Europe, US draw further apart amid COVID-19 pandemic

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By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times

Seventy-three percent of Germans say their impression of the US has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an opinion poll conducted jointly by the Koerber Institute in Germany and the Pew Institute in the US. Thirty-seven percent of Germans now prioritize their country’s relationship with the US, a 13 percentage point decline from the last survey in November 2019. The US government’s poor response to the COVID-19 has worsened the country’s image.

Such an attitude could be representative for Europeans. The US government’s response to the COVID-19 has continuously shocked and disappointed the world, including some US allies such as Germany and other European countries.

The US, supposed to assume global leadership to fight the pandemic, has not done much to help its European allies’ COVID-19 fight. What’s worse, the US even redirected 200,000 masks to Germany for its own use in April, blatantly hijacking its ally’s medical supplies. This does not look like a closely bonded alliance at all.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, EU-US relations were already frayed. As early as 2017, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany and the EU can no longer rely on the US. Many European countries have also had disputes with Washington in terms of 5G technology and the defense spending of NATO countries. A rising trend of unilateralism and protectionism in the US has driven Brussels and Washington apart.

And the COVID-19 pandemic has further strengthened such an impression. All these facts – the highest number of confirmed cases worldwide, a capricious president who said “having so many cases is a medal of honor,” and the rising unemployment rate – are adding to European countries’ doubts of the US.

As the only superpower, the US had made many great achievements. However, for Germany and other European allies, it seems that they are disillusioned with the US.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday that “A coronavirus vaccine should not be a luxury for a chosen few,” in contrast with the US’ attempt for COVID-19 monopoly.

More and more countries are now aware of Washington’s selfishness and irresponsibility.

The US federal government has been incompetent and shirking its responsibility in its COVID-19 fight, which makes the country not trustworthy.

An arrogant and egoistic US is not in line with the interests of Germany and the rest of Europe. The US may further lose Europe and eventually isolate itself from the world in the post-pandemic era.

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