The new President of the European Commission has made known her idea of the Union and the nature of the relations that the institutions of Brussels must have about the major issues that have influenced European life and that will be central in the near future. In terms of foreign policy there are two central issues: the exit of the United Kingdom and relations with Russia; while on the first topic Brussels, even with the new leadership, does not seem willing to retreat from the concessions made to the English, on the problem of relations with Russia, the attitude starts from a general availability, as it is recognized as Moscow is a neighboring country , with which it is impossible not to have relationships, but, at the same time, it is considered fundamental, for Europe to present itself in the most cohesive manner possible, that is precisely the opposite of what is desired by Russia. For Moscow, but also for Washington, a divided Europe is preferable, which allows to deal with the single states, that is, weaker subjects than a Union that presents itself as a single subject. The Kremlin’s policy was to divide the Union also with unlawful means, towards which the most efficient response could be represented by European freedoms understood as press freedom as a means to publicly denounce the wrong actions of other states. This interpretation seems, however, only a starting point, beyond which concrete structures can exist, such as the common European defense, capable of providing faster reactions even to unconventional attacks. Russia seems to be represented as a real danger, precisely because its objectives are in open contrast with the European ones. The caution of the new president in her relations with Moscow favors a diplomatic approach, but from a strength, which consists, in addition to the unity of European intent, in its economic strength, which should allow a relationship from a position of strength. This approach seems to be typically German, with an exaggerated view of economic importance in the context of international relations. Certainly economic power is increasingly an important factor, in the globalized scenario, but other characteristics are needed to take on a role of primary importance in diplomatic theater. The idea of a common European force is an ambitious goal, which is within reach, but we also need a common foreign policy, which can only be achieved with the ability to convince sovereign states of a progressive cession of sovereignty in policy choices foreign and on this level the Union is still behind. The other issue capable of tearing the European political fabric is represented by immigration and its flows, which have provoked the resentment of the peoples of southern Europe towards the Brussels institutions. The general assurances of a protection of the Schengen treaty cannot surely be enough, which must take place through the respect of the Dublin treaty, which is precisely the cause that allows the northern and eastern European states to refuse refugee quotas. To emphasize that it is necessary to save people at sea is to pronounce an obviousness, it is different to propose solutions such as that of undertaking an aid program directly in African countries, but this intention is feasible only in the long term, while for the short-term contingent solutions are needed, which they make it possible to alleviate migratory pressure and, at the same time, restore confidence in Brussels. The will, which seems to emerge, not to sanction those who do not adhere to the quota of refugees, in contravention of European directives, seems to be functional to German interests, rather than to European ones: if this were the case the contradiction would reveal a Berlin maneuver to use once again the Union for your purposes. In this regard it will be interesting to see what the new president’s real attitude to financial and budgetary rigidity will be in Germany, which has forced all other members into the past European legislature.
Iran takes away any possibility of negotiating ballistic missiles with the US. Tehran’s position is justified by the American policy of alliance with the enemies of the Iranians, which causes, among other things, the massive sale of US armaments to the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf and to Israel. Iran, substantially, would be operating a sort of balance of armaments in the face of a similar operation by the adversaries. The renunciation of the negotiation confirms the state of tension between Washington and Tehran, which continues, going along with the nuclear issue. The behavior of the United States, with the Trump presidency, has brought back the level of comparison to harsh tones, which had progressively attenuated with the Obama presidency, through a more moderate policy, culminating with the signing of the nuclear treaty and with the collaboration of the Iranian armed forces in the fight against the Islamic State. Trump has made the confrontation with Iran a central topic of his foreign policy, on the one hand because he considered privileging relations with Saudi Arabia, because of the economic advantages that the Sunni monarchy has allowed to earn for the USA, both because the Sunni states were considered strategic allies in the confrontation with Russia, to balance Moscow’s Syria activism. The central issue is the situation of peace in the region: there are too many potential factors that can trigger a conflict between states, which would have repercussions on the world economy. Tehran feels encircled and is under pressure due to American sanctions, which put in great difficulty an already depressed economy; the US tactic would be to exasperate the population, the real victim of sanctions and not the regime, to unleash a revolt against religious power: this tactic has proven not to give the desired results, both for the control of the country’s institutional forces, both for a nationalism always present in the Iranian population, which rejects American interference even in the most adverse to the regime. From the military point of view, if for the US industry the market of the Sunni monarchies has registered an increase of the sales, the tactic of