Europe must learn how to live without the USA by preparing itself for a fundamental change of political direction and some serious thinking about the economic front.
[This colum was previously published in L’Opinion on juin 13th 2018]
Say goodbye to American soft power of the 20th century; say hello to Chinese sharp power of the 21st century! America’s signature is now worthless, whether it be in Asia, Europe or the Middle East, following its successive denunciations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, COP21 and the Iran nuclear agreement. The latest G7 has served only to strengthen this observation.
Donald Trump is under the influence of China! Proof of this is in his relinquishing the Anglo-Saxon contract in favor of a balance of power, thereby underwriting the game that Beijing is playing. America’s offshore interests are now industrial and technological.
The rest of the world must now learn to live without the USA, as Angela Merkel has already realized with her usual pragmatism. Now outside the sheltering umbrella of Uncle Sam, Europe must change century in order to seize the opportunities presented by the remaining 80% of world GDP — and start by prioritizing the building of a 21st century Eurasia.
Now outside the sheltering umbrella of Uncle Sam, Europe must change century
This sort of break with the past can only have historical significance if world leaders — themselves of historical significance like Xi Jinping in China — show the determination to do so. It requires exceptional vision and implementation, such as President Macron showed with regard to domestic policy when he was elected.
Orphan Europe. This means a new political direction within the European Union, so as to have a more effective dialogue with China.
A simple Franco-German initiative seems doomed to failure, given the contrasting trade balances they hold with China. Therefore, northern Europe must be brought into the association, notably Scandinavia, which is respected and envied by Chinese leaders. The urgency of this is made even more obvious since China intends to profit from a Europe that has been even further weakened by being deprived of its traditional guardian. This is what was made clear to Chancellor Merkel during her recent visit to Beijing.
European multinationals now need to rebuild their value chains on a more local basis if we don’t want to be held hostage to increasingly arbitrary political decisions.
European multinationals now need to rebuild their value chains on a more local basis. The globalization of the 1990s and 2000s, when labor costs were determined by geographical factors, is a thing of the past. New patterns have to be invented to fit new models. This paradigm change is essential if we don’t want to be held hostage to increasingly arbitrary political decisions.
The bad news is that time is against Europe, for its southern and eastern parts are already giving in to the temptation of China. We should remind ourselves that Chinese governments are masters in the art of encirclement. The good news is that a granular analysis of the last decade of Chinese growth reveals the extent to which that country still needs Western technology. And it is now very clear that the Chinese aren’t going get it any from the USA any longer…