Washington made an outcry riddled with a sour grapes mentality toward the completion of negotiations on the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. US Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger blasted the EU for reaching the deal with China despite the latter’s so-called human rights record. The EU has “removed a fig leaf,” Pottinger said. White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro also called it “a bad deal,” which will pose a geopolitical challenge to the US. A conservative US scholar asked angrily: How can the Europeans take China’s side, not the US? Strategic selfishness and arrogance seem to have burned the brains of some American political elites. They think the geopolitical interests of the US are identical to those of Europe. So when they mess things up in terms of China-related issues, they believe it goes without saying that Europeans should follow suit. They believe the ideological bond between Europe and the US is strong enough to make the EU abandon huge interests of doing business with China, but act as the political admirer of the US government, wholeheartedly.
On December 30, the day China and the EU made public the completion of negotiations, the US government announced to impose additional tariffs on European products including aircraft-related parts and wines from France and Germany.
The US claims it wishes to join hands with Europe to deal with China. But it was reluctant to offer European countries any benefits. When it comes to morality, Washington pretends to be an American gentleman. When it comes to interests, it haggles over every ounce.
As a matter of fact, quite a few Western scholars are sober-minded. They think it’s very unrealistic for the US and the EU to reach a broad and unified trade policy with China and the two can hardly adopt the same stance. The two sides’ development of industries is at different levels, so are their geopolitical calculations, which are based on basic economic numbers. Washington wants to fully geo-politicize its economic issues with China, and wants such practices to serve its hegemonic goals. But Europe is more concerned about its own development and wants to solve economic issues with economic solutions.
The US economy is facing severe problems. One of the most important is that its functioning logic has been severely shadowed by partisan politics. Now, Washington is thinking more about how to hit China, rather than how to improve itself. Only the US in its heyday had the capacity to act in accordance with such bullying logic, and it could only do so with small and medium-sized economies. Washington has too many difficulties to cope with its own economic issues. If the US government still behaves in a willful manner toward China, which has an advanced massive economy, it will certainly drive itself into the wall.
The EU‘s logic of interacting and engaging with China is justified. It prioritizes its own interests, rather than hurting China’s without considering the potential cost. Just take a look at how many Mercedes-Benz’, BMWs, Audis and Volkswagens that are dashing on the streets of Chinese cities, and count how many fashion products and luxury goods from France and Italy are being snapped up by increasingly affluent Chinese middle class. The Chinese market is booming. If the EU refuses to strengthen cooperation with China, would the US market provide amble room for Europe’s future development?
Some US political elites’ obsession of playing geopolitical games has become morbid. It is the novel coronavirus, the pandemic-hit economy and people’s livelihoods are what the people concern. People in all countries first think about their health, keep a good-paying job and make more money to improve living standards. They need their countries’ economies to keep developing. It will annoy them if someone dictates them to play geopolitics all the time.
The US government needs to restore its normal mindset in the face of a rapidly growing China, whose development owes to efforts by thousands of millions of hard-working and intelligent Chinese people. Not only should it acknowledge Europe to reach a bilateral investment treaty with China, it should also change its mindset and be more practical to consider how to obtain more gains through enhancing economic and trade cooperation with China, instead of attacking China all the time.
To destroy the other party at any cost is the logic in wars. This is the era of peace and development. And our common enemy is the novel coronavirus. Washington should not miscalculate the current environment, and continue to struggle in the dark.