arming the adversaries of Tehran, has produced in the Iranian country a great resentment, which has had as logical consequence the willingness to continue with its weapons program. To arrive at the opening of a possible negotiation it would be necessary for the US to suspend the supply of arms to the opponents of Iran and this appears to be the real intent of Tehran: to provoke Washington on this issue, making the responsibility fall for a failure of the negotiations, precisely on the White House. This appears to be an additional attempt by the Iranian side to break its isolation, after having directly urged Europe, but also indirectly Beijing and Moscow, to find solutions that force the US to respect the nuclear treaty. To add that ballistic missiles cannot be the subject of negotiations means to give a signal not only to the USA, but to the whole world to put the world powers in the face of the danger of a military escalation, with incalculable conseguneze for the world economy. Tehran, faced with the power deployed by Washington, tries to counteract what is available to it, building a tactic of direct and indirect pressures that are aimed at the entire world diplomatic scene. Avoiding military drift in the region, however, must be the primary objective of the international community, which, however, has not yet produced the diplomatic action necessary to make the situation more relaxed and favorable to a different confrontation between Washington and Tehran. The general attitude, that is, seems to be too wait-and-no, no power seems to want to seriously enter into the question, probably so as not to irritate the US and provoke yet another threat of economic sanctions, which Trump now uses too easily, however, a greater participation seems necessary to avoid an increasingly probable danger.
The migration issue returns to the center of the European debate, after the request of Italy and Malta, which will bring the problem to the attention of the EU council of foreign ministers on July 15th. The intention would be to pass the examination of each individual case to find a mechanism capable of managing migration flows. This discussion will anticipate the same topic that will be dealt with after the informal meeting of interior ministers, scheduled in Helsinki on 18 and 19 July. The pressure of migratory traffic and the effects of the Dublin Treaty have created a profound inequality on the European coastal states, not only Italy and Malta, but also Greece and Spain, however the proximity of Libya and the effects of the ongoing civil war have generated a increased traffic to Rome and Valletta, creating dangerous political drifts and increasing the risks to the lives of migrants and the conditions to which they are subjected in Libyan detention centers, in addition to a significant increase in profits for human traffickers. In Italy the debate on immigration has been led to have as a central topic the activity of non-governmental organizations and their activity of patrolling the sea, which has led to numerous rescues of refugees on drifting vehicles. Laws have been created to hit these organizations, which are only partly responsible for the arrival of refugees, distracting public opinion from the complexity of the problem; in fact most of the arrivals are made up of refugees who arrive on Italian soil autonomously and with small boats, some of which do not make the entire crossing from the African shores, but are released from larger boats near the Italian coasts. The candidate of the presidency of the European Commission has emphasized that it is an obligation to rescue shipwrecked people and people in distress at sea, this affirmation, certainly acceptable, was supplemented by the awareness, for the candidate, of the difficulty of the coastal countries and the promise of a reform of the regulation on asylum seekers, a problem that must be addressed by all European countries as a whole. The limitation to asylum seekers only is, however, only part of the problem, since the whole of immigration is represented, not only by those who flee from wars but also by climatic migrants, by those who flee from famines, by political persecuted and by economic migrants. It is a mass of people facing unspeakable suffering and suffering, against whose closure the closure of Europe is not enough. What Brussels has to put in place is a project of wider scope, capable of not limiting itself to managing the reception, but also to prevention, with targeted and concrete help. On the welcome side it is important to develop methodologies that have already been tried out in small ways, such as humanitarian corridors, which can guarantee to avoid the dangers of travel, can eliminate the revenues of traffickers and therefore their re-use in the financing of dangerous activities such as terrorist and even political threats to Europe from those states that have often used the weapon of migrants as a blackmailing tool. These solutions can be implemented in a short or medium term, if Europe has the necessary strength to impose its decisions on the division of refugee quotas even to those who until now have proved unruly, by reducing or canceling contributions. communities, on which Eastern European countries have built their economic growth. Certainly a necessary step is the revision of the Dublin treaty, which is unfair, because it penalizes the countries closest to the starting points of the migratory flows. In a medium-long period it is important to draw up a concrete aid plan that allows real redistributive economic growth in those countries that represent the major contributors of people who feed migratory flows. The difficulty is real, because in many African countries corruption is high and the political structures are anything but consolidated. The starting point may be to eradicate the famines, to create the conditions for the decline of some immigrants; the essential thing to do is that the European Union achieves a cohesion and a level of international authority, which have so far been lacking. The new European bodies must first of all start from these points for the solution of the most urgent problems, of which immigration is only one aspect.
