Relaciones Transatlánticas

Wind turbines near Zaragoza, Spain, December 2005. Gustau Nacarino / Reuters

Tensions roiled the annual World Economic Forum meetings in Davos earlier this month. Anxious diplomats and business leaders wondered whether China and the United States might de-escalate their confrontation and bury the hatchet. While continuing to endure a pandemic that has upended everyday life for years, Europeans have grappled with the ramifications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the form of an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.

But the forum also witnessed a more surprising confrontation. The United States and its European allies found themselves at odds over recent U.S. economic legislation. European policymakers accosted Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, for his role in finalizing U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

US President Joe Biden last week congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on his return to power as new Israeli prime minister. Getty Images

Barely a week into the most extreme government in Israel’s history, its controversial national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, is already demonstrating its right-wing religious and nationalist credentials.

On Tuesday, Ben Gvir visited the Jerusalem compound known as the Temple Mount by Jews and the Haram al-Sharif by Muslims – an action that threatens to upset an already precarious status quo and trigger violence.

Ben Gvir, who has previously been convicted of racist incitement, has vowed to institutionalize Jewish prayer and presence in perhaps the most volatile flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His stated intention for the visit was to mark one of the Jewish fast days.…  Seguir leyendo »

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and President Biden wave during a ceremony at the White House on Dec. 1. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The United States and Europe find themselves in a closer alliance than at any point in many decades. France has long been the European nation most reluctant to play junior partner in an American-led enterprise. In his first years in office, President Emmanuel Macron did his best to display his Gaullist credentials, describing NATO as “brain dead” and declaring his greatest priority to be developing Europe’s “strategic autonomy”, which he defined, in part, as separate from the United States.

Contrast that with Macron’s remarks in November, when he talked about NATO as a cornerstone of French and European security. While in Washington last week, he described the new goal for the continent as “strategic intimacy” with Washington and spoke of the need for even deeper cooperation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese and Saudi flags adorn a street in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit on Dec. 7. FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

In a remarkably prescient 2004 interview, then-Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal told former Washington Post journalist David Ottaway that the U.S.-Saudi relationship wasn’t a “Catholic marriage”, where only one wife was allowed; it was a “Muslim marriage”, where four wives were permitted. “Saudi Arabia was not seeking divorce from the United States; it was just seeking marriage with other countries”, Ottaway wrote.

That has now come to pass. Nowhere is this more clearly reflected than in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week—the first since 2016. Xi’s visit won’t be an awkward “let’s mend the fences” fist-bump moment.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Biden speaks to French President Emmanuel Macron at a White House state dinner on Thursday. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

President Biden’s state dinner on Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron was a mutual lovefest. But no amount of bonhomie can mask the inevitable incompatibility between the two men’s visions for Europe’s future.

Biden is an Atlanticist at heart. He is fully committed to the U.S.-European relationship, supports NATO wholeheartedly and has courted European leaders since his inauguration. His international and cosmopolitan liberalism also aligns him closely with the values of most Western European leaders, especially on matters such as combating climate change. He is as friendly an American president as European elites could hope for.

Yet he is an American president, and as such, he acts primarily in America’s interests.…  Seguir leyendo »

Biden and Macron at the G-7 summit, Kruen, Germany, June 2022. Ludovic Marin / Pool / Reuters

When French President Emmanuel Macron made his first state visit to Washington in 2018, he was in the midst of a fleeting bromance with U.S. President Donald Trump and the transatlantic alliance was in disarray. A champion of both multilateralism and pragmatism, the French president was on a mission to convince Trump to remain in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and maintain a significant U.S. military presence in northeastern Syria—neither of which was to be.

Macron’s second state visit, on December 1, 2022, will take place in a very different context. It comes a year after a public spat between France and the United States over the latter’s new security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom, known as AUKUS, which cost Paris a valuable submarine deal with Canberra, and at a time of renewed transatlantic unity following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Thanks to the Biden administration’s immunity decision, Prince Mohammed now has a level of protection from US legal actions.’ Photograph: Rex/Shuttersto

The Biden administration told a US judge last week that Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, should be granted immunity in a civil lawsuit over his role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That decision effectively ends one of the last efforts to hold the prince accountable for Khashoggi’s assassination by a Saudi hit team inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

It is an act of weakness and political cowardice by Joe Biden’s administration, which staked its reputation on holding Khashoggi’s killers accountable and centering its foreign policy on human rights, rather than accommodating autocrats.…  Seguir leyendo »

It took two years after Joe Biden was elected US President before the leaders of the world’s two most powerful countries could finally speak in person, but when Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping finally met in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the timing could not have been any better for the United States, for democracy and for the world.

