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Can Europe, which has been tapped repeatedly, really rebuild with the United States?

Can Europe, which has been tapped repeatedly, really rebuild with the United States?

The General Services Administration recently announced that the Democratic presidential candidate Biden won the election. On the same day, Biden spoke on the phone with leaders of the European Union and NATO, emphasizing the need to deepen and revive transatlantic relations. 

This is seen as an effort by the United States to improve relations with Europe. Some media even said that the United States and Europe are expected to return to the “honeymoon.”

Is this really the case? Perhaps the recent uproar of the United States’ spy surveillance scandal against Denmark can give the outside world a glimpse.

According to Danish media, when Denmark was considering purchasing a batch of new fighters from 2015 to 2016, the US National Security Agency used its special intelligence cooperation relationship with the Danish side to deal with government departments such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and military enterprises. The agency implements monitoring. 

In addition, U.S. intelligence agencies secretly collected intelligence on two European military industry companies that participated in the bidding. In the end, the F-35 fighter jet manufactured by Lockheed Martin of the United States won the bidding.

Simply put, the United States took advantage of its special intelligence relationship with Denmark and in turn gave allies a knife. Not only that, according to insiders, in addition to spying on Danish intelligence, United States also monitors Sweden, Germany, France, Norway, and the Netherlands. No wonder the British international relations analyst Tom Fody recently wrote an article bluntly, “The real threat in Europe comes from Washington.”

Hearing this, Europe must be very sad. You know, the reason why the United States can build a global intelligence network is inseparable from the efforts of many Western allies. For example, the “Five Eyes Alliance” cannot do without the strong support of countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But over the years, Washington has really done the “killing” behavior of secretly stabbing a knife.

Greenward, a reporter who assisted Snowden in exposing the US surveillance scandal, wrote in the Guardian: “The United States monitors meetings that negotiate economic agreements, the Organization of American States, oil companies, and government agencies that monitor mining and energy resources. , The leaders of the allies and all the citizens of those countries.” Obviously, the United States, which pursues hegemonism and self-respect, has long regarded monitoring allies as commonplace.

So, Europe, which has been stabbed by the United States for a long time, can really rebuild the old instead of it? Even if we don’t mention the knot of the monitoring scandal, looking at it in the current environment, the relationship between the United States and Europe may not be able to return to the past.

On the one hand, as far as the international situation is concerned, as early as the Obama era, the focus of US foreign strategy has shifted to the Asia-Pacific region, which has deeply lost its traditional ally, Europe. 

In recent years, the United States, which has vigorously promoted “domestic first”, has practiced unilateralism and protectionism, and has been arrogant about the latter at every turn, which has made Europe even more miserable. The extent to which the new U.S. government can adjust its relations with Europe after coming to power will not only be subject to its own strategic interests, but also be subject to domestic political constraints.

On the other hand, the current situation in the United States is severe and the economy is tight. For the new administration, the first task is to resolve domestic problems in the United States. How much can it cost for security in Europe and its surroundings is also a question mark.

More importantly, Europeans have suffered from the United States in the past few years, and their strategic autonomy has increased significantly. People have noticed that in the discussion of the transatlantic partnership in European public opinion, the voices of disappointment, defensiveness and even vigilance towards the United States have been increasing, and voices calling for calmness on the transatlantic relationship have increased. 

Some European media quoted NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg as saying that the new US leader will still exert pressure on NATO allies, especially in defense spending. The German Süddeutsche Zeitung commented that even if the United States has a new president, Europe and the United States will not be able to return to the “highlight moments” of the past. French Foreign Minister Le Drian made it clear that in the face of the current international situation, Europe cannot be led by others and needs to strengthen its independence.

It is foreseeable that in view of Biden’s policy stance and his willingness to repair with allies, US-EU relations will improve to a certain extent in the future. However, there are still many contradictions between the two parties that are difficult to reconcile, and the improvement of this relationship will be limited. “Atlanticism” must face reality.

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