The Critical Reason for the Temperature Difference in the “U.S. and EU Responses” Against Putin | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Critical Reason for the Temperature Difference in the “U.S. and EU Responses” Against Putin

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President Vladimir Putin is under fire from around the world (AFLO)

On March 4, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizha, located in southern Ukraine, was attacked and occupied by Russian forces. Although no attack on the reactor itself has been confirmed, a fire broke out in the training building at the power plant. This is the first time in human history that an operating nuclear facility has been the target of a military attack, an outrageous violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The world was shaken by the nightmare of the “Ukrainian Apocalypse,” which, if a mistake had been made, could have resulted in the dispersal of radioactive materials and the meltdown of the reactor core, and the question of whether the Chernobyl accident of 1986 would reoccur.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, is steadily expanding its area of control, although it is reported that the Russian military is having a more difficult time than initially anticipated. In response to this invasion, Western countries have issued economic sanctions, including the exclusion of major Russian banks from the international payment system SWIFT and the freezing of personal assets of President Putin, his entourage, and those involved with oligarchs (emerging conglomerates), and have also begun providing arms and funds as direct support measures for Ukraine.

The European Union (EU), in particular, is providing active support with a major shift in security policy, with Commission President von der Leyen announcing a funding commitment of 500 million euros (approximately 62.8 billion yen). Of this amount, 450 million euros (approximately 56.5 billion yen) will be used to procure weapons, making the EU the first ever to provide arms funds to an extraterritorial country in conflict. German Chancellor Scholz also decided to provide anti-tank guns and surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine and to allocate more than 2% of its defense budget relative to GDP in the future to strengthen the German military.

In response, the U.S. has decided to provide $350 million (approx. ¥40.2 billion) in financial and arms aid, but has quickly ruled out direct military intervention; in his March 1 State of the Union address, President Biden raised the “Go get ‘em.” (Go get him.) At the same time, he said that U.S. forces He has stated clearly that he will not be involved in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.

Jun Kitajima, former senior strategic officer at the Danish embassy in Japan and an expert on European affairs, explains the difference in temperature between Europe and the United States as follows.

The EU and the US have different geopolitical risks. For the EU, which is connected to Ukraine, there is a sense of imminent crisis: ‘If Ukraine falls, the Eastern European countries that made up the former Soviet Union will be next.

The U.S., which still has vivid memories of its failure to withdraw from Afghanistan, is reluctant to intervene militarily in a conflict with Russia, a nuclear power, and the Biden administration, which is suffering from domestic inflation ahead of midterm elections in November, is ready to draw a line, even though it understands the shock that would spread to the EU side.

Unlike the U.S., a major shale oil producer, EU countries are heavily dependent on imports of Russian natural gas. From the perspective of energy supply strategy, a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible is a matter of life and death for the EU.

In a March 3 telephone conversation with French President Macron, President Putin reiterated his demand for the neutralization of Ukraine through “denazification and demilitarization. By “de-Nazification,” Putin meant the elimination of the Zelensky regime, which Russia unilaterally claims has been “massacring” the pro-Russian population in the eastern regions.

Another important point in the Ukrainian crisis is the concept of ‘human dignity.’ For Europe, which directly experienced the Nazi Holocaust, human dignity is inviolable, and it is a fundamental value that supports the human rights guaranteed by national constitutions.

Human rights are also considered important in the foreign policy of the U.S., but for the EU, the recent invasion of Russia is understood with a deep sense of crisis as a violation of ‘human dignity'” ( Professor Kitajima).

The circle of humanitarian aid for displaced persons from Ukraine is widening. However, if the war that Putin launched was calculated on the assumption that there would be no military intervention by the U.S. and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), seeing through the “temperature difference” between the U.S. and the EU, ……

NATO is only a framework of military alliance led by the U.S. There is still no permanent military force (EU military) in Europe, consisting only of EU member states. Will the EU be able to thwart Putin’s ambitions?

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