Author: Ming Shuyuan official account: Ming shuzatan wechat id:laomingdashu
February 24, 2022 is by far the most decisive day in European history in the 21st century.
On this day, Russia announced that it would launch “special military operations” in eastern Ukraine.
Since the end of World War II, large-scale war has come to Europe again.
For Europe, which has suffered two bloody and cruel world wars in the past 100 years, there is a strong smell of recurring nightmares.
I once said that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a contradiction between Russia and Ukraine on the surface, but in essence it is a contradiction between Russia and the United States. Ukraine is a chess piece and a consumable. Europe is a chessboard and a battlefield. Russia thinks it is fighting directly with the United States, while the United States always believes that its real opponent is China.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has brought a strong impact to Europe.
After the outbreak of the war, Europe was coerced by an irrational emotion. Instigated by the United States and Britain, “punishing Russia” became a political right. In the past 100 days, Europe has even implemented rounds of “suicide” sanctions in order to “punish Russia”.
Europe, which relies heavily on Russian energy, has followed the United States in banning energy imports from Russia.
After the outbreak of the war, Europe not only faced the problem of large-scale influx of Ukrainian refugees, but also the soaring prices of natural gas and crude oil. The inflation rate in Europe has also exceeded 8%, approaching that of the United States.
Over the past three months, I have seen two absurd and real scenes:
——According to the first stage trade agreement between China and the United States, China has been importing natural gas from the United States in the past threeorfour years, which is good for both China and the United States. After the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, natural gas prices in Europe soared. It is reported that a ship of liquefied natural gas originally shipped from the United States to China was sold directly to Europe. Some people in the United States are itchy;
——When the United States and Europe began to gradually prohibit the purchase of crude oil from Russia, India is increasing the purchase of cheap crude oil from Russia, refining it into refined oil in India, and then selling it to Europe and the United States suffering from the rising energy prices at a high price, which is really a “win-win” business.
The “breaking of diplomatic relations” between the United States and Russia involves both strategic considerations and the Biden administration’s “revenge for public and private” to avenge Putin’s “interference in the US presidential election”.
More importantly, over the years, there have been few trade and investment exchanges between the United States and Russia. Especially in terms of energy, the United States has achieved energy self-sufficiency and is still exporting. The United States is not as highly dependent on Russia as Europe.
However, Europe is different. It is close to Russia in geography and interests. Every action of Europe to “punish Russia” is like a “seven injury fist”. Russia is injured, and Europe is also injured.
Whether it is to prohibit Russian aircraft from using European airspace or to import energy from Russia, it is Russia that is hit and Europe itself is hurt.
The United States, which has always adhered to the principle of “die a friend, not die a poor man”, is like a wily “pig teammate”. After the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it has severely put Europe together.
No matter how much some people in the United States emphasize that the transatlantic partnership between the United States and Europe is unbreakable, they can’t wait in their hearts for Europe to be torn apart and turbulent. Only in this way can we break the threat of the resurgence of Europe to the hegemony of the dollar and play with Europe forever in the hands of the United States.
Maybe you want to ask, “is Europe a fool?”
Many people have found that since Charles de Gaulle, Europe has no such leaders who have foresight and dare to get rid of us control.
After Merkel retired, there were only politicians left in Greater Europe, but no real politicians.
This is the reality and tragedy of Europe.
To understand why Europe, at the mercy of the United States and Britain, is constantly launching “suicide sanctions” against Russia, we need to understand how this war has exposed seven underlying emotions in Europe, from politicians to the poor.
(1) The first emotion: anger.
Russia’s war against Ukraine broke the Europeans’ understanding of the most basic rules of war and peace. They can’t believe that in the 21st century, the fact that one country “invades” another country will break out.
This made them extremely angry.
This is the fundamental reason why anti Russian sentiment quickly became politically correct in European countries after the outbreak of the war.
In fact, in today’s world, local wars happen every day, but Ukraine is at the door of Europe, and the war here makes Europeans feel even more painful.
Even Switzerland, which has consistently declared its neutrality over the past 200 years, has joined some sanctions against Russia.
This anti Russian anger that pervades every corner of Europe has a great impact, which can be seen from this.
(2) The second emotion: fear
Throughout the cold war, the Soviet Union stationed heavy troops in Eastern Europe, and there was a fierce confrontation between the East and the West.
At that time, almost all the people in Western Europe had the fear that “the Russian steel torrent might be rolled over at any time”.
Russia sent troops to Ukraine, which once again awakened the nightmare in their hearts.
Historically, Russia is located in the east of Europe, and its nationality, religion, culture and political system are obviously different from those of Western Europe.
Although Russia has played an important role in the European continent for many times in the past 200 years, in the heart of Western Europeans, they still believe that the blood of some Oriental barbarians is flowing in the blood vessels of the Russian nation.
