29 Апреля 2019 г. 21:55

Expert: After Trump's election Europeans and many Americans are doing what is needed themselves

Expert: After Trump's election Europeans and many Americans are doing what is needed themselves
Фото: rtvi.com

US President Donald Trump has shocked the world once again saying that he is going to strike an ambitious nuclear deal with Russia and China. Officials from his administration say that the purpose of that is to renew the New START treaty. However, some experts believe that bringing China into such a deal would be highly unlikely. Head of Russia’s Foreign Office Sergey Lavrov says that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is also jeopardized. Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Social Conflict Studies Louis Kriesberg has told Eurasia.Expert about the prospects of striking a new deal and the reasons why the US impose tariffs on the European goods.

- Prof. Kriesberg, Russia proposed the United States to conclude an agreement on the prevention of nuclear war, but did not receive any response. This writes the "Kommersant", citing its sources. According to the newspaper, Moscow handed over the draft document to Washington in October 2018. The statement noted that there can be no winners in such a war, therefore "it should never be unleashed." How do you assess this initiative of Russia? And why the United States did not respond to Russia? In the US, do not exclude the possibility of nuclear war?

- I do not know. It is true that Trump has been interested in strengthening U.S. military capabilities, including nuclear weapons. It is also true that President Vladimir Putin, in his March 2018 address to Russia’s Federal Assembly, made claims about prospective enhancements to Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal that would render U.S. missile defenses “useless.” The Russian draft proposal you ask about may not have been well-timed or not well introduced. Or, the failure of any U.S. response is attributable to incompetence and confusion in shaping U.S. foreign policy.

- On Saturday, April 20, General of the Armed Forces of Germany, Eberhard Zor, announced that the United States, Russia and China should create a new treaty controlling nuclear weapons. How do you feel about this idea? Do you think is it possible? Will this treaty save our world from nuclear war?

- In principle, I agree. Such negotiations may lead to mutual understanding and reassurances and agreements.

This was the case in the de-escalation and transformation of the Cold War, as I discuss in my 1992 book, International Conflict Resolution: The U.S.-USSR and Middle East Cases. .At present, such negotiations are hampered by the Russian military conduct in the Ukraine and the incorporation of the Crimea into the Russian Federation. Substantive diplomatic progress is needed on this matter. I recognize that U.S. policies in that region after the Soviet Union dissolved were not always as good as they might have been, as I discuss in my 2015 book, Realizing Peace: A Constructive Conflict Approach.

- You will agree that several years ago it was difficult to imagine the phrase “US sanctions against the EU”. It would seem that Europe is the outpost of Washington in confrontation with Russia, which means that the vassal must be supported, not punished. Recently, the United States announced a new package of sanctions against European countries. We are talking not only about a number of products, such as cheese and wine, but also about the components for the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Europe, therefore, is under new pressure from Washington. Why is the US punishing Europe? For what?

- I do not think that framing the question in terms of U.S. sanctions against Europe is suitable.

Trump has a long-standing simplistic view about trade and tariffs. He seems to view these as win-lose contests, rather than matters for mutual gain.

Furthermore, he relies too much on resorting to coercion in relations with others. These are not the way most Americans, including most Republicans, regard trade. Trump is widely criticized in the United States for his conduct in trade matters.

- Could you say how Europe’s attitude towards the United States changed when Trump came to power?

- I think the attitude has shifted, since Trump came to power, from disbelief, to dismay, to disregard. I think most Europeans, even when they disagreed with particular decisions, regarded the United States to have solid democratic institutions and governments that took foreign and domestic affairs as serious matters, requiring good information and reflection. Trump, with good reason, was not seen as a serious person. Many informed persons in Europe viewed him as ignorant, opinionated, narcissistic and corrupt. They, like many Americans, were stunned at his election. When he began acting, tearing up international agreements that the U.S. had led in creating, disbelief changed to dismay. What has followed is Europeans (and many Americans) doing what is needed themselves. This is evident regarding global warming, managing relations with Iran, and honoring human rights and democracy.

- In your interview with our news agency, you said that “most likely, an agreement with China will be reached soon, and Trump will declare his “great victory”.” By the way, in the end of April or in May, the signing of a trade agreement between China and the USA is expected. They even say that the United States defeats China in a trade war. What is your forecast now on this topic? Did Trump really manage to turn the situation around? Is the USA winning the trade war now?

- I admit, I underestimated how incoherent and contradictory his policy could be.

There is widespread belief that changes in China’s trade and investment policies need to occur, but changes won by tradeoffs are more likely to last than those sought by bludgeons.

I make no forecasts about what Trump will do. I conclude, with a general comment. I can still envisage that American democracy will be stronger and more widely beneficial for more Americans than ever before, after Trump is no longer president. The American resistance to him is wide and deep. Better than ever policy ideas are being discussed within the Democratic Party and across the country. There are good reasons for all of us to have hope.

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