Stuck in US playbook, European Parliament is blind to real interests
Published: Nov 24, 2022 11:01 PM
US' game of manipulation Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US' game of manipulation Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The spillover effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is swelling. Ordinary Europeans are concerned with how tough this winter could be. Yet some European politicians, in their armchairs while sipping latte, are not thinking hard about solutions. Instead, the European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a resolution calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

According to Reuters, the move is largely symbolic, as the EU does not have a legal framework in place to back it up. Hence, some observers have called it a political show, in which the parliament pins a label on Russia in an attempt to hurt its reputation, create more diplomatic troubles for Moscow and marginalize it on the global stage. 

Over the years, the European Parliament has frequently formulated and passed such resolutions for a major reason - striving for greater power. It sees itself as a law-making body but it is not satisfied with its weight in EU's decision-making procedures. Therefore, it has been expressing its political stance out loud by this kind of voting, with an aim to impose its influence on other decision-making bodies, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. 

Cui added that a more important issue lies behind the phenomenon: There is a lack of consensus over what exactly are European interests, and different forces are fighting for the right to define it. Some pragmatic governments believe it is in Europe's interest to reduce ideological confrontation. But the European Parliament has the opposite idea. 

However, passing a resolution like declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism will only be counter-productive in trying to reach a constructive way out of the Ukraine crisis, let alone a healthy security environment for Europeans. 

Not to intensify the conflict, cooling down the tension, seeking a political solution are most in line with European interests now. This is the big picture. It is seen by a handful of members of the European Parliament (MEP), who voted against the designation for Russia. Unfortunately, they are too rare.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has been stuck in a stalemate for some time. The major cause for the conflict, fundamentally speaking, is the US. Trouble and crises are desired by the US, and after the conflict is fueled, relevant parties better remain in that tension for as long as it takes, Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

Top US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this month that "a Ukrainian military victory - defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include Crimea - won't happen anytime soon." And three US officials told CNN that the US is running low on some high-end weapons systems and ammunition available to transfer to Kiev. 

The above-mentioned points indicate the US is not interested in helping Ukraine secure a "complete victory." Washington wants the flame to burn for much longer, according to Shen. 

Europe was caught in the conflict, based on US playbook. Taking Europe under control is also a goal of the US. Once it becomes completely dependent on the US in the field of security and policies, the EU, without its strategic autonomy, will only confront a much bigger threat. 

The European parliament has not quite played a positive role in this regard. It can be understood as a stage that gathers politicians who are fond of making publicity stunts. For them, performing in accordance with ideologies and stereotypes is the easiest way to maintain political prestige and leverage. Very few of them are willing to understand the real puzzle of Europe, Shen said. 

In the end, it is just a non-binding resolution. No European country would cut ties with Russia for it. Yet the fight will go on, those on the battlefield will keep bleeding, Europeans will pay more for their gas and heating bills. What do those have to do with MEPs? No, they will gain more votes. They are not silly, they are refined egoists.