocala International Airport on 3 October. Photo: Getty Images.

A tactical approach to Turkey has failed

Lindsay Newman

The US approach to Turkey under President Donald Trump has been tactical, consisting of a series of mixed signals.

In August 2018, the US imposed sanctions on several Turkish officials to pressure for the release of detained American pastor Andrew Brunson. With the Turkish lira plummeting, Brunson was released in October of that year.

In a separate incident, after squeezing Turkey economically, the US offered to work with Turkey in the investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But later, the White House considered reopening the case of the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, long sought by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a bid to convince Turkey to reduce pressure on Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi killing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, President Trump ordered an investigation into France’s new tax on Apple, Facebook, Google and other large digital companies. The administration is considering strong retaliatory measures, on the grounds that it unfairly targets U.S. companies.

This is the latest stage in a long-running battle. France introduced its “digital services tax” because it felt that the Group of 20 nations weren’t making progress toward a new global agreement on taxing technology companies. Britain, Spain, Italy and others are pursuing similar taxes.

Some commentators view the Trump probe as just “a new angle of attack” in an ongoing transatlantic rift between the United States and Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

Relations between the United States and the European Union are at an all-time low. Since becoming president, Donald Trump has done everything possible to undermine the unity of the bloc and question its principles. He has walked away from agreements on climate change, the Iran nuclear deal and trade. He pours scorn on the E.U.’s antitrust regulations, claiming they are about hurting U.S. tech companies. He supports Brexit and praises the populist, anti-migration policies of Hungary and Poland.

Much of his criticism targets Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel. He blames her for Europe’s migration crisis and accuses her of using trade policies to boost German exports, especially cars to the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump’s 50-minute-long meeting on Sunday with Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, in the Korean Peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone was, in typical Trumpian fashion, good television. But it has the potential to be something much more significant.

While meeting in the thin buffer zone established after the end of the Korean War, the two leaders agreed to resume talks about Pyongyang’s nuclear program. That may not sound like much. But following March’s failed summit in Hanoi, it could provide the basis for detailed talks between real negotiators, signifying an important step toward reaching an agreement to address the global threat of North Korea’s nuclear program.…  Seguir leyendo »

The old main bazaar in Tehran. After the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, it restored crippling sanctions on Iran, exacerbating a severe economic crisis.CreditCreditEbrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

To get around Tehran, nothing beats a motorcycle. It is cheap and fast, and you can break the laws of the gridlocked traffic at will. The motorcycle is the pulse of this city of 15 million. It is a nuisance and necessary. I try to cultivate a special relationship with motorcycle mechanics; without them, Tehran does not move. And when they talk, I listen.

Farzad, my motorcycle mechanic who works from a hole-in-the-wall garage in my neighborhood, complained that the price of engine oil had tripled in late May. “The customers think I’m ripping them off,” he said. “I tell them to go the bazaar and buy the oil themselves if they want, and I’ll change it for them.”

On a visit to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan I had bought him a pair of used hiking shoes for about $10.…  Seguir leyendo »

Donald and Melania Trump disembark Air Force One at Stansted Airport during their visit to the UK in 2018. Photo: Getty Images.

President Trump’s visit to the UK, Ireland and France on 3–6 June provides another opportunity to reflect on the health of the transatlantic relationship.

The situation is considerably different to July last year, when his UK trip was lampooned by commentators and hounded by protesters. Trump has now moulded a presidential administration that is far closer to his own worldview. The gloves are off when it comes to his two foreign policy priorities – Iran and China. He may have a less pliant US Congress, following the Democratic takeover of the House last November, but the failure of the Mueller report to land the killer blow that many of his opponents hoped, combined with a strong domestic economy, mean that he is now a favourite to win the 2020 election.…  Seguir leyendo »

A shared agenda: strengthening democracy at home

Leslie Vinjamuri

As Britain is set to leave the EU, many have argued that the US–UK relationship is bound to suffer a lasting setback, since a UK outside the EU cannot possibly be as important or helpful to the United States as one that is in.

To make matters worse, Trump’s policies on Iran, trade and climate are making it hard for the UK to align with its American ally. And Trump’s popularity among the UK electorate is reported to be as low as 21%, so the UK’s candidates for prime minister are likely to be cautious when considering how to engage this American president.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les anniversaires du débarquement allié du 6 juin 1944 s’inscrivent de plus en plus dans ce que l’on pourrait qualifier de diplomatie mémorielle, exercice très prisé de nos présidents sous la Ve République.

Depuis longtemps, la commémoration de Verdun est l’occasion de mettre en scène la réconciliation et l’amitié franco-allemandes, comme l’ont fait à Douaumont (Meuse), en septembre 1984, François Mitterrand et Helmut Kohl (il s’agissait d’ailleurs pour ce dernier d’un lot de consolation pour ne pas avoir été convié aux cérémonies du 6 juin précédent). Plus récemment, comme on l’a vu à l’automne 2018, la célébration du centenaire de l’armistice du 11 novembre 1918 est devenue l’occasion de mettre en avant la paix et la sécurité collective face au recul généralisé du multilatéralisme.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump greeting North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, at their Hanoi meeting in February.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

As deal-making goes, Donald Trump’s approach to negotiating with North Korea has resembled nothing so much as his purchase, in 1988, of New York’s Plaza Hotel: Rely on personal chemistry, ignore the advice of experts, neglect due diligence and then overpay for an investment that delivers no returns.

