‘Europeans will have to step up their reaction against China after insults, intimidation, and sanctions against scholars and MPs. This isn't about siding with America, it's about defending European sovereignty against a bully.’
The question now is whether these threats will cause the EU to think twice about joining the U.S. in confronting China on other issues.
- Hard to say, but it was already an uphill climb.
As Stephan Lau of Politico EU notes, before the current dust-up:
- ‘Europe's top leaders like France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Angela Merkel gave short shrift to U.S. President Joe Biden's offer to form an alliance of democracies against China.’
'Fundamentally, European leaders remain deeply skeptical about a Cold War-style containment of China, one of its most important trading partners in the world.'
- 'Merkel said in late January that she "would very much wish to avoid the building of blocs," while Macron has insisted that he wants to avoid a situation of "all together against China." '
And, 'powerful pro-business interests in Europe are still more interested in the investment deal than China's crackdown against Uyghurs and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.'
- 'The biggest political grouping in the European Parliament would like to keep human rights and the trade pact safely compartmentalized as separate topics.'
In spite of this reluctance, perhaps, ‘Europeans will have to step up their reaction against China after insults, intimidation, and sanctions against scholars and MPs,' as Benjamin Haddad of the Atlantic Council suggests.
- ‘This isn't about siding with America, it's about defending European sovereignty against a bully.’
Whatever the reason, if the EU joins him in other coalitions to confront China, you can be sure Mr. Biden doesn’t care why.