Mike Pompeo urges working together to address Turkey, Donald Trump considers a strike on Iran

In Paris on Monday,16 November 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US administration and Europe need to work jointly on addressing recent “aggressive” actions led by Turkey – before continuing his 7-country tour, landing in Istanbul on Monday night. In Washington, a US official confirmed that last week US President Trump considered a strike on Iran’s main nuclear facility.

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NATO, the Middle East and the policy vacuum

Recent public statements inspired by the Iran crisis fromNATO Secretary General Stoltenberg andPresident Trump reveal the real depths of the crisis for the NATO alliance. Increasingly the strategic interests of the Europeans and the Americans have diverged and the balance between costs and risks for America’s NATO partners is shifting.

If, as Hugh White recently observed, real alliances only work when there’s a clear alignment of strategic objectives – because countries only commit themselves to alliances, and accept the costs and risks, to serve their own objectives, not those of their allies – Jens Stoltenberg’s comments are telling.

At the same time, the comments of the Australian Prime Minister lack any indication that Australia’s foreign and strategic policy reflects a sophisticated appreciation of the geopolitical shifts taking place.

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