Beijing-Moscow Axis Is Driving the Emergence of the EU as the Next Superpower

By supporting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Beijing risks making the European Union its biggest geopolitical adversaryCommentary Beijing seems to be running out of non-consequences in its drive to dominate the world. The cost of alienating the European Union is something that it must have underestimated. But playing Russian roulette on the international stage eventually has its price, and it looks like China will be paying a big one. Essentially, Beijing’s implicit and explicit support of Russia’s war in Ukraine is rapidly changing the dynamic between Beijing and the powerful EU. It’s turning from a competitive relationship to an adversarial one. This is evident in several critical areas. Rethinking China First, Russia’s war against Ukraine is forcing the EU nations to rethink their relationships with both Russia and China. Regarding Russia, European leaders such as Germany are seeing the error of their ways in depending so heavily on Russian energy supplies. In the short term, Russia is doing well with its high-priced natural gas sales to Europe. But Germany is already sourcing other suppliers. The outcome of that shift will likely be much more long term, which doesn’t bode well for Russia. Concerning China, the EU’s suspicions of Beijing’s motives have only deepened. China’s culpability for the pandemic showed the world—and particularly the EU—the true nature and geopolitical ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The EU is well aware that at the beginning of the pandemic, Beijing engaged in deception as to the cause and spread of the coronavirus. There’s no question that that played a role in Europe’s death rate from COVID-19, which could have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Today, the CCP’s unwavering support for Russian aggression further reinforced the EU’s view of China as a potential adversary that must be addressed on both trade and military fronts. What’s more, it is prompting a reevaluation of their entire relationship. The EU Emerging as a Military Power Second, for all intents and purposes, NATO is rapidly becoming a European-led military force. It’s already one of the largest military forces on the planet. It’s well coordinated and positioned to dominate the continent, including Russia, and Vladimir Putin knows this. Weak and vacillating U.S. leadership under the Biden administration is draining American influence. Flags wave outside the Alliance headquarters ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 21, 2021. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters) The United States’ failure to confront what is rightly understood by NATO’s European members as an existential threat is, by default, shifting the responsibility for their survival to European members. European leaders’ recent summit meeting with China regarding its support for Russia could only have gone worse if China’s delegation had pounded the table with a shoe and threatened to “bury them.” EU has Influence Over China’s Economic Future Third, as its largest trading partner, the EU has real leverage over China. Beijing’s continued support and enablement of Russia could become a real economic and trade deal breaker. Going forward, European trade policy may include a deeper adoption of the Trump administration’s decoupling policy, which included a deliberate manufacturing reshoring and nearshoring effort, as well as kicking out Chinese cultural and educational organizations that are deliberately involved in intellectual property (IP) theft. Decades of industrial espionage and IP theft by its Chinese partners is becoming much less tolerable to the EU, which is under its own economic pressures. Nor is China’s intent to hollow out European manufacturing and technology sectors getting a pass any longer. A Confluence of Aggression and Weakness Shaping New European Superpower And finally, two massive geopolitical forces are impacting Europe and the EU at the same time. Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine, a westernized–and Western-leaning European country—has revealed Europe’s vulnerability of relying on the power and influence of the United States. The fact that Ukraine is not a member of NATO matters less to the Europeans than does the reality of Russia initiating a new war in Europe. The former is a political fact, which pales by comparison to the latter, which is the hard reality that Russia is fully engaged in an aggressive war in Ukraine that potentially threatens the rest of Europe. What’s more, the Europeans understand that China is more than happy to enable Russia in its war. Perhaps worse is the perception that Beijing is waging war against Ukraine and the European continent—and gaining by it—by Russian proxy. And why wouldn’t the Europeans think such a thing? Beijing has been waging economic war against the West—and that includes the EU—for decades. In short, Beijing’s strategic blunder of supporting Russia’s Ukraine war is rapidly turning the EU—the world’s largest potenti

Beijing-Moscow Axis Is Driving the Emergence of the EU as the Next Superpower

By supporting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Beijing risks making the European Union its biggest geopolitical adversary

Commentary

Beijing seems to be running out of non-consequences in its drive to dominate the world. The cost of alienating the European Union is something that it must have underestimated. But playing Russian roulette on the international stage eventually has its price, and it looks like China will be paying a big one.

Essentially, Beijing’s implicit and explicit support of Russia’s war in Ukraine is rapidly changing the dynamic between Beijing and the powerful EU. It’s turning from a competitive relationship to an adversarial one. This is evident in several critical areas.

