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Europe's Fumbled China Policy: A Delusion of Partnership?

French President Emmanuel Macron's recent summit with Xi Jinping exposed the deep flaws in Europe's approach to China. While Europe views China as a potential partner, economic competitor, and systemic rival all at once, this convoluted strategy fails to address the realities of China's growing aggression.

Europe aspires to "decouple" from China economically, but lacks the will. Deeply intertwined economies and China's importance in global issues like climate change make a clean break difficult.

Xi's empty promises in Paris further highlight Europe's naiveté. His assurances to limit arms sales and control technology transfers to Russia ring hollow given China's continued support for Putin's war.

The snubbing of Brussels and sidelining with Hungary and Serbia further demonstrate China's disregard for European unity. These actions by Xi undermine Macron's efforts to strengthen ties with Eastern Europe, who view China with increasing suspicion.

Eastern European nations, wary of China's growing influence, are forging closer ties with the US. Their support for Taiwan and restrictions on Chinese technology have secured them a strategic foothold with Washington, seen as a key security guarantor.

However, Europe's reliance on the US is a gamble. The unpredictability of US foreign policy, particularly under the previous administration, raises questions about America's commitment to defending Taiwan.

Fears of being dragged into a US-China conflict lead some European leaders, like Macron, to downplay the China threat. This appeasement strategy risks emboldening China to exploit a divided Europe.

Europe must prioritize its own interests, not appease China or blindly follow the US. This includes standing up to China's aggression and protecting its strategic industries.

Europe's biggest challenge is a lack of self-confidence. A stronger, more unified Europe, acting strategically, is vital to counter China's growing influence.

The future of European security hinges on its ability to shed its current delusions and develop a more robust China policy.

The Path Forward: A New European China Strategy

Europe's current approach to China is unsustainable. It fails to protect European interests, undermines European unity, and emboldens China. A new strategy is needed, one that is based on realism, strength, and unity.

1. Recognize the Threat: Europe must recognize that China is a systemic rival, not a partner. China's "no-limits" partnership with Russia is a clear sign of its hostile intentions.

2. Strengthen Defenses: Europe must invest in its defense capabilities, including its military, intelligence, and cybersecurity. Europe cannot rely on the US to defend it indefinitely.

3. Diversify Economic Ties: Europe must reduce its economic dependence on China by diversifying its supply chains and investing in alternative markets.

4. Promote Democracy and Human Rights: Europe must stand up for its values of democracy and human rights in the face of China's authoritarianism.

5. Work with Like-Minded Partners: Europe must work with other democracies, such as the US, Japan, and India, to counter China's global ambitions.

A new China strategy will not be easy, but it is necessary. Europe's future security and prosperity depend on it.

The stakes are high. If Europe fails to act, it risks becoming a vassal of China, a mere spectator in a world shaped by others.

The time for complacency is over. Europe must rise to the challenge and forge a new path in its relationship with China.

This is not about choosing sides in a new Cold War. It is about Europe standing up for its own interests, its own values, and its own future.

The future of Europe is at stake.


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