‘Economic Article V’ a blatant incitement to undermine security order of others
Published: Jun 22, 2022 07:39 PM
NATO Photo: IC

NATO Photo: IC

Recently, two European and US politicians presented NATO with a proposal called "Economic Article V" to counter the coercion of authoritarianism. One of these two politicians is former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the other is former US ambassador to NATO Ivo Darder. Because of their past positions, their proposals for NATO therefore have a certain political significance.

However, those who read the memo carefully must feel that these two old-school politicians' understanding of the world order is likely still based on the era of Western power dominance, and that the only order they define is their order.

Once such an article becomes an obligation enforced by NATO members, it is in effect the equivalent of mob bosses encouraging their minions to bully people and dominate markets. 

Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty establishes the principle of "collective defense," which means that whenever one or several NATO member states are attacked or invaded by an outside military force, it can be considered an attack or aggression against all member states, and the other members are obligated to help them fight back.

There is a basic condition in this clause that other member states can provide military support only when a member state is attacked by an external enemy, not when that member state takes the initiative to invade or attack another country. That's why many member states opposed the US' war against Iraq in 2003.

So, what is this NATO Economic Article 5 proposal? Simply put, it is turning military counterattacks into economic counterattacks, that is, when a member state is hit economically by an outside power, other member states are obligated to help it fight back.

The two politicians believe that authoritarian states are increasingly using economic coercion against democracies. They cite economic coercion by China against Lithuania and Australia in recent years as a prominent example. Therefore, they suggest that NATO engage in economic Article 5 to counter authoritarian coercion.

Obviously, the example cited in this proposal is a distortion of the facts, and the mentality of the Western politicians who made this proposal is like that portrayed by a Chinese proverb which says that to beat a dog is to bully its master.

Why would China "beat the dog?" 

Lithuania crossed the red line of China's national sovereignty on the Taiwan question, which directly undermines China's core interests.

They evaded the basic fact that Vilnius allowed the establishment of the "Taiwan Representative Office" instead of the "Chinese Taipei" Representative Office. This is the first representative office under the name of "Taiwan" established by the Taiwanese authorities in an EU country, which seriously undermines the one-China principle recognized by EU foreign policy toward China.

Lithuania is not unaware of the seriousness of this issue, nor is it necessary to set up a representative office with such a name to develop economic and trade relations with Taiwan, so it is not an economic and trade issue at all, but a matter of a political attack on China. The EU always boasts of a unified foreign policy, but it has not corrected this move of Lithuania, which has caused great damage to the political credibility of the EU. 

Now there is a proposal to create a NATO Economic Article V that would allow all NATO members to help Lithuania against China. This goes beyond the scope of NATO's prescribed military defense and is a blatant encouragement to member states to undermine the security order of other regions more recklessly.

The recent outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war has created a sense of ideological importance in the West, which on the one hand makes them appear more united, and on the other hand gives rise to a crazy hegemonic impulse. They are not only looking for excuses to do everything possible to make NATO an offensive military bloc, but also thinking of changing it into an instrument of war, which, in all seriousness, is dragging humanity into World War III.

It is time to warn some Western people who look like gentlemen but are actually gang leaders. The world today is no longer a place where Western powers can drive around in their gunboats and flex muscles. If they try to provoke China's core interests, they are bound to face a counterattack. If their minions come to provoke, we will fight back; if the gang leader and the followers come together to make trouble, we will likewise fight back.

The author is a senior editor with People's Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. dinggang@globaltimes.com.cn. Follow him on Twitter @dinggangchina