As with the Plaza, the result is about the same: a fiasco. Trump only avoided personal bankruptcy over the hotel thanks to the indulgence of his creditors. Who will bail out the United States — and at what price — for a bankrupt policy on the Korean Peninsula?

Vladimir Putin, maybe?

The Russian strongman certainly seemed to be angling for the role when he hosted Kim Jong-un at a summit in Vladivostok this week.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los esfuerzos rusos por influir en las elecciones europeas han recibido mucha atención de los medios. No puede decirse lo mismo de la interferencia por parte de grupos cristianos conservadores en Estados Unidos, algunos con vínculos con la administración del presidente Donald Trump y su ex asesor, Stephen Bannon.

Como ha revelado un informe reciente de openDemocracy, la derecha religiosa de Estados Unidos ha gastado por lo menos 50 millones de dólares en campañas de “dinero oscuro” y activismo en Europa en los últimos diez años. Sin embargo, a pesar de los motivos obvios de preocupación por la integridad de las elecciones del Parlamento Europeo del mes próximo, casi toda la atención ha estado depositada en el Kremlin.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las placas continentales de la Tierra se separaron y comenzaron a desplazarse hace cientos de millones de años. Pero alguien que hoy visite las capitales europeas o siga los acontecimientos en Washington bajo el presidente Donald Trump podría pensar que se está produciendo otra divergencia tectónica.

Es verdad que la desconfianza transatlántica no es nueva. Antes de la Guerra de Irak de 2003, el entonces secretario de defensa de los Estados Unidos, Donald Rumsfeld, trazó una controvertida línea entre la “vieja Europa” y “la nueva Europa”, formada esta última por los estados excomunistas que estaban más entusiasmados con la idea de seguir a Estados Unidos a la guerra.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announce negotiations to eliminate trade tensions between the EU and US. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The European Parliament has not endorsed two negotiating mandates that authorise the European Commission to start formal trade talks with the US – and instead ended up not taking a stance. Although any resolution by the parliament would have been non-binding, the unexpected vote adds a blow to forthcoming trade talks that already face a number of challenges.

The US tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium introduced by the Trump administration in the name of national security are a major source of friction. Although the removal of the metal tariffs will likely be a precondition for the conclusion of trade talks, the fact that the EU has been willing to start negotiations with the US while the tariffs are still in place has exposed the former’s U-turn on not negotiating ‘with a gun at its head’.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watching a news broadcast in Seoul, on the second day of meetings between North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam. Credit Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Outside the North Korean Embassy in Hanoi, a glass case displaying an array of patriotic photographs was reportedly reorganized just before Kim Jong-un’s arrival. The chairman’s portrait remained untouched at the top of the vitrine, but the images of fruit orchards and fishing boats had been swapped out for those of factories and a satellite antenna. A South Korean reporter, standing outside the embassy, observed that the new pictures seemed “tailored to fit a theme of Vietnamese-style reform and opening.”

Instead, President Trump and Mr. Kim cut short their parley, ending the summit on Thursday with no agreement in hand. Much of the American foreign policy establishment, including Democratic legislators, reacted with smug surprise.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hanoi Summit Misfires

The meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, held on 27-28 February in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, was a disappointment. The parties announced that they had failed to reach an agreement. According to the post-summit statements made by Donald Trump and DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, the main stumbling block was the price that the North Koreans demanded in exchange for the dismantling of their nuclear centre in Yongbyon.

Pyongyang insisted that the Americans should lift their economic sanctions against the DPRK, which were detailed in five resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Donald Trump with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as they headed to a meeting at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Having participated in nuclear negotiations with North Korea, I know what failure smells like. The truncated Hanoi summit, which concluded abruptly without an agreement between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, carried an awful stench.

There were high expectations for this second meeting of American and North Korean leaders after the lack of progress on denuclearization commitments made at their first summit, in Singapore last summer. And yet, not only did Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim fail to offer more empty promises, they even dispensed with signing a joint statement, canceled their planned ceremonial lunch, and skipped the joint news conference.

This outcome shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise.…  Seguir leyendo »

There were encouraging signs leading up to the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. For his part, Trump signaled a subtle but important shift in his approach toward North Korea’s denuclearization — repeatedly saying, «Speed is not important to me» and «I’m in no rush.» This indicated Trump finally was beginning to accept what most nonproliferation experts have been saying all along: That denuclearization of North Korea will be a long and complex process that may last over a decade.

The good vibes continued through the summit, as the usually reclusive Kim showed signs of opening up.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sailing teams from Britain and China compete in a race in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Getty Images.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond’s canceled trip to Beijing highlights the difficult trade-offs the UK faces in its relationship with China.

For the Chinese government, Hammond’s efforts to boost economic ties cannot happily coexist with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s remarks about sending an aircraft carrier to the Pacific and ‘oppos[ing] those who flout international law’. On top of the pressure the UK is under from other Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partners to take a tough line with Huawei’s participation in critical infrastructure, such a controversy could further damage a relationship that was already turbulent.

Seen from Beijing, China has been very clear about what it wants from a relationship with Britain, but Britain appears unable to decide what it wants from China.…  Seguir leyendo »