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US anxiety in Europe – POLITICO

Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder is chairman of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and host of the weekly podcast, World Review with Ivo Daalder.

As I met with European Union, NATO and other government officials in Brussels, Berlin and London last week, I heard a broad range of views about the United States, especially if polls predicting a Republican victory in the midterm elections prove accurate. Anxiety hit me.

In general, I’ve heard two concerns. For one, Washington’s growing attempt to tackle climate change separately from China, with new subsidies for U.S.-produced electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, and new constraints, will provide new protections. It focused on how we are connected to the isms. About semiconductors at the top of the list. The other concerned growing concerns that the Republican Congress could end vital U.S. support for Ukraine.

Europeans are right to be concerned about the direction of US trade and foreign economic policy.

Despite embracing allies and partners, President Joe Biden’s administration has not done enough to restore a sense of balance in economic relations with its European and Asian allies. The US-EU Trade and Technology Council said one senior EU official asked, “Where’s the beef?” And the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework itself has little to offer.

Meanwhile, recent US actions mark a return to the unilateralism and protectionism that characterized the previous administration of former President Donald Trump. While many in Europe initially welcomed the United States’ renewed commitment to combat climate change, now concerns over U.S. industrial policy and China have become the allies and partners Washington needs to succeed. I am concerned that it will become a confrontational, essentially global battle.

These concerns are exemplified by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which aims to curb inflation and promote clean energy. The IRA’s broad incentives for clean energy development and vehicle electrification are currently focused in Europe and Asia, rather than North America, despite the fact that the European EV market is open to vehicles produced in the United States. Closed to businesses.

The same is true for semiconductors. Washington’s decision to ban all US-made content in semiconductors from the Chinese market has caused many surprises – extensive pre-announcement consultations have softened some of the outright criticism.

The underlying difference here is not so much the end goal, but how they are achieved. Europe is accelerating its own energy transition away from Russian fossil fuels and also faces stiff competition from Chinese companies, which benefit from generous state subsidies. But rather than working together to compete more effectively with China, US policy is seen as pitting US companies against companies in Europe and Asia.

Of course, Europe is not irresponsible either. Too many people argue that China will remain an important trading partner, especially not in Germany.

For example, Prime Minister Olaf Scholz, who pushed ahead with the sale of his stake in the Hamburg container port, traveled to Beijing this week to meet with President Xi Jinping. A large delegation of business leaders. Even as Berlin is becoming less dependent on Russian gas, it is becoming more dependent on the Chinese market. It’s not just Berlin.

But despite all this friction over trade and China, the officials I spoke to were universal in praising Biden and his administration’s handling of the war in Ukraine. , strengthening NATO, and tackling sanctions and isolating Russia, which have been successful thanks to close consultations and unwavering American leadership, have raised fears that this too may be short-lived.

A recent warning by Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy has sparked real fears that Kyiv will fall victim to deepening polarization in the United States.Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A recent warning by Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy shows his party will no longer write a “blank check” in favor of Ukraine, and Kyiv may fall victim to deepening polarization in the US. It provokes real fear that it might not.

In fact, there is reason to worry about how a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives would affect our continued financial commitments to support Ukraine. Lawmakers have voted against the final major aid package for Ukraine. And that number is likely to grow with elections.

A new vote to support Ukraine would therefore have to rely on the Democrats to achieve a majority – something past Republican speakers loathe.

But when the push comes in, support for Ukraine may prove to be different.

McCarthy himself voted in favor of helping the country, despite warning that “people are going into recession and we’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine.” Mitch McConnell, who has also consistently led the fight for increased military aid, called for “expediting” air defenses, long-range rockets, and humanitarian and economic assistance after McCarthy’s statement.

The Republican Party, which opposes pro-Ukrainian support, is also significantly out of step with American public opinion. Nearly three-quarters of Americans support continuing military and economic aid to Ukraine, according to a recent Chicago Council survey, with the majority (58%) saying that food and fuel prices will rise. Even if it continues, he says that support should continue “as long as necessary.” rise as a result. (Recent polls show that Republicans increasingly believe the U.S. supports Ukraine too much.)

Finally, if the interim results cast doubt on future House support for the aid, the Biden administration and Democratic congressional leaders still have the option of pushing a massive military and financial aid package through the lame duck session following the election. I have. A new parliamentary seat early next year.

Overall, the challenges we face today, including Russia, China, and climate change, can only be met if the United States works with allies and partners in Europe and Asia. The days of “America first” or “Germany alone” are over. It’s time to come together.

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