Iranian Diplomacy- Chair of Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of South Alabama believe the EU is too weak politically to challenge America’s global hegemony even if it decides to do so.
The US president’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) despite the US key European allies’ opposition has raised so many questions about the global weight of the EU. To shed more light on the issue, we reached out to Professor Entessar, who is the Chair of Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of South Alabama.
Following is the full text of his interview:
How can the EU protect the right of its companies working and investing in Iran? Is it feasible?
The EU can lodge a complaint against the United States with the World Trade Organization (WTO) if the United States decides to impose secondary sanctions against European firms that trade with or invest in Iran. The EU can also invoke its own laws and/or pass additional legislation designed to protect European companies against American retaliation. In other words, there are legal and practical steps that the EU can take to protect its companies that have trade and investment agreements with Iran. The big question is: will the EU take these steps and risk a political and economic confrontation with the United States for the sake of protecting its trade with and investments in Iran?
Given the vast discrepancy between Europe’s economic ties with the United States compared with its economic relations with Iran, I am not very optimistic that the EU would do anything to jeopardize its relations with Washington. In other words, although it is feasible for the EU to take measures to protect its trade with Iran, it is not very likely that it would do so. The United States is just too important for Europe, and the EU will not sacrifice its relations with the United States for Iran’s sake. Besides, the European companies working and investing in Iran are private companies, and they cannot be forced by their governments to trade with a foreign country. The very threat of US retaliation against these companies is powerful enough for them to refrain from dealing with Iran, as has been the case in recent years.
Despite being an economic superpower, the EU is not able to protect its interest against the US unilateralism in recent year. Why?
The EU is a fractured entity with many competing political, economic and social entities. Notwithstanding its economic might, the EU has so far failed to develop into an independent political force on the global scale. The EU’s many divisions and its internal rivalries have prevented it from acting as a deterrent against Washington’s unilateralism. The EU is simply too weak politically to challenge America’s global hegemony even if it decides to do so.
The EU officials have talked about independent EU over the recent years. Considering the existing facts and EU potentialities, how feasible is it? What are the obstacles to this end?
I don’t anticipate the EU’s emergence as an independent political player in the near future. As I mentioned in my answer to the previous question, the EU is a divided and weak political entity, and it is become even more divided in recent years. The rise of nationalism, especially in its right-wing and xenophobic manifestation, in many European countries in recent years will make it even more difficult for the EU to develop into a cohesive global force.
What measures can EU take to gain more independence? Can more cooperation with Russia balance the EU relation with the US?
For reasons I mentioned in my previous answers, it is very difficult for the EU to take practical measures that would allow it to become a truly independent global political player. Of course, more cooperation with Russia or China will be useful, but such cooperation will only be marginally helpful. Russia’s economic weakness is a major obstacle, and China has its own economic priorities that require balancing its relations among several competing global forces.
Interview by Payman Yazdani