Trump wants the US’ NATO partners to repatriate their citizens captured during anti-terrorist operations in the areas of Syria under its proxies’ control, whether to put them on trial in their homelands or reintegrate them into society depending upon their sovereign choice. This demand has been met with strong opposition from those countries who are fearful of the public’s reaction to spending taxpayer funds on these controversial efforts when it wouldn’t cost anything to let them languish for the rest of their lives in the Mideast. The rising populist sentiment in the continent has made it difficult for even the most EuroLiberal of governments like the one in Germany to implement its infamous principles, something that the US is certainly well aware of and eager to exploit for political ends.
All rhetoric about so-called “human rights”, “freedom”, and “justice” aside, the US and its regional partners could easily just kill the terrorist suspects or let them remain forever imprisoned in a desert dungeon, but Trump wants to trumpet his “democratic credentials” by giving these suspects a supposedly “fair chance” for their future by leaving their destinies up to their governments. Barring that, he ominously hinted on Twitter that these individuals could be released from custody and would “permeate Europe”, thus putting the EU on the horns of an unprecedented dilemma whereby it either submits to the US’ demands contrary to its people’s populist sentiment or endangers its citizens’ security by letting the US release those suspects and risk them returning to their home countries to carry out terrorist attacks.
Either way, it’s a lose-lose scenario for the EU, which Trump masterfully manipulated it into as revenge for standing up to him over the past two years. The President is already well aware of his country’s terrible reputation abroad so he doesn’t care all that much about people cynically accusing it of letting terrorists return to the EU. He can always disingenuously claim that the US doesn’t have full control over its proxies and can’t control what they’ll do with the prisoners if they aren’t repatriated, nor can it commit troops to guarding their detention facilities indefinitely. Basically, the US is signaling that these fighters aren’t its problem or its responsibility anymore, and that the EU can either responsibly take them into custody or they’ll find their way back home regardless.
One way or another, the US is indirectly encouraging the spread of populist anti-government sentiment in Europe just months before the bloc’s parliamentary elections in May, with this being strategically intended to tip the continental balance against the ruling Western European EuroLiberals and towards the upstart EuroRealists in Southern and Central Europe. It was a matter of coincidence that the timing of these requested terrorist repatriations turned out to be so auspicious, but that nevertheless doesn’t mean that the US isn’t weaponizing it for its own purposes. As they say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”, and Trump’s proving that he’ll do whatever is needed to take revenge on the EU for going against his trade and security policies, even if it means facilitating terrorists’ re-entry into the bloc.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review