At noon local time on January 20, U.S. President-elect and Democrat Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th President of the United States in the capital city of Washington.
Across the Atlantic, European leaders have expressed their congratulations on the inauguration of the new U.S. administration and look forward to cooperating with the new U.S. administration.
However, no matter how urgent the desire of both sides to repair the scarred relationship of the past four years, it is by no means easy to reunite the mirror.
According to the Associated Press, European Council President Michel said the same day: “Europe must take its fate firmly into its own hands, Europe does not need to wait for the permission of others, to make their own important decisions”.
The serious damage caused to transatlantic relations by the extreme unilateralist foreign policy of the United States in the past four years is undoubtedly the direct cause of Europe’s search for more autonomy and independence.
Even though Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office announcing that the U.S. would return to the WHO and the Paris Agreement, dramatically reversing many of the Trump administration’s policies, it has to make Europe worry: will the highly torn U.S. see another major policy reversal after four years?
Although it is not uncommon in U.S. politics for new administrations to adjust, correct, or even reverse the policies of their predecessors, such “pie-flipping” policy reversals and the White House’s increasing tendency to rely on executive orders rather than legislative procedures to promote policy implementation make the U.S. government’s policy making and implementation highly unstable.
This makes Europe doubtful about the predictability and stability of transatlantic cooperation.
According to the British newspaper “The Guardian” 19 reported that the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) poll of 15,000 people in 11 European countries at the end of 2020 showed that Europe’s view of the United States has undergone a major shift.
According to the report, most respondents, while welcoming Biden’s election to the presidency, believe that after four years of Trump’s administration, Biden will not be able to stop the decline of the U.S. on the world stage. 61 percent of respondents believe that the U.S. political system is “broken,” while only 27 percent believe that the U.S. political system is “working well.
is working well”. The report also said that Europe’s changing perception of the United States has led to more Europeans being reluctant to support the United States in international disputes.
Of course, the structural tensions between the U.S. and Europe are the deepest reason for Europe’s increased strategic autonomy.
In fact, since the 1960s, there has been constant friction between the U.S. and Europe in the economic, trade and financial fields: during the Cold War, from the “chicken war” in 1962 to the “banana war” that lasted for more than 30 years, there have been several trade wars between the U.S. and Europe The U.S. accused Europe of providing illegal “subsidies” to Airbus, while Europe accused the U.S. government of providing huge “subsidies” to Boeing, and this trade dispute has continued since 2004, with no sign of resolution.
The 2018 U.S.-European Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was finally reduced to a paper statement, which is a big reason why the U.S. and France do not concede to each other on the issue of agriculture; the U.S. has abused its long-arm jurisdiction and financial hegemony in the past four years, which has made Europe the biggest victim.
At the same time, the differences between the U.S. and Europe in international economic rules are also increasingly clear to the surface. In order to prevent European countries from mastering the right to speak and take the initiative in formulating global rules in the field of digital economy, the U.S. has not hesitated to launch a “301 investigation” against France and other countries, extending the trade dispute between the two sides from the real economy to the digital economy.
The dispute extends from the real economy to the digital field. It can be said that economic interests have become a hurdle that the U.S. and the EU can’t get around, and it also makes Europe realize more clearly the importance of mastering its own policy-making power.
It can be said that after the Trump era, Europe has given up its blind enthusiasm and following of the United States, and Europe’s welcome to the Biden administration is now more based on political traditions and ideological factors.
However, common values can hardly bridge the contradictions between European and American interests, and Europe will not be willingly reduced to a “tool” for the U.S. to maintain hegemony, so Europe may act alone more often in the future, and the game between Europe and the U.S. will be further intensified.