The story of the British exit from the Union is enriched by a new episode. The leader of the main opposition party has decided to support a new referendum on the subject. The decision comes late, after an attitude never defined within Labor education and with the conviction of the leader himself of the need to leave Europe. Until now only the liberal democratic party has clearly expressed itself against Brexit. The positions within the Labor Party, on the other hand, are not homogeneous and this does not contribute to a clear and unambiguous position of the party in the face of a possible repetition of the consultation. That this repetition is necessary seems to have been a thing long established. The referendum that decreed, with little difference between yes and no, the United Kingdom’s exit from the Union was carried out without due information and with evidently distorted news on the consequences, above all economic, that would have occurred on the lesser classes nots. Furthermore, from a legal point of view, it was a consultative referendum, which, in theory, should not have had practical effects, other than to indicate a way to the government. The very nature of the question was too limited to an affirmative answer, which had no other interpretation, to a negative one, which, instead, as the subsequent events demonstrated, had different implications: from the one without conditions to the more attenuated one of developing , however, with Europe a common commercial area. The incapacity of politics and English politicians has determined a immobility that has been negative both for London and for Brussels. Evaluating the reasons for the Labor decision is not easy, certainly reasons of political expediency have conditioned this choice: in the face of conservative immobility, Labor have tried to change their political attitude, also characterized by a disconcerting indecision , which caused a severe defeat in the European elections. Both the conservatives and the Labor parties, that is, the parties that stood out for their indecision were the ones most punished by the voters. But, while conservatives are struggling with the change of leadership, Labor is trying to exploit the advantage of not having this problem, re-launching the theme of the referendum. The thing can, however, prove to be positive because it brings back to the center a chance to make a fundamental choice for the country in a more conscious way, but, the uncertainty in Labor on how to deal with the situation remains completely. This uncertainty in the two major parties reflects the image of a divided and confused country that does not know how to make a decision: the responsibility still lies with those ruling classes who have not been able to understand the growing importance of the sovereign feelings of part of the country and groups who knew how to manipulate this part of the population and their perception. It should be remembered that the United Kingdom, in the European Union, enjoyed far greater privileges than the other members and despite this, Brussels was seen with aversion also because the political classes in power did not know how to explain the importance of belonging to the Union. The uncertainty, however, also concerns whether a new referendum will actually be carried out: the winners of the exit from Europe appeal to the failure to respect the popular will, in case of repetition, fearing, in reality, a reversal of the result. In conclusion it is not risky to say that any outcome should come out of the polls that the government that will have to apply the outcome, but this is true even without a new referendum, will be in great difficulty because it is made up of personalities of both opinions, so much so that it is impossible not to detect that the real difficulty is to mend a country that is too divided and torn apart.
