The following article comes from Yang Feng and is written by Yang Feng
Europe is facing a serious crisis, and the situation is complex, which is beyond the imagination of ordinary Europeans. As far as the three major countries, China, the United States and Russia are concerned, they all have their own goals and plans in the face of the current situation in Europe.
On the whole, the United States is the most positive about the situation in Europe. The United States has been promoting the situation in Europe and trying to master the direction of the EU. Russia is passively responding to the European sanctions. However, Russia is preparing for the contest after winter. China is more conservative and passive.
The world situation is changing and changing rapidly. Perhaps, China can take precautions and be more proactive in its policy towards Europe.
Europeans, who have always been used to living a comfortable life, could only be aware that the good days of Europeans might be over in the early morning of the Russian Ukrainian war.
Europe, which has always been pretentious, followed the United States in imposing severe sanctions on Russia. Only then did we realize that our country, even the entire EU, is not as strong as we imagined. Moreover, it is still very fragile.
Europe is short of energy and food production. Many industrial production and daily necessities depend on overseas supply, especially in Asia. Or it can be said that Europe needs to rely on the supply of colonial countries in the past.
Europe was a colonial empire in the past, and Asia and Latin America were colonial countries in the past. However, the colonial powers of the past now need to rely on the countries that were colonized by them in the past.
We feel that it is time. In the trilateral game between China, the United States and Russia, China and Russia cannot allow the United States to dominate the situation in Europe, so that the United States always brings European countries to encircle China and Russia and take unfavorable measures against them.
However, China and Russia cannot directly intervene in the situation in Europe, which is another difficult problem.
First of all, let’s look at the difficulties and crises facing Europe.
Europe is facing serious inflation. The inflation rate in the euro area reached 8.9% in July, and that in the United States was 8.5%.
Inflation in Europe is higher than that in the United States, and it has been rising all the way, and there is no stopping trend.
If we only talk about inflation in the euro area, we can not see how serious the problems in Europe are. Europe is facing a serious power crisis, especially in France and Germany. The base load electricity price delivered by France next year will reach 1130 euros / megawatt hour, which is the first time in history that it has exceeded the 1000 euros mark, an increase of more than 10 times over the same period last year.
Similar products in Germany also set a new historical record, reaching 995 euros / megawatt hour. The EU will convene an emergency meeting of energy ministers of EU member states in the near future to discuss the energy crisis facing the EU.
Just one power issue can make Europe fly like a chicken and a dog, and expose many problems. Among them, natural gas prices soared due to the Russian Ukrainian war. Moreover, the problem has not been solved, and the situation will only be worse in winter.
For Europe, when the heating demand comes in winter, the price is no longer a problem. As long as we can find a source to replace Russian natural gas, it will be very good. Even if Europe can buy enough natural gas from the United States, Norway, Canada, Qatar and other countries, the price will certainly be high.
What does this result mean? This means that inflation in Europe can not be reduced, and European people need to pay high electricity and natural gas prices. In addition, inflation is rising, and the lives of some European people will be in trouble.
In a democratic society, when people’s lives are in trouble, it means that the regime will be unstable. Don’t forget that there is also a refugee problem lurking in Europe. We will not be surprised that there will be endless demonstrations and protests.
If the economic recession comes a few months later, it will be even more disastrous for some European people.
To sum up, Europe is now facing economic difficulties. Power crisis, natural gas crisis and high inflation.
Some people say that the GDP of the euro area increased by 0.7% month on month in the second quarter, and that of the EU increased by 0.6% month on month, which is still an increase. The slight growth of the European economy is also due to inflation, which has pushed up the number of economic activities and thus the economic data. However, this is a fat and vain number.
Faced with such difficulties and crises, how can individual Europe cope?
European countries have their own plans. Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, have their own plans. France wants to intervene in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but is unwilling to pay too much for Ukraine.
Therefore, in addition to seeking more benefits for themselves, European countries also have their own ideas.
As we said earlier, in order to expand its army, Germany also sent 13 warplanes to Australia in a solemn manner to participate in military exercises of 17 countries. Then, German Chancellor Scholz called on German enterprises to get rid of their dependence on China.
We say that Germany does not have the ability to decouple from China, which is a smoke screen.
