The US is increasingly focusing on Asia and the struggle with China, rather than on the interests of Europe. “Afghanistan has shown that, after Trump and partly Obama, Biden defines the vital interests of the US more closely than we have always assumed,” said De Hoop Scheffer.
This means that Europe has to fend for itself in its own ‘backyard’: the Middle East and especially Africa. Several European countries are militarily active in the Sahel region. Zandee: “The idea is that these countries can take the lead themselves, whether within the EU or in smaller partnerships.”
There are no American troops in the Sahel, which makes it unlikely that the US or NATO will help the Europeans there. “I think that also plays into the considerations of Borrell and others: there may soon be other areas where we should be able to do it ourselves.”