With democracy suddenly looking like it’s on firmer ground and key autocracies facing serious problems, it was an ideal moment for Biden to speak frankly to Xi about areas of disagreement between the two superpowers while trying to build safeguards to prevent the rivalry from careening into conflict as the relationship has deteriorated to its most tense state in decades.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Unidad atlántica en su máximo?

Los líderes europeos respiran con alivio ahora que en la elección de mitad de mandato en los Estados Unidos no se produjo una «ola roja» republicana. La composición definitiva de la Cámara de Representantes todavía no se conoce, pero los demócratas conservan el Senado, y ya está claro que el Congreso no estará lleno de aislacionistas simpatizantes de Donald Trump y de Vladímir Putin. Pero para los europeos, no es momento de celebrar, sino de prepararse para la próxima tormenta potencial.

Durante el año que pasó, Europa disfrutó un extraordinario momento de unidad transatlántica. La alianza con Estados Unidos dio una respuesta unida a la invasión rusa de Ucrania: se impusieron sanciones en forma coordinada y Estados Unidos consultó a los gobiernos europeos antes de llevar adelante conversaciones sobre el futuro de la seguridad europea con el Kremlin.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Oct. 5, a group of oil producers led by Saudi Arabia decided to cut oil production quotas by two million barrels per day starting in November. Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

Washington is furious at Saudi Arabia: Members of Congress are demanding to freeze all cooperation, halt arms sales for a year and remove American troops and missile systems from the kingdom. President Biden warned of “consequences”.

American rage followed the Oct. 5 decision by OPEC Plus — 23 oil producers led by Saudi Arabia, which includes Russia — to cut oil production quotas by two million barrels per day starting in November.

If the United States follows through on its threats, the Biden administration would be a true maverick in Middle East policy, because no other administration — Republican or Democratic — has ever retaliated against Saudi Arabia in any serious manner for its oil policies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting U.S President Joe Biden in Jeddah, July 2022 Bandar Algaloud / Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court / Reuters

Last week, Saudi Arabia joined Russia and other petroleum-producing nations in the cartel known as OPEC+ in voting to slash oil production at a moment of historically high energy prices and rising inflation. The timing appears designed not only to fuel Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war machine but also to reverse the aggressive work that the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration have done to counter high inflation rates and bring down gas prices. But this hostile action by Washington’s putative friends in Riyadh did offer one silver lining: it showed that the United States has considerable leverage to correct what has become a fundamentally lopsided relationship.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese military conducted live-fire military exercises to intimidate Taiwan after a high-profile visit by Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, to Taipei in August. Lai Qiaoquan/Xinhua, via Associated Press

Competition and conflict between the United States and China have continued to intensify. On Aug. 2, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan to showcase congressional support for the self-governing island, defying Chinese protests that her visit was inconsistent with the “one China” policy of the United States. China responded by ringing the island with live-fire military exercises, missile tests and other operations in the Taiwan Strait.

On Oct. 7, the Biden administration ordered sweeping export controls to prevent China from acquiring the most advanced semiconductors and the equipment required to manufacture them, and forbidding any American or foreign company to sell to China any such equipment that uses American technology.…  Seguir leyendo »

Global flows of students, scholars and ideas have soared over the past two decades, proving to be one of the most resilient aspects of globalisation. By 2019 the number of higher-education students in a foreign country hit 6m, triple the number from 2000, while almost one-quarter of all scientific publications had cross-border co-authors, up from 18.6% in 2011. This exchange has created incalculable value in interpersonal connections, economic benefits and such fruits of collaborative research as the Human Genome Project and covid-19 vaccines.

