31/10/2008

U.S. and EU in the Middle East : future prospects

In the light of the American raid carried out past Sunday in Syria and the reactions it has generated in the United States and Europe, it is possible to draw some conclusions and a few predictions on the future of relations between the two powers and their respective influences in the Middle East.

Can we first speak about the European Union as a whole in this context? We know the difficulty of Europeans to adopt common positions considering foreign policy. Facing the American raid, once again, the reactions were not unanimous. While England is going like France to a warming of relations with Syria, it still fails to distance itself clearly from the U.S. strategy in the region.

The Middle East is the region in which European countries seem to have the most difficult to speak with one voice. Suffering from a lack of unity, we cannot is at this stage prognosticate a leading role of Europe in the region. A year ago, donors for Palestine gathered in Paris. A finding could be made that Europe is indeed the banker of Middle East but fails to weigh on the political level.

The ideal would be a joint and concerted action of Europe and the United States in the Middle East. The Bush administration did not permit it. From the preemptive war in Iraq to the new « right of pursuit » considered as self-defense, Europe has never unanimously supported the policies of the previous U.S. administration in the Middle East.

Next week, the United States will elect their new president. Polls let hope a victory of Barack Obama, which suggests a better future cooperation between the United States and the European Union. In contrast, a victory for John McCain and the continuation of the current U.S. policy in the Middle East could create a larger gap between the two powers.

 

N.J.O.