The White House has decided to raise the level of the clash with Beijing, through the supply of weapons, for a value of two billion euros, in favor of Taiwan. China regards Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, in the vision of a single China, and therefore considers any interference in this topic as an interference in its internal affairs. US action was perceived with deep annoyance by the Chinese administration, which came to represent Washington’s violation of its sovereignty. Beijing has expressly requested the United States to cancel the supply, which, materially has not yet been formalized, because the ratification of the American parliament is missing; however, there seems to be no chance that this ratification will be rejected. China regards Taiwan as a rebel territory with respect to the mother country, but also, a topic that constitutes a sort of boundary not to be crossed by other foreign states. The Chinese navy, in recent times, has intensified military maneuvers near the island of Taiwan, arousing deep apprehension in the Taipei government, which has led to a request for help to Washington for a first military supply, of about 500 million dollars . Contacts between Taiwan and the United States have intensified and an official visit by the Taiwanese president to US territory is imminent. This contributes to raising the Chinese irritation and becomes a factor of further tension for the relations between the two super powers, already put to the test by the question of commercial duties. It should be remembered that there is a Chinese program that aims to reunite China as in the imperial era and this nation’s resurgence plan should be completed in 2050 for the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China; for that year, therefore, Taiwan should return to Beijing’s control. For now a military attack is not expected and, indeed, the tactic should be that of diplomacy, but Chinese imperialism has experienced remarkable growth levels and the soft approach to the Taiwan issue could change precisely because of the American provocation. What Washington’s real intention is not clear; certainly the Taiwanese request for help offered an opportunity to fit into a question that China considers to be of national importance. Washington could try to broaden its action precisely in what Beijing considers its area of exclusive influence: after Japan and South Korea, the US would practically enter the Chinese territory; this interpretation could also be read as a sort of preventive action to avoid a potential Chinese attack against Taiwan. In the diplomatic balances of the area we must not forget that the Japanese vision is perfectly coincident with the American one in the desire to contain Chinese expansionism. There are, therefore, several factors that favor a sort of balance of terror, based, for now, on the presence of conventional weapons, which, however, determine an increase in the danger of a clash, even fortuitous, which can produce worse consequences. Another possibility could be the repetition of the usual Trump scheme, which foresees a series of threats to obtain an economic advantage. This reading could be part of the difficult dialectic of the question of commercial duties; however the protection of Taiwan appears strategic for too many subjects present in the area and does not seem expendable due to any immediate economic advantages. The most important fact to record is the increase in American aversion to China, which is increasingly identified as the main enemy by President Trump’s administration. An improvement in the relations between the two states, at the moment, is difficult to predict and this makes the world situation increasingly unstable.
The Iranian nuclear issue returns to the center stage, after Tehran announced it intends to proceed with raising the level of enrichment of uranium. The maximum enrichment threshold, set by the treaty, from which, as is known, the United States has withdrawn, is equal to a value of 3.67%, while Iran intends to bring the present value around 5%. The decision appears to be more symbolic than anything else, since 90% enrichment is needed to build nuclear weapons, but it is a very clear signal, both for the United States, to which it represents a response to unilateral withdrawal from the treaty, which, above all, for the European Union, guilty in the eyes of Tehran of not having committed enough with Washington to enforce the commitments made after the long negotiations. It must be remembered that the US, after having abandoned the treaty, subjected Iran to harsh economic sanctions, which have affected the economy. The sanctions, which mainly affect Iranian oil exports, have had a related effect, the prohibition for European companies to trade with Tehran, on pain of closing the American market. The current phase of relations between the US and Iran is going through a period of strong tensions, at the moment, therefore, the Iranian government cannot hope to obtain positive effects from possible negotiations with Washington, therefore it tries to carry out a stimulating action towards the Union European. At first glance this strategy appears to be a loser, because the Union is not a cohesive political subject, capable of exerting a counterbalance to American politics; this could lead one to believe that Tehran is doing wrong assessment, but Iranian politicians are too experienced to make a mistake of this magnitude; rather the intention seems to want to create the conditions to worsen the relationship between Brussels and the White House, a relationship that is increasingly loosening due to Trump’s policy. The Iranians have expressly said that the decision to go beyond the threshold of enrichment set by the treaty is not irreversible, but Europe must prove itself not subordinate to the United States, helping Iran to leave the sanctions regime and keeping the promise of creating an alternative financial instrument able to circumvent the economic pressure to which Tehran is subjected. If for Iran the central issue is the economic one, for Europe, as Tehran well understood, the Iranian nuclear issue invests more areas of interest. Certainly the Iranian market could open concrete possibilities within a difficult economic situation even for the countries of the old continent, but Trump’s relationship with the USA certainly does not appear secondary. From the political point of view, in fact, the deterioration of relations with Washington should impose a different approach and the occasion of the unilateral withdrawal from the treaty by the American, could represent an occasion to allow to gain a position of greater autonomy, also in virtue of the compliance with agreements made. At this moment Europe is proceeding in a random fashion, but the establishment of the newly elected in the most important places of the European institutions could lead to greater cohesion towards the assumption of greater political responsibilities. Certainly a collision with the United States is unthinkable, but a more relevant position in international politics, through a diplomatic action that allows to protect also the peculiar interests of Europe, could also determine a change of attitude of Trump. The contingent case of the Iranian nuclear could be the starting point to gain international autonomy and, from this, prestige and reliability for the Union.
