The world’s unadorned opinion on Europe’s role
A bugged recording of a confidential telephone call between two senior American officials has put the cat among the pigeons in Europe, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.
United States Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland has now apologized for her remarks seen on YouTube, in which she insulted the European Union in a discussion about Ukraine with Geoffrey Pyatt, America’s ambassador to Ukraine.
They were discussing their strategy to stabilize the situation in Ukraine when Ms. Nuland made her only short, disparaging and unladylike remark on the role of Europe.
Remarks by politicians and negotiators should, generally, not be overrated, but there are two shocking issues here.
Leading European countries have never offered Ukraine any substantial supportOne – on which GIS is regularly warning and commenting – is the total marginalization of Europe as a global, geopolitical player.
Ukraine is a European country that has been grossly neglected for the last 20 years by the rest of Europe. Europe's past absence from Ukraine's trade and politics – and even now at this pivotal moment when Ukraine is deciding to orientate to Europe or Russia – is likely to result in tragedy for Ukraine and create a significant long-term problem for Europe.
Leading European countries have never offered Ukraine any substantial support. Ms. Nuland’s remarks demonstrate how little importance America attaches to Europe’s efforts and influence. It shows, in the context of Ukraine, the U.S. and Russian mindset and their perception of Europe.
The second issue concerns the way American officials communicate. They have learned nothing from the Wikileaks. Important discussions should not be conducted by telephone or via electronic media. Revelations of their National Security Agency practices show that important telephone calls are easily bugged – even between heads of state.
There is an important point to be considered from this revelation. One of the Soviet Union's key aims during the Cold War was disinformation to damage the friendship between the U.S. and European countries. This North Atlantic partnership remains essential.
We should not forget that some people will still want to damage this relationship. The only way to continue this partnership sustainably is through a self-confident Europe with consistent foreign and security policies. A vital ingredient in any stable relationship is an equal partnership and seeing issues eye-to-eye.