CHINA / POLITICS
US, Europe hard to rebuild trust, because ‘who knows what would happen in 2024?’
‘America is back’ untrustworthy, ‘who knows what would happen in 2024?’
Published: Mar 24, 2021 11:20 PM
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press briefing at the end of a NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 24 March 2021.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press briefing at the end of a NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 24 March 2021.

The US is trying to rebuild its alliance with Europe with the slogan made by Joe Biden "America is back," as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Belgium to talk to NATO allies for so-called common challenges, including China and Russia, but to what extent Europe and other US allies would regain the trust on Washington is still a question, as analysts said no one knows what would happen in 2024, and there is no guarantee that Donald Trump or Trumpism would not return.

Chinese experts said when US allies are expecting America back to help them on concrete problems like boosting trade, economic recovery and fighting COVID-19, they might find the Biden administration has nothing meaningful to offer, but the US will keep pushing or using them for the interest of US hegemony to confront China and Russia, while the EU can get energy supply from Russia and get market and investment from China.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the media ahead of his meeting with Blinken that Europe and the US "face great global challenges" including the rise of China, and "we will set an ambitious transatlantic agenda…to take a more global approach by protecting the rules-based international order, which is being challenged by authoritarian powers like Russia and China."

Some observers are worried that the US intends to form a new bloc, just as what it did in the Cold War, to confront China and Russia, but Chinese experts said such attempt would fail.

Lü Xiang, an expert on US politics and diplomacy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that NATO is actually dominated by the US, so Stoltenberg could not be regarded as a representative of Europe, but an American proxy in Europe.

"The threat from China toward Europe is based on imagination. But the China-EU intertwined economic ties are real. To undermine a real and crucial interest due to an imaginary threat, European leaders won't be that stupid," Lü said.

Europe, or the EU, wants to be another "pole" to promote multi-polarization of the world that can balance the US and China, but the US wants it to keep playing US followers, and this would be a key divergence between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean, experts said. 

Blinken also seems to understand that the US and Europe won't be very like-minded, so according to Reuters, when he said to US allies that "China is a threat to the West," he also said "The United States won't force allies into an 'us-or-them' choice with China."

Not only on China, the US and its European allies also have great divergence on Russia. Blinken said on Tuesday the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built from Russia to Germany "ran counter to the European Union's own interests and could undermine Ukraine," and he is pressuring Berlin to give up the energy cooperation with Russia.

Chinese experts said "America is back" doesn't mean the US will return to help, but means the US is returning to bully its allies, and try to shape common external threat to keep the unity of the US-led alliance and make its allies pay more resources or efforts to serve its hegemony, which in fact could affect its allies' interests. Some US allies, like the Philippines, have already realized this, and more to come.

Wang Yiwei, director of the Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday that it seems like the US, which represents the establishment elites, has returned, and its influence over its allies like NATO states and Japan is recovering, but the fact is after the Trump era, all countries in the world are very cautious to the US.

"China is not isolated by the US, the West or even the whole international community. The more hostility they show, the more anxiety they have. When the US travels around the globe to frequently ask for support, unity and help from its allies, this means US hegemony is weakening," Wang said.

"Don't be fooled by the sanctions between China and the EU, which is harmless to trade and economic ties, and EU leaders won't be that stupid to totally abandon the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, because they know they would never get such a good deal when Trump or Trumpism returns to the White House," Wang stressed. 

Lü said the slogan "America is back" and US tough acts and remarks against China recently are just like an awkward moment for President Biden. "The reason why he stumbled on the stairs of Air Force One is that he tried to run, not walk. Because he really cares about the people talking about his health, he needs to run faster than walk, to pretend he's still strong. His country is doing the same thing, to play tough to cover its weakness. Let's hope it won't stumble."


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