President Macron’s and Ch Scholz’s China Folly
The incontrovertible proof that myths and illusions never die is French President Emmanuel Macron’s most recent journey to the ‘Middle Country” (in Mandarin Chinese: Zhongguo), also known as the People’s Republic of China (in Mandarin Chinese: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo), from April 5th to April 7th, 2023. The most “brilliant” pearl of his political wisdom was encapsulated in his interview with the French newspaper Les Echos as well as Politico Europe, in which he opined regarding the situation of the Republic of China, also known as Taiwan, thus: “The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and adapt to the American rhythm or a Chinese overreaction.” Adding another pseudo-intellectual insight to his senseless strategizing, he declared that “Europe must fight for strategic autonomy,” whatever that might entail. Finally, to crown his “putting his foot in his mouth diplomacy,” the French President said, “We’re in favor of the status quo. It is the One-China policy and a Pacific resolution of the situation.”
With the benefit of hindsight, President Macron did not need this ego trip to Beijing, as he could have done without his frequent travels to Moscow and his even more numerous phone calls with the Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. The only result of these efforts is that he made himself an object of ridicule and a politician who proved that he is an insignificant man incapable of making great decisions. More importantly, from now on, no serious politician shall have confidence in President Macron’s judgment. In this manner, he solidified his reputation as a man without understanding his country’s place and role in the world or firm convictions concerning the differences between democratic values and authoritarian aggression. He is no longer in control of France’s domestic or foreign policies, and, in addition, he seems to be a President without a strategic compass. Consequently, he let himself be duped like a newborn baby by both Presidents of Russia and China.
Yet, President Macron’s glaring weaknesses should trouble Washington, D.C., and Brussels. In that case, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s fickleness and rigidity threaten the unity of NATO and the European Union. Heading a dysfunctional coalition government in Berlin that can rarely agree on anything important domestically or internationally, the German Chancellor, too oscillates between his Social Democratic myths and illusions about the doctrines of elusive partnerships and conflict mitigations with China. He too, made the obligatory European pilgrimage to the Forbidden City on November 4, 2022. Germany, whose most important trading partner has been the People’s Republic of China for the last six years with volumes exceeding $246 billion in 2021, has been attempting to resuscitate its formerly failed “Ostpolitik” vis-a-vis the Soviet Union and apply it to President Xi Jinping’s aggressive territorial ambitions in Asia and beyond. While reaffirming Germany’s commitment to Taiwan’s status quo, Chancellor Scholz added that any change in it “must be peaceful or by mutual agreement.” Meanwhile, the desire to benefit from the advantages that China’s developing economy provides, Hans-Peter Friedrich, the former Vice-President of the Bundestag as well as Federal Minister of the Interior, warns that decoupling the German economy from the Chinese economy would harm the former: “The biggest misunderstanding is that we try to pigeonhole China in our Eurocentric world.”
Heightening the naivete and even the professional insanity of the two leading states within the European Union, French and German politicians diligently beat multiple paths to President Xi’s door concerning Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine. Collectively they besiege the Chinese President, known for being a deceitful schemer and a ruthless tyrant, to be an impartial intermediary with the Russian President with whom the former is in an “unbreakable alliance” and who himself lacks any moral or political decency. As a result, implicitly, if not explicitly, the two leaders promote the Chinese cum Russian call for a “multi polar world,” in which the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China shall replace the United States of America and its allies globally with the ruthless tyrannies of the former. Presidents Putin and Xi are striving for creating crises with the United States of America within NATO and widening the existing divisions within the European Union.
Unsurprisingly, Beijing is encouraged by the seemingly widening split within the Western alliance. Thus, the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang declared self-assuredly: “There has been a serious deviation in U.S. understanding and positioning about China. China-Europe relations are not targeted, dependent, or subject to third parties.” As for President Macron, he again stated: “Being a friend doesn’t mean that you have to be a vassal.” Furthermore: “Just because we’re allies, it doesn’t mean (that) we no longer have the right to think for ourselves.”
The door to China is neither open nor closed but ajar. Therefore, Europe should heed the “wake-up call” on China before it is too late, as has been the case with Putin’s Russia. While shooting oneself in the foot has been the favorite sport of European states since the beginning of the 20th century, it is high time to sober up and direct the West’s collective aspirations to a future, in which unity, stability and sovereignty would reign over global lawlessness, aggression and the quest for absolute oppression.
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