Friday, October 22, 2021

The US’s strong shift towards Asia is throwing Europe off balance

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There are deeper questions about the future reliability of the United States as a security partner, especially if the conflict with China turns kinetic, which is part of Macron’s argument, Lesser acknowledged. “Despite the United States’ commitment to Europe, if things go wrong in the Indo-Pacific, that would change the force structure in Europe quite quickly.”

In Poland, a strong American ally in the European Union and NATO, the reaction to the new alliance was more positive, focusing not on a turn outside of Europe “but on the US, with the British and Australians taking seriously China and also defending the free world, ” said Michal Baranowski, who heads the German Marshall Fund office in Poland.

At the same time, he said, the Poles see another case in which Biden’s supposedly professional and pro-European administration “again fails to consult and push European allies under the bus,” he said. “This time the French, but for us, it was Nord Stream 2, when they threw us under the bus for Germany,” he said. That was a reference to Mr. Biden’s decision to allow the completion of a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine and Poland, which was a priority for the European powerhouse Berlin.

“The United States will say again that ‘we are building strong alliances with Germany and Australia,'” Baranowski said. “But who suffers? Other allies. ”

As for relations with China, Europeans would rather not have Beijing furious, said Carnegie Europe’s Balfour. “European allies have been more uncomfortable with tougher positions on China” and “keenly aware of the need to talk to China about climate and trade,” he said.

So if Europe can keep talking to Beijing without being portrayed by China as having joined a security pact against it, that could be helpful, he said. “If there is a positive side to this, it will be if the European Union is able to play this card diplomatically and avoid painting the world as for or against China, which is the rhetoric that Beijing is pushing.”

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