Europe Expected to Concede to US, Lower Support for JCPOA under Trump: SIPRI Chief

Europe Expected to Concede to US, Lower Support for JCPOA under Trump: SIPRI Chief

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Dan Smith, the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said Europe may “concede” to US over issues like climate change and the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers under President Donald Trump.

European-US relations will become deeply strained over certain issues, Smith told Tasnim, noting that the 28-member bloc will face two major challenges with Washington under Trump soon.

“I do not think it is possible that Europe will move to Russia. I think that the alternatives that Europe has, are essentially to concede to Trump, to sort of propitiate him, to do what they think will appeal to him, to go softer on climate change, to be less strong in their defense of the JCPOA,” he said.

Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, succeeding Barack Obama and taking control of a divided country in a transition of power that he has declared will lead to “America First” policies at home and abroad.

He added that Europe might also alternatively find its role in the future by being “less dependent” on the US and “less closely-bound” to it.

Elsewhere in the interview, the British scholar underscored the importance of sustainable peace across the globe, saying, “… the world had experienced two decades of increasing peace from 1990 until 2010. I mean, in the last six to seven years, the situation has deteriorated. There were 50 armed conflicts going on in 1990; there were 30 in 2010; there are now 50 again. So it is a complete reversal.”

“Several of these armed conflicts are part of the explanation for the increase in violence lie in the Middle East with Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen.”

He further blamed the governments of the US, Britain and France and their policies for prolongation of conflicts in the Middle East, and said, “We should always remember that the problems that created those armed conflicts in the Middle East are not the results of the Trump administration; they are not produced even by the Obama administration. The causes lie much deeper. But what we have seen in the Middle East in the past decade and a half or more is that the external interventions from the US, Britain, and France, whatever they have achieved in the short term, have been part of a deteriorating picture in the long-term. And I think the same will be true in Syria.”

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups currently controlling parts of it.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

“In that context, what is needed from governments and leaders within the region and from those outside is wisdom, a long view, a lot of knowledge, a deep understanding, and a serious commitment to the well-being of the region as a whole and of the people who are living it rather than the individual advantage of this or that government or this or that group.”

The director of SIPRI went on to add, “I would simply say well if that is the standard, and that is what we need, do we think that the Trump administration would be capable of providing it? But I am afraid by the evidence so far, which is not very much, the answer would be no. So I am worried about what will happen in this region. The Trump administration is not the cause of any problem, but I do not see yet a way in which it might contribute to a solution.”

Smith also referred to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and described it as a “huge, a catastrophic strategic blunder” made by the US and Britain at the time.

“It was also cruel because that has put Iraqi people through a nightmare. That created the conditions in which first al-Qaeda in Iraq, then becoming Islamic State (Daesh) could flourish in Iraq and then develop in Syria as well,” the director of the Sweden-based research institute said.

In 2003, George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq under the pretext that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. In October 2004, however, a CIA report revealed that Saddam did not have any active WMD program at the time of the invasion.

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