Germany wanted to expand its military, but was also afraid of accusations from Eastern European countries and suspicion from the United States. Therefore, the German Chancellor put on a show and sent fighter planes to the Indo Pacific region to participate in exercises. When Germany decided to increase its military spending in early March, it also changed its words and said that it would provide more weapons to Ukraine to fight Russia.
Germany should make the Allies feel that the reason why Germany increases its military expenditure is to expand its army. They are all aimed at confronting Russia and China.
In this case, why does China need to go to great trouble to deal with Germany’s clamour against China? The evidence is that Germany later reduced and postponed its arms supply to Ukraine, and the warplanes sent to Australia to participate in the exercise did not pass through the Taiwan Strait and avoided contacting the South China Sea, which did not offend China.
From the deduction here, we can understand that the EU is now in a split situation, with split opinions and split interests.
When winter comes, this situation will become more obvious.
Therefore, China can deal with provocations from Europe separately. For example, when Lithuanian officials visited Taiwan, China imposed sanctions on Lithuanian officials and cancelled cooperation with the departments under their jurisdiction.
Therefore, China also treats and deals with European countries with different plans.
However, such an approach is still passive, especially compared with the frequent briefings in Europe by the United States and Britain, which instigate European countries.
However, this is also the current political reality, and it is difficult for China and Russia to exert influence on Europe.
Having said that, we still need to find some possible ways.
First, the issue of prioritization. Since the political atmosphere in Europe and China is not right now, China is not in a hurry, but puts the priority of foreign cooperation in the Middle East and Central Asia.
In addition to the Middle East and Central Asia, China can also cooperate with African countries, including North African countries near Europe. China can expand its cooperation with Latin American countries and Oceanian countries. As for Southeast Asian countries, it’s no surprise.
The world is large and there are many countries. Although the GDP of European countries is high, European countries do not dare to cut off economic and trade relations with China. If Sino EU relations are difficult to improve in the short term, China is not in a hurry. Especially in the next few months, the world may face more economic difficulties.
Second, since China treats European countries separately, it can naturally select some European countries for individual treatment, and enhance bilateral economic and trade relations, starting with economic and trade relations, especially trade.
In this regard, we are not in a hurry, in case the other party changes its mind midway and thus loses investment.
On this point, as we said earlier, where can European countries get rid of their dependence on China?
Third, if China EU cooperation is difficult to carry out in China or in various European countries, then choose a third-party country. For example, in 2015, China Nuclear Power Group and France electric power group reached a cooperation agreement to build Hinkley point nuclear power station for the UK.
Although this is only a few cooperation cases, it is still a feasible cooperation mode.
Fourth, if individual countries in Europe can not, they can cooperate with individual enterprises, whether in trade or investment cooperation. For example, in the development and cooperation of energy and mineral resources.
The conclusion is that those who can cooperate will cooperate, and those who cannot cooperate will not be reluctant. China has sufficient economic and trade strength and a large domestic demand market. Don’t worry, I can wait for the opportunity slowly.
In the past two years, some overseas Anti China voices believed that since the Biden administration began to unite with allies, especially European countries, it was bound to be unfavorable to China, and China’s national luck would decline from then on.
This argument overemphasizes the power of ideology and ignores the importance of people’s life and economy. Although ideology does have its effects, I do not think this situation can be expanded without restrictions.
There are three reasons.
First, the United States and the West are now engaged in ideology, but once it comes to elections, economic issues are still very important. Therefore, we mentioned earlier that it is difficult for European countries to pursue ideology for a long time.
After one or two general elections, the situation may change. The ideological practices of European politicians may not last long.
In particular, China is far away from the other side of the world and poses no threat to Europe. The China threat theory advocated by some Europeans may not last after one or two terms of government. Last time, we mentioned the elections in Australia and Hungary, which are cases in this regard.
Second, in the past two years, the trade volume between the EU and China has not decreased, but increased. In 2021, China EU trade in goods reached another record high. In the first two months of this year, the total value of trade between China and the EU was 874.6 billion yuan, an increase of 12.4%, accounting for 14.1% of China’s total foreign trade. Instead, the EU overtook ASEAN to become China’s largest trading partner again.
The propaganda of political figures can cover up temporary voices, but the data is true. When the table is noisy, we look at real data.
