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Don’t blame America for Europe’s problems

Scapegoat-in-chief? Thierry Monasse/Bloomberg/Getty

Faced with a cold winter and a tanking economy, Europe is taking its usual approach, says Matthew Karnitschnig in Politico: “Blame America.” First in the firing line are Joe Biden’s “Made in the USA” green energy subsidies, which European officials say will undermine their own industries. The “inconvenient truth” is that Europe could have created a similar, industry-boosting programme to address the energy crisis. Instead, we funnelled all our money into subsidising household bills – a much less effective, short-sighted strategy. Incredibly, European officials have also been (anonymously) accusing the US of profiteering from the Ukraine war, by selling more gas, at higher prices, and more weapons. That, too, is total rubbish.

It’s not Washington’s fault that gas prices are four times higher in Europe than they are in the US. No one forced our leaders “to make themselves dependent on Russian gas or to switch off perfectly functioning nuclear power plants” – in fact, US officials practically begged them not to. As for the weaponry, most of America’s $30bn military aid package to Ukraine ­– without which the country would have “collapsed months ago” – has been provided for free. Where equipment has been paid for, European firms should have benefited just as much – but years of under-investment in defence means our kit can’t compete with advanced US gear. We Europeans need to wise up and stop seeing America as the “root of most evil”. Addressing our own policy failings is the only way to escape our “current malaise”.