The blog goes on vacation we will resume July 1st.
China plays a large part of its credibility in Hong Kong. The situation in the former British colony shows a growing number of protests and Beijing’s attitude is under observation by the international community, although, as more and more often, when the situation concerns the Chinese country, the criticisms are attenuated in order not to hurt the susceptibility of the economic giant. The definition of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is that with which Beijing likes to define its political system, based precisely on the peculiar characteristics of the Chinese nation. It is a pity that these characteristics do not include respect for democracy and political and civil rights, as they are understood in the West. This contrast defines the reason for the protests in Hong Kong, which is still considered a western city, despite the fact that it no longer belongs to the British crown. The agreements signed in 1997 and expected to remain in force until 2047, provide for a special status for Hong Kong within the People’s Republic of China: multi-party system as a political system associated with a normal freedom of expression for a Western country, but absolutely in contrast with the customs of the Chinese political system, which directly controls only foreign policy and defense. It must be pointed out, as recalled by several Hong Kong jurists, that Chinese justice is subject to the Communist Party and not to the primacy of the law: the protest against the Chinese regime is based on this contrast, incurable for those accustomed to Western democracy . For Beijing to have within it a source of dissent, which often operates against its highest offices and over which it cannot exercise control, represents a potentially very dangerous situation that requires careful and punctual management. To remedy this situation the Chinese government has strengthened its political influence, supporting the local government, implementing a silent repression against the opposition also through kidnappings that ended in Chinese prisons. The current dispute concerns the possibility of extradition: the law in force prohibits this practice towards China and Taiwan, but the Hong Kong government wants to modify it with the excuse of a fact used in a functional and politically irrelevant way. It is clear that Beijing will be able to exercise extradition measures against its opponents, who will be locked up in places of detention where torture is practiced and subjected to trials where sentences of 99% are imposed. Beijing has confirmed that it supports this measure, which would allow it to have more control over Hong Kong. If passed, this measure will significantly reduce Hong Kong’s freedom and allow Beijing to reduce dissent. This test of strength of the Chinese apparatus should pose serious reflections on the growing relations between the democratic countries and China, which take place because of Chinese liquidity and the great financial availability, which allows to make investments in any foreign country. Having very close relations with a country with such a different and restrictive conception of rights, without believing that it will never exercise some form of interference in internal affairs, as, moreover, it already happens in Africa, the danger that the progressive economic conquest is transformed, then, also into a reduction of democratic spaces. The protest in Hong Kong represents a warning and a warning for the western states that must be immediately considered in relations with China.
After the visit of the German foreign minister and before the visit of the European Union official, the meeting between the Japanese and Iranian premier, constitutes in further attempt to save the agreement on the Iranian nuclear and to make the geopolitical situation less unstable in the ‘area. The visit to Iran of Shinzo Abe constitutes, already in itself, a historical fact, given that it is the first of a Japanese leader since the 1979 revolution. However the relations between the two states are not new: Japan is one of the most large buyers of Iranian crude oil, even though it respected the sanctions imposed by Washington. At the same time, Tokyo remains one of the greatest allies of the United States and in this privileged role due to its excellent relations with the two countries, it can represent a diplomatic channel to reduce tensions between the two states. President Trump has withdrawn the United States unilaterally from the Iranian nuclear agreement, signed by Obama, due to pressure from the Sunni Arab countries and Israel and has included in the requests to Tehran to make the treaty again effective through a renegotiation, which includes reductions in Iran’s missile program and a decrease in aid to armed groups in the Middle East. To increase the pressure on Tehran, the US has reintroduced heavy sanctions, which have caused an economic crisis, which has aggravated the Iranian situation, already compromised by years of sanctions and which have had heavy effects for the middle and lower classes. Trump’s requests are not, however, acceptable to Tehran because they invade its sovereignty in foreign policy. Iran has tried to break this diplomatic siege by encouraging meetings with all those international actors who have shown their willingness to establish a relationship of any form of collaboration with Tehran. The visit of the Japanese prime minister is part of this strategy, which aims to present a country that is not available to be subjected to American pressure (and of the Sunni countries together with Israel), but who wants to raise the question of respect for them as the main distinctive sign. This meaning, beyond geopolitical aims, also based on religious approaches, derives from the sense of betrayal