Third, the United States does one thing and says another about the United Nations. For example, not long ago, the US Secretary of energy sent letters to seven US oil refining enterprises. According to the copies of the documents leaked by the media, the US Department of energy forced these seven oil refiners to reduce their exports and focus on replenishing their domestic oil and gas inventories in the short term.
Why does DOE do this?
Because domestic refiners in the United States will give priority to selling oil abroad because of the good oil prices in Europe. In this way, the United States itself will be short of oil, and oil prices will rise.
If the United States does this, it will certainly aggravate the energy supply crisis in Europe.
Needless to say, after the Russian Ukrainian war, the United States bought a large amount of Russian oil for a period of time.
There are many such examples. If the words and actions of the United States are inconsistent, it is difficult to make European countries obey the United States every time.
Fourth, the United States cannot compensate its allies for their losses. There are many cases in this regard. In 2019, the trump administration strongly urged European countries to prohibit the use of Huawei’s communication equipment. The United States demands that some European countries not only cannot use Huawei’s 5g communication equipment, but also dismantle the old equipment.
However, those losses are billions or billions of dollars. Who will bear these losses?
The United States will not bear it.
In the middle of 2020, China imposed restrictive measures on some Australian imports. Australia suffered huge trade losses and could only swallow them by itself.
Not only did the United States not make up for Australia’s loss in trade, but the United States and its allies also snatched the share of Australia’s exports to China.
There is no end to this account. In the long run, the United States’ allies will not be able to bear these losses.
From another perspective, China may carry out such propaganda. Those who follow the demands of a big country and suffer economic and trade losses should seek compensation from a big country.
As a result, Lithuania, which was sanctioned, was left to the responsibility of a big country, which would bear the losses. The same is true of Australia. In the future, if there are still countries following a big country, which leads to economic and trade losses, it will be up to a big country to make up for them and leave these countries to a big country.
If a big country is willing to make up for the losses of these countries, it will become a burden for a big country. If a big country is unwilling to make up for the losses of these countries, it will lose its credibility. After a long time, these countries will not be able to hold on and will gradually give up hostility to China. Australia is a case in point.
For those who think that Europe has turned to the United States, China’s development will stop, and China’s national luck will go down because of it, we refute it again today. It is difficult for Europe to follow the United States. It will take about one or two governments.
In fact, the United States has dismantled Europe. Although the EU will not disintegrate in the short term, we do not think that the EU will disintegrate in the short term. We have held this view since the brexit referendum was passed in 2016
However, Europe is divided in opinion and action.
Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and southern Europe have different ideas. There is also a troublemaker hanging abroad, Britain.
Since the United States has dismantled Europe, China can also follow the dismantled Europe and treat it separately.
Not long ago, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia withdrew from the 17 + 1 central and Eastern European cooperation mechanism. It doesn’t matter if these countries withdraw, they will leave them to the United States to bear and become a burden to the United States.
In the past, didn’t the United States undertake the defense of many countries and regions? What if we add the financial commitment now?
During the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union in the last century, some Americans complained that the United States’ foreign defense was too high. At that time, there was a saying: “we defend everywhere!” Since we are going to engage in a new cold war, it is no harm to bear more economic burdens!
Let these three countries turn to the United States, and let the United States bear their economy. This will reduce China’s burden, and China can put more resources in other central and Eastern European countries.
On the Russian side, in order to solve the energy problem, some European countries continue to purchase oil and natural gas from Russia despite the opposition of the EU. In this regard, Russia has dismantled European countries and is now waiting for winter.
There are two ways for Europe:
First, at least abandon the energy sanctions against Russia and continue to purchase energy from Russia. In this way, Europe has solved the problem of energy shortage and also partially solved the inflation problem in Europe.
Second, continue to waste time with Russia. Although most countries in Europe may have found alternative sources, they have to bear high prices and inflation will remain high.
Let’s draw a conclusion.
Europe’s foreign policies and interests are being split, although the EU will not disintegrate. What is a Europe in the process of disintegration to fear? How can we change China’s national fate and let China decline from now on?
What Russia is waiting for is the arrival of winter. Spring in Russia may be this winter. China is making serious preparations and waiting for a possible economic recession.
It depends on when Europe will understand. Otherwise, inflation and economic difficulties, coupled with social chaos, will trap Europe for a long time.