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ہفتہ، 20 نومبر، 2010

Lisbon summit: America's approach to its cooperation with Europe

 One week after an empty-handed Asia tour by the US presedent, Barack Obama, he has traveled to Europe this time in an effort to assess Washington`s trans-Atlantic relations.
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Obama is scheduled to discuss the future of US military presence in Europe, the war in Afghanistan and strategic ties with Russia during the NATO summit in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
However, Obama does not seem to reach key agreements with his European allies as he could not convince Washington's Asian allies.
Obama's Asia tour took place last week following his participation in the two important summits of G20 in the South Korean capital, Seoul, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Japanese city of Yokohama.
During his Asia trip, the US was faced with sharp criticisms of its allies in the G20 summit.
The majority of the G20 summit participants described the US government's expansionary fiscal policies to stabilize and jumpstart the global economy as damaging.
During the APEC summit held in Japan, trade disputes between the US and china dragged on and the failure to resolve these differences led to ongoing challenges in America's trans-pacific relations.
American officials have tried in recent years to create balance between Washington's foreign policy with trans-Atlantic and trans-pacific dimensions.
Of course, as the focus of Europe's economic power has shifted from Europe to East Asia, Washington's attention in economic and trade issues has increased in the Asia pacific region.
Despite all of this, the US main security concerns focus on preventing the emergence of a dominant power in Western Europe.
Hence, 60 years following the end of the Second World War and 20 years after the collapse of the eastern bloc, tens of thousands of American soldiers are still stationed in Europe.
Meanwhile, during the recent years the rifts between European and American viewpoints within NATO have intensified. The US tries to turn NATO into the international police force, while the Europeans mainly believe that NATO is duty-bound to establish security within member states, or at the most in the European continent. Given the major consequences of participation in the US war against Afghanistan, they consider deployment of troops to crisis-stricken regions outside Europe as troublesome. For this reason, a number of influential NATO member states have announced that within the next one or two years they will withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. Unlike the US, Europeans, including Britain, have adopted the policy of savings in defence costs. The implementation of this policy for mid-term will be a further burden for the US, while this country is currently facing an unprecedented budget deficit and a continuous surge in its debts.
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