SICILY – The withdrawal of the United States from the INF contract has become a major concern for global peace and security lovers, and many analysts have assessed this incident as a way to war.
We spoke with Paul R. Pillar, an academic, agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1977 to 2005. He currently works at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University, in the Center for the Safety and Intelligence of the Brookings Institution.
Here is the full text of his interview:
Q: Do you think that Trump’s unilateralist behavior in the international arena is on the path to peace and stability, or will the world bring war?
A: Donald Trump won some of his votes in the 2016 presidential election by posing as the less hawkish, less interventionist candidate. Although his announced troop withdrawal from Syria and partial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan may be consistent with that image, some of his other policies have increased the chance of war. Specifically, the intense effort to generate hostility toward Iran and to reject diplomacy as a way for dealing with issues involving Iran has raised the risk of a U.S.-Iranian military conflict.
Q: Do you think that the behavior of some European countries in Trump puzzle will boost the European Union or will it fail?
A: Trump represents a challenge to the European Union. He explicitly rejects the concept that the EU is a positive force for peace and prosperity in Europe and a historic turn away from the conflicts that have generated devastating European wars in the past. Trump also regards the EU as an economic adversary rather than a partner. He sees the economic relationship between the EU and the United States as a win-lose contest rather than a trade relationship that can be mutually beneficial. Trump is playing on some sources of resentment within Europe, and the success or failure of the EU in the years ahead will depend on much more than just Trump and his policies.
Q: The political and social developments in Europe over the past two years show the power to capture extreme right-wing movements in the continent. How do you think Trump Foreign Policy has been effective in this regard?
A: The election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency and the rise of populist right-wing movements in Europe are both part of a transnational phenomenon. Trump and the European right-wingers have played off each other. Trump’s former political adviser Steve Bannon has also advised some of the European movements. The presence in the White House of Trump has made some of the European right-wingers look more respectable than they otherwise would have looked, and as such Trump has helped them politically. Trump’s active nurturing of a relationship with a government such as that of Poland, with its authoritarian inclinations, and picking of fights with more traditional and more democratic allies in Western Europe, has all been part of the same process. The rise of the right-wing movements has been a success from Trump’s point of view, regardless of how much of a setback it is for stability and democracy in Europe.
Q: The U.S. aggressive foreign policy seems to be pursued by announcing the withdrawal of the treaty (INF) as an only world’s superpower in a monopolistic structure with the foundation for a widespread war. What is your opinion about this?
A: The U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty was a big mistake. The treaty has been a landmark achievement in arms control. Both Russia and the United States have deployed weapons systems that raise legitimate concerns on the other side about whether the terms of the treaty are being observed. The proper response to those concerns was not to scrap the treaty but instead to consult about the suspected violations, to submit the suspect weapons systems to technical evaluation and negotiation, and to find ways to keep the treaty alive while resolving peacefully any questions about compliance.
Q: Combining the 2019 invasion policy with the Tramp plot, with NATO’s military strategy in 2018, which puts America at the forefront of NATO in the world, considers Germany as the command center of NATO in Europe and Poland under the title Trump Troop, the front line of the conflict with Russia. Is Will ultimately lead to global peace and security, or will the world move to a burning-fire war?
A: The Trump phenomenon has been overlaid on questions–which have existed ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union–about NATO and what role if any it should continue to play in global and European security. Much of the current tension with Russia has its roots in prior decisions–long before Trump came along–to expand NATO eastward, with an implied confrontation with Russia, rather than finding an altogether different post-Cold War security structure for Europe. Trump’s policies, with the Polish government talking about a “Fort Trump” with more U.S. troops on Polish soil, are an additional complication to all this but not a fundamental cause of the problems. Any increased risk of war stemming from Trump’s policies lies in the Middle East, not Europe.
by Giovanni Sorbello