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Despite G7 endorsement of Syria airstrike,
US-Europe divisions grow
By Alex Lantier and Johannes Stern
12 April 2017

The two-day G7 foreign ministers summit that ended continental European powers. French Foreign Minister
yesterday in Lucca, Italy was marked by an obvious Jean-Marc Ayrault said his British counterpart Boris
contradiction: despite the fact that all of the member Johnson had raised the proposal, but that it had not been
states endorsed last week’s attack by the United States discussed in depth.
against the Syrian government, the meeting was “At the moment there is no consensus on new sanctions
characterized by deepening divisions between the US and as an effective instrument,” said Italian Foreign Minister
Europe over foreign policy and trade. Angelino Alfano. He warned against imposing more
With Lucca under police lockdown, the foreign sanctions, saying it could back Russia “into a corner.”
ministers of what are supposedly the world’s seven It was left to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
leading democracies—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, to warn that further attacks and pressure on Russia could
Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of lead to war, and to signal to Washington that the
America—collectively applauded Trump’s unprovoked act continental European powers for now favor talks with
of war against Syria. Russia and Iran: “None of the G7 countries want military
They also endorsed the pretext for the strike: escalation, but rather a political settlement without a
unsubstantiated claims that the Syrian government further spiral of violence. We want to persuade Russia to
launched a sarin gas attack on the town of Khan support the political process for a peaceful solution to the
Sheikhoun, which served as the pretense for last week’s Syria conflict… Not everyone may like this, but without
US cruise missile strike against a Syrian government Moscow and Tehran, there will be no solution for Syria.”
airfield. They ignored the widely reported fact that The Italian government made its opposition to the
US-backed Islamist opposition fighters both possess and US-led confrontation with Russia crystal clear, sending
have previously used chemical weapons, including a 2013 President Sergio Mattarella to Moscow to discuss
attack in Ghouta for which the US sought to blame the Russia-European Union (EU) ties with Russian President
Assad government. Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev
The G7 communiqué declared, “We are shocked and during the G7 summit. The Italian president said the
horrified by the reports of use of chemical weapons in an Russian-Italian friendship is “solid” and “remained
airstrike in the Khan Shaykhun area of southern Idlib on 4 strong.”
April... The subsequent US military action against Remarkably, Mattarella stood by Putin at a joint press
Shayrat Airfield was a carefully calibrated, limited in conference in which the Russian president identified the
scope response to this war crime and was directed against Khan Sheikhoun attack as a provocation, comparing it to
Syrian military targets directly connected to the 4 April the lies on weapons of mass destruction the Bush
chemical weapons attack in order to prevent and deter the administration used to launch the illegal 2003 invasion of
proliferation and use of deadly chemical weapons in Iraq. Putin also warned that US-backed militias in Syria
Syria.” might launch another gas attack soon.
At the same time, however, the summit failed to agree “It reminds me of the events when US envoys to the
on a US-backed plan for stepped-up economic sanctions [UN] Security Council were demonstrating what they said
against Syria and Russia, proposed by the British were chemical weapons found in Iraq. We have seen it all
government, amid growing opposition from the already,” Putin said. He added, “We have information

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as well as civil war since 2014. France. which is still militarily where they are planning to again plant some substance reliant on its relationship with Washington. The imperialism. Shortly after Trump surface. allow them to comment on Tuesday on this issue. Italian and Belgian steel the German daily Tagesspiegel before heading off to exports. moreover. and feeble. The governors and senators of South Carolina. The Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) published its lead financed at the expense of working people. of threatening to leave Europe. Ayrault told Reuters that US Secretary of The conflicts between the G7 diplomats are only a pale State Rex Tillerson had asked him why US taxpayers and distorted reflection of deep objective conflicts that are should care about Ukraine—which has been racked by developing between the imperialist powers.” said the When Gabriel and the European powers state their company in a statement. Trump’s turn to war has to have a Europe that is secure and politically and enormously exacerbated these political and class tensions.” http://www.wsws. “The Germans can also find partners among the US states. including in the southern Damascus suburbs.that a similar provocation is being prepared…in other parts European officials all but publicly accused US officials of Syria. when Washington and Berlin rising opposition to war in the international working toppled a pro-Russian government with a fascist-led class. threatens to that the decisive trial of strength with Washington will do so again. where Trump’s disapproval that US officials are no longer reliably committed to ratings after his inauguration were over 80 percent in European security. and Spain. strikes on Syrian targets have only 26 Tillerson. and calls for the of a trade war between European and American reintroduction of the draft in France. we Europeans cannot threatened German car exports to the United States with stand on the sidelines and watch international politics steep tariffs.” candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is rapidly rising after he The powerful inter-imperialist rivalries driving the criticized Trump’s missile strike. “You do not want a Europe that is weak. Tennessee and Alabama know very well that BMW.” against Russia. “With 500 million citizens. under the more effectively assert their own imperialist interests. while in France. are coming to the capitalism were beginning to unfold. “The decision and the level of duties for our Lucca. they are biding their time and trying bitter rivalry between US and European corporations for to advance their interests for the time being through the the division of markets and profits. they hope previous century exploded into world wars. French. At the same time.” © World Socialist Web Site . Volkswagen and Daimler are among the most important employers in their states. the initial stages remilitarization of Germany. It wrote. not come until their own remilitarization programs. “It is in the interests of US taxpayers Germany. German steelmaker Salzgitter yesterday unfold. provocatively. unaided and accuse the Syrian authorities. support for presidential divided in many small parts. the As the summit took place. support for Trump’s air strike and press for Assad’s The world’s population is confronted with a overthrow. which twice in the plunder led by Washington. Rather.” Gabriel wrote in a comment in imposed on German. percent support. economically strong. The Trump administration is unpopular both in the Ayrault manifestly viewed this question as an indication United States and in Europe. by exploiting divisions within the United States itself.” Ayrault said he replied to In Germany. they are not doing so as friends of US catastrophic breakdown of the capitalist system. products are not comprehensible for us. massive increases in European defense spending. extraordinary title “Thoughts of war.” The leading German daily all but declared that it had to prepare for a military confrontation with the United States: “Someone threatened by trade war needs a defense strategy… This is To contact the WSWS and the the logic of the post-globalization epoch: Germany must Socialist Equality Party visit: defend itself against its most important ally. Rather we have to become a confident player on denounced tariffs the US Department of Commerce the international The SZ advised Berlin to look for allies within the EU and. putsch.