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Cracks in Red Sea alliance underscore U.S.-Europe divide and embarrassment of U.S. leadership

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

“A just cause receives abundant support, while an unjust cause receives little support.” No one feels this snippet of wisdom more deeply today than the United States. A Spanish Defense Ministry spokesperson told AFP on Sunday that the country would not participate in so-called Operation Prosperity Guardian, a US-led maritime task force in the Red Sea that aims to protect the passage Israeli-owned ships bound for Israel. merchant ships.

Clearly, America’s European allies are no longer willing to foot the bill for American selfishness. The US-organized Operation Prosperity Guardian has a strong political connotation, namely safeguarding Israel’s national interests. Israel’s actions in Gaza have angered the international community. More than 20,000 Palestinians are believed to have been killed, more than 50,000 injured and much of Gaza destroyed. Some European countries have begun to distance themselves from the United States on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The United States’ objective in creating the Red Sea Alliance is, on the one hand, to test whether its allies share the same beliefs as it does on this issue. On the other hand, Washington exploits multilateral diplomatic actions to disguise its unilateral support for Israel.

US allies always support the United States and share its position, but this does not mean that they will unlimitedly support the frenzied positions taken by the United States on all issues, especially when the US position is contrary to their own interests. Take France for example. France’s interests in the Middle East are multiple. The relationship between France and Lebanon has historical, cultural and political dimensions. There are fundamental differences between France’s relations with Arab countries and the United States’ diplomatic posture in the Middle East.

For a long time, the United States has had an authoritarian attitude towards its European allies, taking for granted that the value of its allies is to serve its interests. So, when US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin included Spain in the US-commissioned Operation Prosperity Guardian, he did so “without notice”, according to Spanish media El Pais. This decision displeased the Spanish government and triggered tensions between Madrid and Washington. We could sense Washington’s strong desire to control Europe and Europe’s struggle to control its own destiny. To put it bluntly, the United States treats Europe like a lackey.

Gao Jian, an expert in European studies at Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times that the United States was deeply involved in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II and also benefited irreconcilable contradictions between Europe and Russia to build NATO. a European security mechanism led by the European Union and which still exists today. Europe has paid a very high price for the transatlantic alliance. Europe hopes to acquire strategic independence, but is unable to do so. In the context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict over the past two years, the United States has firmly tied Europe to the American alliance mechanism. Still, France said its operations in the Red Sea would remain under French command, while Italy said its operations were not part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, according to Reuters on Friday. Europe may not want to get nasty with the United States, but its grievances against the United States will pile up and the differences between the United States and Europe will widen, noted Gao.

The United States’ Operation Prosperity Guardian this time revealed its embarrassment. Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, believes that no matter the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan or the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine or between Palestine and Israel, the performance of the United States has made it lose its credibility and leadership. U.S. allies see clearly that the United States is only causing trouble, but they are not willing to bear the consequences. Instead, he lets his allies clean up the mess. The appeal of the United States has diminished, because the United States, which was accustomed to being echoed, is now rejected. It is a true manifestation of the principle: “A just cause finds abundant support, while an unjust cause finds little support.” The choice of Spain shows the cracks within the transatlantic alliance. The United States will have to pay the price for its selfishness and arrogance.

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