‘Helpless’: French Scholar Points to a Lack of EU Consensus on Syria Attack
Sputnik / Alex McNaughtonOpinion17:31 17.04.2018Get short URL
Deeply split members of the European Union failed to join the US, British and French missile strikes on Syria with Germany, Italy and many other member-states preferring to take their time and see what happens next.
Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, director of the Eurocontinent Center for Geopolitical Studies, sees last week’s missile attack on Syria by the US, Britain and France as an attempt to make up for their waning clout in the war-torn Arab country.
“Because they have realized that there was no way they could possibly change the situation, given the firm position assumed by Russia, whom they hated to come to blows with, they just settled for symbolic strikes on targets that did nothing to change the existing balance of forces,” Thomann told Sputnik.
“To a degree, they launched the missiles to save their reputation,” he added.
Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann also mentioned a lack of consensus in the EU’s foreign policy.
“The European Union was absolutely helpless. Despite the general chorus of support for the operation, France and Britain, which is on its way out of the EU, were the only ones who took part. Germany, Italy and a number of other member-states showed no desire to join in. The EU is deeply split with its members unable to stick to the principle of multilateralism they stake on,” Thomann continued.
“It’s a pity that President Emmanuel Macron, who at the start of his tenure, wanted a return to [the traditional French] policy of balance in international affairs, eventually kowtowed to Washington and became a sidekick to the Anglo-Saxons,” Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann said.
He did not rule out, however, that during his visit to Moscow in May, Macron “might try to make up for the losses caused by this approach by seeking an open dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
The situation in Syria in the wake of Saturday’s US-led missile strikes and the latest news on the so-called “Skripal case” took center stage during Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
On April 14, the US, Britain and France launched more than 100 cruise and air-to-surface missiles at government facilities in Syria, in response to the April 7 alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma.
Most of the missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defenses.
READ MORE: Missile Strikes on Syria Justified, Not Connected to Assad’s Removal — Johnson
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has denounced the missile strikes as an act of aggression against a sovereign country as neither Russian experts nor local residents in Douma had confirmed that any chemical attack had actually taken place there.
The unwarranted missile attack on Syria has triggered a wave of protests in the UK and the US and an angry backlash by left- and right-wing politicians in both countries.