Despite incoming US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressing disappointment about EU Member States’ decision to move forward with the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China in December 2020, the EU’s expectation of consultation was not reciprocated when the US unilaterally withdrew from Afghanistan this summer. Shortly afterwards, the launch of the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy in September was overshadowed by the bombshell formation of AUKUS.
These developments buttress the case for greater European strategic autonomy, particularly in the wider ‘Indo-Pacific’ theatre, which is increasingly becoming the focus of global attention. However, the path towards increased EU regional influence will be anything but easy.
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