March 5. 2024. 8:03

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“The crucial capability gap in European defence is still political leadership,” the report stated.
Germany and France in particular were “missing in action”, the report warned, at a time when European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell are driving EU support for Kyiv and joint procurement initiatives.
“Under the (Chancellor Olaf) Scholz government, Germany has faced recurrent criticism for its absence in EU defence questions,” it said.
“Meanwhile, France is seen as pursuing narrow industrial rather than collective European interests.”
“The onus is on Germany and France to win back trust,” the report stated, adding that time was of the essence in speeding up defence cooperation.

Transactional thinking

Beyond specific threats, the report – entitled “Lose-Lose?” – stated that due to increasing tensions and economic uncertainty, the benefits of global cooperation are increasingly out of focus.

Polling accompanying the report also found Western pessimism about the economic outlook and the scale of future risks relative to the views of voters in BRICs countries- Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Common economic areas and security structures therefore lose relevance instead of gaining it, the report stated.

Instead, governments today are primarily concerned “that they will benefit less than others,” which translates into leaders putting their country’s well-being and security above common progress – and thus setting in motion a dangerous downward spiral, the report warned.

“From the perspective of the share of humanity living in poverty or suffering from protracted conflicts, calls to defend the abstract rules-based order and shoulder the costs that come with it seem tone-deaf.”

According to this view, Western emphasis on the “rules-based order” is hypocritical and aimed at preserving the status quo of Western domination, including over countries of the Global South.

The authors pointed out that both Russia and China “have been skilfully peddling the narrative that the Western countries are promoting the division of the world into blocs and, by regularly interpreting the ‘rules of the rules-based international order to their advantage, are guilty of practising double-standards”.

“If current trends continue, the US and its allies risk losing the blame game in the global court of public opinion, being branded the culprits of the erosion of a cooperative international order and of a lack of effort to ensure more mutually beneficial outcomes,” the report stated.

This ‘battle of narratives’, the report pointed out, is particularly playing out across Africa, the Indo-Pacific, and the Middle East.

Assertive China

The risk perception of a military conflict in the Indo-Pacific between China and Taiwan has risen sharply, according to the survey.

Concern sabout an increasingly assertive China have made a big leap — especially in Japan, followed by India, the US, Germany, and France.

In the G7 countries, “large segments of the populations […] believe their countries will be less secure and wealthy in 10 years,” the report said.

Citizens in the G7 countries expect China and countries in the Global South to increase their power and influence, with Beijing benefiting at the expense of the others, it added.

Read more with Euractiv

Senate advances Ukraine aid bill despite Trump opposition

Senate advances Ukraine aid bill despite Trump opposition

A narrowly divided US Senate moved closer to passing a $95.34 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan on Sunday (11 February), showing undiminished bipartisanship despite opposition from Republican hardliners and Donald Trump.