generated by the withdrawal of the US nuclear treaty, which has aroused disdain throughout the country, favoring the growth of extremist positions to the detriment of those moderate, who had been the protagonists of the negotiations. Due to the profound uncertainty present both the Iranian officials, and the Japanese ones agreed in saying not to put too much hope in the meeting. In Japan, the visit raised mixed feelings: the moderates were more favorable, but the conservatives were very opposed. The impression is that if a strongly allied US state, that is, it does not have the clearest positions, such as the European Union, it has moved in the first person, there is the will, even of Washington, to get at least get a détente, especially after the risk of the previous weeks, when an international conflict was risked. The activism around the Iranian country, with the visit of the German foreign minister, with that of the Japanese premier and with the next meeting of the EU official, shows how Tehran is at the center of international attention due to fears that the crisis with the United States can degenerate and restore the Middle East to the center of attention after the Islamic State has been defeated. Trump’s responsibilities are clear, for denying the Iranian nuclear deal and being flat on the positions of the Arab countries, but the other signatory countries have not done much, besides not withdrawing from the agreement; from the European Union, for example, but also from China, a greater diplomatic impulse was expected to defuse a potentially dangerous situation. The situation remains, however, evolving, unfortunately also from the military point of view with two oil tankers struck in the gulf: an attack that Iran immediately linked to the visit of the Japanese premier, who, would have the goal of diverting international attention from the international meeting.
The need to return to being protagonists on the world scene has long been known, but today’s Europe pays for excessive fragmentation, which no longer allows it to be a leading player in the industrial, financial and economic fields. The European parliament returned by the recent elections presents a different picture: if the popular and socialist party have registered a drop in consensus, which does not allow them to be the only protagonists of the majority alliance, the growth of liberals and verses added new ideas for the management of the Union, allowing the sovereign and anti-European forces to be relegated to a secondary position. However, the reduction of popular and socialist consents also means the rejection, at least partially, of the Community policy of the last five years, which therefore requires a change of direction. The objective must be to recover the lost ground, especially in terms of influence and prestige at the international level; this can only be possible through a greater specific weight of foreign policy, thanks also to common defense policies, greater innovation and production capacity in the industry, on which investments must be increased without the fear of generating inflation and a commercial policy in able to compete on a par with the US and China superpowers. These objectives, however, must not be pursued to the detriment of the reduction of rights or freedoms relative to the role of the trade union or the press, but, on the contrary, they must be strengthened in a way to reconcile development and democratic values in order to make the European model exportable. , which should be considered the best possible. At the heart of this Union renewal program is the strategic agenda, which will be the programming tool to which the four parliamentary groups that will form the majority, will have to make their contributions. The themes on which European action will have to focus will be: the energy transition, which will make Europe the largest producer and user of clean energy, the development of digital services in order to create economies of scale, also to favor areas more disadvantaged of the Union and a commercial policy capable of having an effective reciprocal relationship with the national subjects that close their markets with the introduction of duties and taxes. But if the economy is considered a priority, the intentions in this field cannot be reached except with an adequate political and diplomatic approach. The current scenario proposes China as a rival and the United States no longer reliable as allies, and this requires a common foreign policy supported by a common defense project, both as an organization and as a technological development of defense, which must be prepared and rendered practical in a short time. These conditions are necessary to restore income to the European social classes on which the cost of the various crises has been charged and which have suffered the rigidity of the budget imposed by Germany and northern European countries, favoring the concentration of assets and the increase in inequality . European projects have often started with very good intentions, but the conflicting interests of states have thwarted ambitious plans, generating interim solutions that have not guaranteed the necessary development and have not made it possible for the Union to keep pace with contingent developments, which have been exploited by states able to develop more flexible and flexible policies. To allow a similar reactivity to changes, the new European executive will have to convince the states to surrender part of their sovereignty in exchange for which they will have to reach the objectives of growth and well-being to be divided equally among the citizens of the states; only in this way, through tangible results, will it be possible to stop the sometimes short-sighted but sometimes justified disputes that favored anti-European groups.