Rethinking China

First, Russia’s war against Ukraine is forcing the EU nations to rethink their relationships with both Russia and China.

Regarding Russia, European leaders such as Germany are seeing the error of their ways in depending so heavily on Russian energy supplies. In the short term, Russia is doing well with its high-priced natural gas sales to Europe. But Germany is already sourcing other suppliers. The outcome of that shift will likely be much more long term, which doesn’t bode well for Russia.

Concerning China, the EU’s suspicions of Beijing’s motives have only deepened. China’s culpability for the pandemic showed the world—and particularly the EU—the true nature and geopolitical ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The EU is well aware that at the beginning of the pandemic, Beijing engaged in deception as to the cause and spread of the coronavirus. There’s no question that that played a role in Europe’s death rate from COVID-19, which could have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Today, the CCP’s unwavering support for Russian aggression further reinforced the EU’s view of China as a potential adversary that must be addressed on both trade and military fronts. What’s more, it is prompting a reevaluation of their entire relationship.

The EU Emerging as a Military Power

Second, for all intents and purposes, NATO is rapidly becoming a European-led military force. It’s already one of the largest military forces on the planet. It’s well coordinated and positioned to dominate the continent, including Russia, and Vladimir Putin knows this. Weak and vacillating U.S. leadership under the Biden administration is draining American influence.

NATO
Flags wave outside the Alliance headquarters ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 21, 2021. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

The United States’ failure to confront what is rightly understood by NATO’s European members as an existential threat is, by default, shifting the responsibility for their survival to European members. European leaders’ recent summit meeting with China regarding its support for Russia could only have gone worse if China’s delegation had pounded the table with a shoe and threatened to “bury them.”

EU has Influence Over China’s Economic Future

Third, as its largest trading partner, the EU has real leverage over China. Beijing’s continued support and enablement of Russia could become a real economic and trade deal breaker.

Going forward, European trade policy may include a deeper adoption of the Trump administration’s decoupling policy, which included a deliberate manufacturing reshoring and nearshoring effort, as well as kicking out Chinese cultural and educational organizations that are deliberately involved in intellectual property (IP) theft.

Decades of industrial espionage and IP theft by its Chinese partners is becoming much less tolerable to the EU, which is under its own economic pressures. Nor is China’s intent to hollow out European manufacturing and technology sectors getting a pass any longer.

A Confluence of Aggression and Weakness Shaping New European Superpower

And finally, two massive geopolitical forces are impacting Europe and the EU at the same time. Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine, a westernized–and Western-leaning European country—has revealed Europe’s vulnerability of relying on the power and influence of the United States.

The fact that Ukraine is not a member of NATO matters less to the Europeans than does the reality of Russia initiating a new war in Europe. The former is a political fact, which pales by comparison to the latter, which is the hard reality that Russia is fully engaged in an aggressive war in Ukraine that potentially threatens the rest of Europe.

What’s more, the Europeans understand that China is more than happy to enable Russia in its war. Perhaps worse is the perception that Beijing is waging war against Ukraine and the European continent—and gaining by it—by Russian proxy.

And why wouldn’t the Europeans think such a thing?

Beijing has been waging economic war against the West—and that includes the EU—for decades. In short, Beijing’s strategic blunder of supporting Russia’s Ukraine war is rapidly turning the EU—the world’s largest potential superpower—into an economic and perhaps even military adversary.

That emerging reality should greatly disturb the CCP leadership.

The EU’s military posture is significant in every way. It has, via NATO, a fully functioning, 3.5 million-member, multinational land, sea, and air military force at hand with the infrastructure for command and control in Europe. That force includes unrivaled military hardware such as advanced tanks, fighter planes, long range bombers, satellites, nuclear weapons, and more.

And, as noted earlier, with U.S. diplomacy failing to prevent Moscow’s aggression, its leadership is already being seriously questioned by European members. If the United States is unable to deter war in Europe, then the argument for its leadership in NATO falls flat.

As for Beijing, it’s playing Russian roulette with its foreign policy and may come to regret it. There are two essential things to remember about Russian roulette. One, don’t ever play the game if you can possibly avoid it. And two, sooner or later, there can big consequences when you pull the trigger.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


Follow

James R. Gorrie is the author of “The China Crisis” (Wiley, 2013) and writes on his blog, TheBananaRepublican.com. He is based in Southern California.