Opinion: Boris Johnson turns his back on the EU during Iran crisis
Lakeesha|Aug. 08, 2019
Just two weeks after taking office, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took the side of his kindred spirit Donald Trump when the UK announced it would join the US naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz.
The European mission — proposed by Britain itself before the change in government — is now off the table. This puts Europe in a diplomatic bind as Germany and France have refused to take any part in the Operation Sentinel mission led by the US to protect tankers against Iranian attacks. For good reason: They do not trust the Trump administration and believe its policy of applying "maximum pressure" on Tehran will worsen, rather than improve, the situation.
American and British warships in the strategically important Persian Gulf are bound to usher in the next stage of conflict escalation with Iran. The US has achieved its goal: It has driven a wedge into the European phalanx that — despite American pressure — had hoped to band together and save some form of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Those aims are even loftier since what little trust Iran had in the British is now diminished.
Post-Brexit trade has priority
Britain's new foreign secretary insisted that he, too, wants to stand by the agreement with Iran to end its nuclear weapons program, adding that he doesn't want to impose new sanctions.
But this lacks credibility.
It is all too clear that there is one thing the UK — which is on the verge of a rough exit from the EU — wants more than anything and that is a quick trade agreement with the US. Boris Johnson is prepared to cut, to a certain degree, foreign policy ties with the Europeans and to sail in whichever direction the White House hawks are headed.
Europeans too hestitant
Instead, Foreign Minister Maas now wants to put together an EU observer mission — minus Britain. Even this plan could take a while and will have little effect. Iran's Revolutionary Guards are not likely to be impressed by mere observers and scouting missions during current tensions. It is not difficult to understand why Boris Johnson and the British are frustrated by their European partners' muddling along.