From the row over sanctions, Putin won

Vice-President Mike Pence (Mike Pence) this week on a visit to Europe, where he arrived in order to assure allies that the “slogan “America first” does not mean that we are talking only about America.” But the Europeans are alarmed by the madness that comes from the White house of Donald trump. “When will we stop this madness?— recently wrote on Twitter, former Prime Minister of Finland. America, please become again as you were great and all that jazz”.

Last week I broke another TRANS-Atlantic conflict. The European Union openly expressed his discontent with new sanctions against Russia, approved by the U.S. Congress. One of the reasons for the imposition of sanctions — the desire to show Russia that it will not escape responsibility for alleged interference in U.S. elections. Another reason is to limit the powers of trump, depriving him of the ability to act without congressional approval: the adoption of the bill on sanctions the US President will not be able — even if he wants — alone to ease the sanctions. He refused from the idea to veto the bill.

You would think that the Europeans will breathe a sigh of relief. After all, they were worried that trump is behind them will make a secret deal with Vladimir Putin. Western sanctions allow to affect it in the solution of the issue of Ukraine, where the war continues And that Congress intervened in the matter and ensure that sanctions are not lifted, would be for Europe’s good news.

But the EU reacted differently. It is not happy. Instead, the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Germany said that the game is rigged — a cunning business plan, conceived in order to create favorable conditions for the export of liquefied natural gas to Europe. The French government has questioned the international legitimacy of the bill. And the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, was so outraged that he called to respond (although later the EU has refused this idea).

In this case, the impression that the EU is in some way took the side of Putin, speaking against the Congress. There was an awkward situation. Can you imagine Putin, who enjoy watching between Washington and its European allies have differences? Some in Brussels said that the us sanctions could not only to unite Europeans in their attitude to Russia as to cause a split between them. But, while saying this, they cleverly pass over in silence the fact that this split, these differences have long existed. And that they are exacerbated by the actions of the various European energy companies.

Take, for example, the gas pipeline “Nord stream-2,” which Russia wants with the help of German, French and other companies to build under the Baltic sea direct to Germany. The project raises the indignation of the countries of Central Europe and the Baltic States, because from the point of view of the Kremlin, he negates the role of Ukraine, through the territory which now is pumped a significant part of the gas destined for Europe. United States Federal legislation potentially puts the new Baltic pipeline at risk. It’s infuriating, Germany, which has always insisted that “Nord stream-2” is a commercial project. Although this argument is hardly consistent with the way Putin uses energy supply routes for the extension of Russian influence in Europe.

Apparently, the EU in its own way and gives priority not the General diplomatic situation, and the fact that large corporations make money on the deal with Russia. In fairness I should say that, expressing dissatisfaction, Europe is not always hypocrisy. An earlier version of the us draft was intended too restrictive in those areas where they could deprive the EU of the possibility to diversify their energy routes and route them away from Russia. Now, Washington is so mired in political chaos that, apparently, unable to see what is happening in other countries. And the reaction of Europe were not unanimous. Remarkable was the silence of the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, who usually openly criticizes the “Nord stream-2”.

However, the transatlantic rift happened. As it turned out, the European Union instead to Express solidarity with those in Washington who want to limit Pro-Putin instincts trump expressed dissatisfaction, contrary to its earlier promises. Two months ago, Angela Merkel said: “We, the Europeans, really should take their destiny in their own hands.” In the era of trump and Breccia Europe must defend its interests as never before. To what extent this new position already visible in the climate, trade and European values. But last week she did not seem synonymous with counter-Trump.

Some of the reasons are guessed quite easily. Merkel seeks re-election for another term and is closely monitoring the business lobby in Germany, and also for the public opinion of that part of the German electorate, which sticks to a conciliatory position towards Russia. The President of France Emmanuel Makron acts with caution, trying not to damage relations with Angela Merkel. Besides, he is aggressively courting trump. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe do not feel frustrated with the American bill, but they do not have the same values as the Franco-German partnership and the populist government of Poland stressed friendly against Trump. As for the UK, it fully absorbed by the exit from the European Union and has almost disappeared from the European scene.

But perhaps the deepest reason is that none of this was the subject of particular public policy discussions. The European Commission acted technocratic — it is not as interested in geopolitics, as existing business relations. The rethinking of relations between Europe and the USA when trump is no easy task. But if Europe is a strong card in the game with Washington, then surely this game will be not so much with the Oval office, but with Congress. The events of last week showed how unimaginable insanity mired in scandals, the White house may have a strange effect on the situation on this side of the Atlantic.