The ceremony held in Paris to mark 100 years since the end of First World War, in which more than 70 world leaders participated, painted an interesting picture of the latest status of the world.
The increasing rift between Europe and the US under Donald Trump was more than anything else on display.
The US unilateral policies and the countermeasures adopted by the Europeans in three domains also pointed to the increasing isolation of the US in the world community.
The plan for establishing a European army (military), strengthening euro against dollar (economy) and the repeated condemnation of US government’s policy of nationalism based on ‘America First’ (policy) depicts Trump as a lonely and bankrupt leader.
Trump, who came to Paris on the heels of his self-proclaimed victory in the congressional mid-term elections, did not expect to see a more united Europe.
This time it was the French President Emanuel Macron’s time to put aside his passive policies vis-à-vis the US and, as a leader representing the European continent, came down strong on Trump in all the three domains (military, economy and politics).
Despite US pressures on European allies to increase their defense spending in NATO, as a strategic defense mechanism protecting both sides of the Atlantic, Macron talked up the idea of a European army that would in part serve to protect the continent from the US.
On the economic front, Trump who proclaims himself as the architect of the game of tariffs and unilateral sanctions — mostly by relying on the power of dollar —faced a plan that envisages euro getting stronger against dollar.
This comes as Trump’s chauvinist and warmongering policies were the fair game for the European leaders’ criticism against the US, something that indicates the world preference is to follow a peaceful co-existence and shunning antagonistic policies.
In a somber speech beneath the Arc de Triomphe, Macron decried “The selfishness of countries that regard only their own interests in saying ‘Our interests first and others don’t matter,’ we erase what is most precious to a nation, what makes it live, what makes it great, what is most important: its moral values.”
Macron’s remarks were the most stinging by a European leader in the two years since Trump came to power in the US.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the forum showed that “Today there is a will, and I say this on behalf of Germany with full conviction, to do everything to bring a more peaceful order to the world, even though we know we still have much work to do.”
The European will to have a more united front was even welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin who said it made sense for a powerful economic bloc like the European Union to want to defend itself militarily.
“Europe is a powerful economic entity, a powerful economic union and it is quite natural that it wants to be independent, self-sufficient and sovereign in matters of defense and security,” Putin said.
While Putin has called for financial transactions independent from dollar, he is also quite open to the idea of euro getting stronger.
The whole episode showed how an event that was supposed to be a ceremonious commemoration of the end of the First World War became a platform to unite Europe against the unilateral and nationalist policies of the US and avert a possible World War III.
* Hossein Ziaee is a freelance journalist.