08:05 GMT25 October 2020
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    Relations between the US and Europe, its key ally, have sunk to an all-time low under President Donald Trump. Trump and his administration have disagreed with Europe on a variety of issues: from the Iran nuclear deal to climate change, and even starting a trade skirmish with the European Union.

    Europe and the United States need to stand united in a "new Cold War" against China regardless of who takes over the Oval Office following the upcoming presidential elections, said Peter Beyer, who is in charge of Germany’s transatlantic cooperation. The official noted that the two sides have more common interests than differences.

    "Europe and the United States must join together to face the enormous challenge that China constitutes. The new cold war between the United States and China has already started and will shape this century", Beyer said in an interview with AFP.

    The official said that even if Democrat Joe Biden wins the presidential elections in November the controversial issues between Europe and the United States will not be resolved "overnight", but noted that relations between the two would "become more reasonable, calculable and reliable again" and it would be easier to work with Biden than Trump. At the same time, Beyer admitted that a Donald Trump victory in the upcoming elections doesn’t mean that the ties between the two allies would deteriorate.

    "It won't all be grim if Trump two comes. But it also won't be better. Who is sitting in the White House is essential. But it can't dominate the transatlantic friendship. Washington and especially the United States aren't just the Oval Office", Beyer told AFP.

    Identical interests

    Relations between the United State and Europe have reached a nadir under President Donald Trump. Over the past few years, the Trump administration has disagreed with its historic ally on virtually everything – from the Iran nuclear deal and climate change, to funding of the World Health Organisation and trade.

    Beyer, however, insists that in some areas, like China and the Iran nuclear deal, Europeans and Americans had "similar, sometimes, identical interests". He admitted that Germany occasionally neglected US ties over the past decade and that Berlin bore part of the blame for the ongoing estrangement. Beyer noted that Germany must stick to its pledges to increase defence spending.

    Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised Berlin and other NATO members for failing to meet targets on defence spending. In July, his administration announced that it would withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany, for what the Republican described as Germany being "delinquent" in its payments to NATO and treating the US "very badly on trade". The decision caused concern in both Congress and the Bundestag.

    Commenting on the issue, Beyer noted that he doesn't think that Joe Biden would reverse Trump's decision if he takes over the Oval Office following the upcoming elections, but noted that he doubts that the Democrat would pursue US strategy in Europe "with the same vehemence".

    New Cold War

    Washington's competition with Beijing began long before Trump took office, but it's on his watch that the geopolitical rivalry turned into what pundits dubbed the new Cold War. The Trump administration initially confronted China on trade, then both sides imposed multibillion-dollar tariffs on each other’s exports, weakening the global economy.

    The trade war was soon followed by a "tech war", with the Trump administration launching a global campaign against Chinese company Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of mobile telecommunications equipment as well Chinese applications such as TikTok and WeChat. The Trump administration also confronted Beijing on human rights issues, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea dispute.

    As if this was not enough, the White House also launched a harsh attack against China, accusing the country of spreading the coronavirus. Trump has repeatedly accused Chinese officials of being engaged in a cover-up and claimed that the country could have stopped the disease.

    "We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague on to the world – China", President Trump said at a past summit of the United Nations General Assembly.

    China has categorically denied Trump's accusations.

    Tags:
    COVID-19, Huawei, trade war, Iran Nuclear Deal, climate change, NATO, US, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Germany
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