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Analysis

Europe Unable to Sway West Asian Developments

Monday 28 January 2019
Europe Unable to Sway West Asian Developments

Alwaght- The European countries historically grant themselves the right to intervene in the West Asia region’s affairs. This is also observable at the time being as the leaders of some European states like France, Germany, and Britain now and again poke their nose into the West Asian countries' issues.

Despite the fact that in the colonization times the European powers heavily determined the political order in the region and across the world, today’s realities show that the Europeans are not influential anymore. Their modern-time positions on the regional issues are only driven by a sweet memory of their power in the past.

On the one side, the European countries are unable to influence the political equations in the West Asian crisis spots and on the other side they are hit by a resounding wave of home tensions as well as political and economic crises, all leading Europe to be domestically crippled.

Europe not influential in West Asia’s hot spots

During the post-WWII period, when the US and the Soviet Union engaged in the Cold War as two key poles of world power, the European states, who were weakened by wars, witnessed a considerable decline. Just contrary to the prior centuries, in the new era none of the European countries held the title of a superpower and game-changer. They have turned into followers of the US policies on the global stage. This continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The fall of one of the two poles of world power spurred the Europeans to make some efforts to slide from under the American political dominance in the new millennium. Struggling to return to their golden ages, they made West Asia, particularly the Persian Gulf region, a top launching pad for their attempts.

Although Europeans worked hard over the past years to expand their influence, the regional developments prove they have failed to make any difference. Contrary to such actors as Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and the US to some extent, which have been actively influencing the course of developments, the European countries mainly remained the US satellites, devoid of clout to play a greater role in the region. A month ago, when the US said it would pull out its military forces from Syria, France emphasized the intention to stay on the Syrian soil. But the analysts argue Paris without Washington will not be able to sway the developments on the ground in the war-hit country.

Lacking prestige and charisma in the regional actors’ eyes

A serious requirement for an international actor to influence the regional equations is the acceptance of its intervention by the regional sides. Now, the field realities indicate that none of the European powers– France, Germany, and Britain– enjoys prestige or charisma to be accepted as a determining party by the regional players.

For example, the US military power is charismatic to some of the Arab states in the region, allowing Washington to play a crucial role in the equations. Furthermore, the Russian military and Chinese economic powers are found attractive by some regional actors. Aware that the European countries cannot majorly help them, the regional countries do not apply for European entry to their cases.

Large-scale political and economic crises in Europe

Yet another reason Europe is incapable of influencing the West Asian developments is linked to home crises hitting Europe. The Europeans intend to play an active role in West Asia while they themselves are facing levels of security, economic, and political crises inside their own borders. Confrontation with Russia and guarding their borders against the other powers are the issues the Europeans have been grappling with in the post-Cold War period.

Furthermore, such issues as Ukraine crisis, the economic crisis in the EU members like Greece and Italy, protests in France and the Netherlands, Brexit in Britain, and the emergence of right-wing politics and politicians in many of the European states to a large degree have obsessed Europe with its own troubles.

Add to this the US President Donald Trump’s serious differences with the European countries over cases such as the European military spending on NATO, trade tariffs, environment, and the nature of the NATO’s global role.

All of these challenges lead one to the conclusion that the European powers at the time being lack strength to influence the West Asia developments and their limited presence in the region should not be read of heavy weight.

 

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Europe Power Influence West Asia

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