Nowhere has the growth in global academic exchange been more visible than in that between America and China.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘The Saudi prince has inflicted political damage on the Biden administration a month before the US midterm elections.’ Photograph: Saudi Royal Court/Reuters

In July, Joe Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia and shared a fist bump with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. As a presidential candidate, Biden had promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” for its human rights abuses and its seven-year war against Yemen. But a devastating global pandemic and Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine forced him to set these concerns aside in favor of realpolitik. Biden needed the Saudis to increase oil production in order to lower gasoline prices for American consumers, so he swallowed his pride and treated the crown prince as the world leader he aspires to be.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. President Joe Biden (left) is welcomed by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Alsalam Royal Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 15. Royal Court of Saudi Arabia /Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden was never enthusiastic about making a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to make up with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And three months after the  fist bump that went ’round the world, it’s easy to see why.

Last week, that fist bump was replaced by a Saudi sucker punch as OPEC+, a cartel of top oil producers, decided to cut its oil production by as much as 2 million barrels per day (though  oil analysts say the cut may prove to be significantly lower). There’s no doubt that the primary motive was to keep prices high and maintain Russian-Saudi and OPEC+ cohesion in anticipation of further economic downturns and perhaps a U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

What the U.S. Gets Wrong About Iran

Ibn Khaldun, the 14th-century North African scholar, wrote that empires tended not to last beyond three generations. The founders of the first-generation are rough men united by hardship, grit and group solidarity, a concept he called asabiyyah. The next generation preserve the achievements of their forebears. By the third or fourth generation, however, the comforts of wealth and status erode ambition and unity, leaving them vulnerable to a new generation of power seekers with fire in their bellies.

In the 1979 Iranian revolution, religious fundamentalists with fire in their bellies transformed the country into an anti-American Islamist theocracy. Today Iran is still led by one of its first-generation revolutionaries — 83-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ruled since 1989.…  Seguir leyendo »

Biden's Middle East trip shows the long game is his aim

Under pressure at home for high energy prices and his willingness to sacrifice principles for national interests, President Joe Biden’s Middle East trip – with visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia which included participation in a meeting with nine Arab leaders in Riyadh – came at a critical time for the region.

This attempt by the US president at a reset of relations frames his efforts to manage tensions with Iran, support greater regional security cooperation, and manage geopolitical competition in the Middle East – all of which also benefit America’s British and European partners.

Regional concerns have long been mounting over Washington’s strategy to revive the Iran nuclear agreement – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – and over the distraction of American domestic politics and US geopolitical repositioning.…  Seguir leyendo »

Joe Biden tiene un problema saudita

Atacar a Arabia Saudita durante la campaña electoral para la presidencia es casi una tradición en Estados Unidos, y el presidente Joe Biden no fue la excepción. Envalentonado por la indignación en el país por el asesinato del periodista Jamal Khashoggi y la intervención encabezada por Arabia Saudita en Yemen, Biden fue más atrevido que sus predecesores al llamar a Arabia Saudita un “Estado paria”. Fue un paso mal calculado.

Ahora que la guerra en Ucrania eleva los precios de la energía y China consolida más alianzas en el Medio Oriente, Biden viaja miles de kilómetros para intentar reparar una relación que ha llegado a su punto más bajo en sus 80 años de historia, quizá aún peor que después de los ataques del 11 de septiembre de 2001.…  Seguir leyendo »

From left to right, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan pose for a group photo following their Negev meeting in the Israeli kibbutz of Sde Boker on March 28. JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Reports indicate that Washington is presenting the United Arab Emirates with a formal defense agreement containing U.S. security guarantees for Abu Dhabi. If true, it would be the first of its kind for the region—and a step back for U.S. interests.

The Biden administration has reportedly already sent a draft agreement to the UAE, accompanied by a visit from White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, to discuss the subject. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an Emirati academic and former advisor to the UAE’s leadership, recently stated that the two countries are close to signing a “comprehensive and binding” partnership that “no country in the region has obtained so far”.…  Seguir leyendo »

La víctima cultural de la guerra de Putin en Ucrania

La guerra en Ucrania es una catástrofe interminable. Las fuerzas rusas, concentradas en el este, siguen infligiendo un daño terrible en los soldados y civiles ucranianos. Una infinidad de vidas han sido perdidas y trastornadas. Una vez más, el mundo debe afrontar la posibilidad de una guerra nuclear y lidiar con unas crisis de refugiados y del costo del nivel de vida que están empeorando. Este no es el “fin de la historia” que habíamos esperado.

Se está dando otra transformación, aunque menos violenta: luego de tres décadas de intercambio, interacción e involucramiento, la puerta entre Rusia y Estados Unidos se está cerrando.…  Seguir leyendo »