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Macron and Merkel Remain Polite to Biden but Defend Conditions

PARIS, June 15, 2021 (EIRNS)—Following Biden’s proposals at the G7 and the NATO summits, a clear opposition has surfaced in France against the idea that Europe become a battering ram for the U.S. against Russia and China. German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems also to be cautiously on the same line. The June 10 editorial in France’s main conservative daily, Le Figaro, entitled “Joe Biden at the G7 Summit: Conditional Friendship,” first reflects relief from the Europeans at Biden’s reaffirmation that the U.S. is back on the multilateral agenda and that it has reconfirmed the U.S. nuclear umbrella over Europe.

However, Figaro immediately goes on to state unambiguously:

“Let there be no misunderstanding.... Biden will not be content with some friendly pats on the back.... He has one central objective: Enroll the U.S. allies in the geopolitical competition he is launching against China. The Europeans would be wrong to underestimate the Chinese obsession of Joe Biden and of the American Congress which just voted up a $250 billion appropriation to beat Beijing in the technological race. Washington wants to project NATO into the China Sea and mobilize the G7 behind an plan for aid to poor countries offering ‘an alternative’ to the Chinese Belt and Road. We can recall George Bush putting ‘all nations’ under a binary choice after 9/11. Joe Biden may be tempted to engage in that same route of ‘with us or against us,’ but Europeans are not happy with the prospect of a new Cold War which would put them under the [U.S.] grip. To escape the suffocating embrace of the American friend without tearing apart the Western bloc’s unity, the Allies must impose conditions on the President: consultation, proportionality, engagement—the terms of a true partnership. It is up to them, then, to take up the role of mediators if they don’t want to become hostages.”

The article from Le Monde’s Brussels correspondent Jean-Pierre Stroobants, after the NATO summit similarly describes the European opposition to a kind of Cold War against China, but reports that, in order to not introduce a dissonant voice in the renewed trans-Atlantic get together, they finally agreed to sign a communiqué which designates China as a “systemic challenge” to the world order. The communiqué also expresses “concerns” over China, which it says is rapidly developing its nuclear arsenal and which is militarily cooperating in Russian exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area. However, it also calls for a “constructive dialogue with China where possible,” and on condition that Beijing “uphold its international commitments and to act responsibly in the international system, including in the space, cyber, and maritime domains.”

Opposition to the double enemy-bashing of Russia and China is even coming from staunch Atlanticists, such as Yves Boyer of the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), who, after the summit, called on the G7 to stop targeting China and Russia, which can only strengthen the alliance between them.

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