Relaciones Transatlánticas

Illustration by The New York Times; photographs by Erin Schaff/The New York Times, Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times and Michael Sohn/Associated Press

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a speech that many likened to a declaration of a Cold War against China. Gone, he said, was “the old paradigm of blind engagement” that had prevailed since the Nixon administration. “If we want to have a free 21st century,” he continued, “the free world must triumph over this new tyranny.”

Mr. Pompeo’s speech made plain that the relationship between the two superpowers had reached a nadir in recent months, strained by escalating rounds of diplomatic sanctions and retaliations over territory, intellectual property, trade, the coronavirus, allegations of espionage and the repression in Hong Kong, among other disputes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Firefighters responding to a fire at the Chinese Consulate in Houston on July 21. Credit Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press

We’ll probably never know exactly what sorts of documents were incinerated at China’s Consulate in Houston in the days before the United States forced it to close on Friday, after accusing it of being a hub of espionage. We may also never know what caused this month’s catastrophic fire aboard the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard, a massive amphibious assault ship that was being fitted out to double as a small aircraft carrier, in the port of San Diego.

What we should know is that the two fires are actually one. We are racing toward a conflict with China we may be ill-prepared to wage.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled last week on the Schrems II case, and invalidated the Privacy Shield agreement by which the United States and the European Union regulate transatlantic flows of personal data for commercial purposes. While the judgment appears to apply only to a specific subset of personal data and only to E.U.-U.S. data flows, its implications are global.

The ruling doesn’t affect all data

The court’s July 16 ruling limits transfer to the United States of E.U. citizens’ “personal data,” not other data flows. Within this category of personal data, the judgment is further limited, as it does not apply to “necessary” data transfers to the United States, such as emails or online travel or hotel bookings.…  Seguir leyendo »

En su discurso de apertura en la reunión anual del Consejo Europeo de Relaciones Exteriores (ECFR por su sigla en inglés), el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores alemán, Heiko Maas, dijo que más allá del resultado de la elección presidencial de Estados Unidos en noviembre, los europeos “tendrán que pensar en cómo contener mejor los conflictos en la vecindad de Europa, aún sin Estados Unidos”.

Su punto de vista es popular. Muchos expertos europeos, como Janan Ganesh y Wolfgang Münchau del Financial Times, han venido sosteniendo que las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y la UE no cambiarían significativamente aún si un demócrata derrotara al presidente norteamericano, Donald Trump.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man walks past a bag printed with the portrait of China's revolutionary leader Mao Tse-tung on display outside a shop in Hong Kong. Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images.

Harder Line Could Accelerate Animosity with China

Coronavirus has dramatically reshaped the political and economic context for the US foreign policy debate. With more than 20 million Americans unemployed – and an unemployment rate above 13% – more than 125,000 deaths and the rate of infections continuing to climb across the south and south-west, and President Donald Trump polling more than 8% behind Joe Biden, it is hardly surprising that China and its role both in the pandemic and in the US economy continues to dominate foreign policy discussions.

In both the United States and Europe, the severity of the health and economic crisis driven by the pandemic has raised the stakes for policy on China and – especially in the UK, Germany, France and the wider EU – is tipping the balance towards those who advocate for a harder line on China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iraqi students pose for selfies with a member of the security forces during anti-government protests in Diwaniyah. Photo by HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP via Getty Images.

After the drone assassinations of senior Iraqi politician Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iranian general Qassim Soleimani, Washington hopes that agreeing issues of mutual economic interest will result in Iraqi calls for immediate troop withdraw to disappear.

But the hype surrounding these talks overlooks profound problems in the relationship. US foreign policy under Donald Trump is frankly incoherent and, beyond the bluster, focused on reducing US commitments across the Middle East, which has led to a rapid decrease in America’s diplomatic presence in Baghdad.

Added to this is that Iran has steadily increased its influence over Iraq’s ruling elite to the point where there is a distinct lack of freedom of action.…  Seguir leyendo »

Riot police in front of a luxury goods store in Hong Kong on the day Chinese lawmakers approve a proposal for sweeping new national security legislation in the city. Photo by Roy Liu/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The decision by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) to create new national security legislation for Hong Kong has seen criticism erupt in parts of the Hong Kong community and internationally. The US has raised the stakes in response, saying it will no longer treat Hong Kong as ‘autonomous’.

Many critics have attacked the process set out by Beijing, arguing that any national security legislation should be considered by Hong Kong’s legislature. That was indeed the original intention when the Basic Law was promulgated in 1990 but, since an aborted attempt to introduce legislation in 2003 and consistent lobbying against reviving it, Beijing seems to have concluded an alternative approach is needed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Trabajadores de una fábrica en la provincia de Anhui, en China, cosen pancartas para la campaña de reelección de Donald Trump.Credit...Aly Song/Reuters

¿Cuándo comenzó la Segunda Guerra Fría? Los historiadores del futuro dirán que fue en 2019.

Algunos insistirán en que la nueva Guerra Fría ya había comenzado —con Rusia— en 2014, cuando Moscú envió sus tropas a Ucrania. Pero el deterioro de las relaciones ruso-estadounidenses palidece en comparación con el ascenso del antagonismo chino- estadounidense que se ha desarrollado en los últimos años. Y aunque Estados Unidos y China probablemente pueden evitar una guerra “caliente”, una segunda Guerra Fría todavía es una posibilidad desalentadora.

Algunos académicos pedantes tal vez digan que la nueva Guerra Fría comenzó con la elección de Donald Trump en noviembre de 2016 o en enero de 2018, con su imposición inicial de aranceles a lavadoras y paneles solares importados, muchos de los cuales se fabrican en China.…  Seguir leyendo »

A United Nations staff member moving the flags of Iran and the United States after a group photo during the 2015 Iran Nuclear talks.Credit...Carlos Barria/Reuters

The momentous protests in Iran this autumn came at a delicate time in a tense standoff between the United States and Iran. Despite the recent prisoner swap, officials in Washington may see the prospects for diplomacy dimming. But that would be wrong. Iranian elections are coming, and without any American agreement to relent on sanctions, the current relatively conciliatory government might well lose all its influence in favor of far more confrontational hard-liners.

That calculus makes this exactly the time to take diplomacy seriously. While the opportunity for success may be slim, failing to reverse rising tensions now risks a serious escalation in frictions that would be more impervious to diplomacy down the road.…  Seguir leyendo »

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.”…  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 »