AMN | Is Europe pursuing an independent foreign policy direction?
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2017-06-25 19:36:18

AMN | Is Europe pursuing an independent foreign policy direction?

French President, Emmanuel Macron, recently departed from his campaign proposals on the Syrian War by saying that “My lines are clear: Firstly, a complete fight against all the terrorist groups. They are our enemies.” Promising more cooperation with Russia in eradicating terrorism, Macron added that he sees no legitimate successor to President Bashar al-Assad and that President Assad is not the enemy of France. These comments came as a shock to many pundits as it was clear that Macron was the establishment centrist candidate in the 2017 French presidential election, even securing an endorsement from former U.S. President, Barack Obama. While this may be seen as a one-off statement and perhaps only rhetoric to please a growing opposition to deeper intervention in Syria, a trend is beginning to emerge in European politics that is challenging interventionist orthodoxies mainly emanating from the United States.

In recent years, Western Europe has become the go-to international supporter of U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and further escalations against Russia. However, the very real consequences of following the adventures of the U.S., namely terrorist attacks, has shook Europe to its core. After all,  Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber, is now revealed to have had connections to jihadist forces involved in the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi alongside NATO.

In the U.K., the huge turnaround for Labour in the 2017 snap election has critics of the Conservative’s failed Syria policy jumping for joy. The Guardian reported that Theresa May was planning an escalation of the war in Syria if she won the 2017 snap election. It is important to note that it is not only Labour who oppose an escalation in Syria, but also the Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists, and Greens, with Labour remaining the obvious leader of this opposition. Labour leaders such as Emily Thornberry warned that such a move would “risk open conflict between our armed forces and those of Russia and Iran” and could lead the United Kingdom to follow the same mistake as Iraq War. Thornberry warned Theresa May not to “follow Donald Trump’s lead with blind loyalty, no matter where it takes us, and no matter what our other allies think”. Thornberry added:

“INSTEAD OF THIS HEADLONG RUSH TO WAR, THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE WORKING FLAT OUT THROUGH THE UNITED NATIONS TO SUPPORT THE CURRENT TALKS ON DE-ESCALATION OF THE CONFLICT, WITH A VIEW TO CREATING A PERMANENT CEASEFIRE, A POLITICAL SOLUTION AND A LASTING PEACE. THAT IS WHAT THE SYRIAN PEOPLE NEED, NOT THERESA MAY’S SECRET PLANS TO ESCALATE THE WAR.”

 
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