China, Europe must defend global order together

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/8 23:13:40

US President Donald Trump is expected to announce his decision on the Iran nuclear deal soon. Whatever he decides, the irresponsible president - who tends to display his willfulness on Twitter - has already shown that the US has turned itself into a destroyer of the current global order.

Inked in 2015 between Iran and six world powers - China, Russia, the US, the UK, France and Germany - the deal placed strict limits on Tehran's nuclear program and ended decades of economic sanctions. In the meantime, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been supervising the country and has reported many times that Iran is implementing its nuclear commitments.

The deal is not only an important multilateral achievement, but also an example for resolving hot international issues through political and diplomatic means, the Chinese foreign ministry has said repeatedly.

Since the agreement was reached, it has played a role of stabilizing the Middle East. Yet since Trump threatened to rip it up, predictions that the Middle East will once again be bogged down in crisis have emerged: Tehran may restart its nuclear enrichment program and its archrival Saudi Arabia would likely develop nuclear weapons too. Other nations in the region would also likely follow suit. Israel, the country Iran once stated must be "wiped off the map," might immediately launch a preemptive strike against Tehran. And Europe will be the first to bear the brunt. The rise of Islamic State and terror attacks in the EU are bloody examples.

That's why French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson all visited the US urging Washington not to withdraw from the deal. For the first time since the end of World War II, the world is witnessing a stark divergence between the US and the EU.

"Trump foreign policy has found its theme: 'The Withdrawal Doctrine,'" noted Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Pulling out of crucial multilateral pacts or international agreements at a whim - the Paris climate accord, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants - is the new norm.

As Trump puts the planet on notice that "America First" is not just a campaign slogan, he turns his back on multilateralism and the stability of the current international order. Suppose the US quits the Iran nuclear deal. Apart from unimaginable chaos in Middle East, the hard-won silver lining of resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis might slip away, with Washington losing all credibility.

The US is becoming a deal-breaker and Trump is making no bones about it. How can we save the global order that Washington is abandoning? This is not only a matter of the Middle East or Europe, but the entire world. The world is getting messier because of the US. Major regional powers, including Beijing and Brussels, must consolidate their political will. It is time for them to deliberate how to jointly confront the US and defend the global order.

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