Finland and Sweden, the two long-term neutral countries, chose to apply for NATO membership at this time, which is a real manifestation of this fear.
(3) The third emotion: Revenge
Because of anger and fear, the Europeans decided to retaliate against Russia.
Even Germany, which had been relatively restrained before, eventually joined the ranks of providing deadly weapons to Ukraine.
Before the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, French President makron and German Chancellor Scholz communicated directly with Putin for many times, but it is clear that they have not had any impact on Putin’s decision.
This also makes them think that it is necessary to retaliate against Russia severely and teach Russia a lesson to avoid Russia continuing to “hit whoever it wants” in Europe.
This retaliatory mentality also makes Europe more impulsive and less rational when launching “suicide sanctions” against Russia.
(4) The fourth emotion: Contradiction
However, Europe has always been ambivalent about how to deal with Russia.
This contradiction is reflected in many aspects.
Should we choose to reconcile with Russia and integrate Russia into Europe, or should we continue to confront Russia and start a “new cold war” in Europe?
Should we continue to use Russian energy out of practical interests, or should we give up reluctantly to attack Russia?
Should we continue to follow the United States, or should we gradually increase Europe’s Strategic Autonomy?
Who can represent the real Europe, the new Europe or the old Europe?
There is no easy answer to each of the above questions.
This is the reality of Europe today.
(5) The fifth emotion: helplessness
Europe is the birthplace of the Renaissance, religious reform and industrial revolution. It is also the headquarters of capitalism.
In the 19th century, Europe reached the peak of history and became the world leader.
European countries vied for colonies and plundered wealth all over the world, which strengthened Eurocentrism.
However, greedy imperialism plunged Europe into two world wars in the first half of the 20th century. In the ruins of war, Europe was sinking and the United States was rising.
Especially after the Second World War, the European continent was full of holes and mess. Only with the assistance of the United States can Europe be rebuilt.
But Europe has also paid a fatal price.
The United States maintains troops in many European countries. While shouldering the important task of defending Europe, it also firmly controls Europe’s Strategic Autonomy through NATO, a military and political alliance.
Today, Germany, the so-called “leader” of Europe, has only an army of just over 60000 people. Of course, there are reasons why Germany, as a defeated country, has maintained restraint, but the reality is that today’s Germany is simply unable to conduct a decent military action alone.
France, the largest military power in Europe, has only about 120000 troops in the army, with a total force of no more than 400000.
Not to mention other countries.
Although everyone is laughing at Russia’s collapse on the battlefield in Ukraine, in fact, any other country in Europe today may not perform as well as Russia if it is fighting independently.
Economically, the EU once surpassed the United States in terms of economic aggregate, but strategically, the EU is more like a “big Japan”.
In the words of Chinese netizens, a mainland occupied by foreign military forces is not worthy of talking about strategic autonomy.
(6) The sixth emotion: hesitation
In the 21st century, where is Europe going?
In the decades after the war, the United States, the “son” of Europe in the cultural sense, has now become the “master” of Europe. Europe has become dependent on the United States in economy, science and technology, military affairs, diplomacy, culture and other aspects. Not only in reality, it is difficult for Europe to “wean” from the United States, but also psychologically, it is even more difficult for Europe to “wean” from the United States.
We certainly hope that Europe can get rid of the control of the United States, take an independent development path, and become an important pole in a multi-level world. However, it seems that European politicians of this generation are completely unable to make such a grand strategic choice.
Psychologically, Europe still has a strong sense of self-esteem and even arrogance. Europe would rather be a small servant of the United States than be on an equal footing with China, a big eastern country.
Whites, Christianity and political systems are the bottom link between Europe and America. No matter how many contradictions they have, this link will make them closer and more united with China.
(7) The seventh emotion: Anxiety
After the war, is Europe moving towards revival or continuing to sink?
This is a problem.
The establishment of the European Union and the launch of the euro zone once made many people feel that the re emergence of Europe is just around the corner.
Perhaps a unified Europe will become an important pole in the world.
However, in the past decade or so, from the European sovereign debt crisis, to the brexit of Britain, to the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the EU, as a political and economic complex, has obvious inherent shortcomings.
The principle of consensus has made all European decisions lengthy and inefficient.
The world seems especially unfriendly to Europe today.
Across the Atlantic, there is a United States that looks like a friend but always wants Europe to fall apart.
To the east of Europe is a “Russia full of threats”.
At the other end of the Eurasian continent, there is a China with a very different race, culture and political system, but it is in the process of rapid rejuvenation.
What is the value of Europe in such a world? What is the future of Europe?
Europe, which itself is becoming more and more aging, and the cultural impact and dilution brought by immigrants, has not a bright future.
A conflict between Russia and Ukraine tore off the veil of peace and prosperity in post-war Europe and exposed the inherent contradictions and difficulties in Europe for hundreds of years.
The future of Europe can only hope that Germany and France can “rise up” and shoulder the important task of internal integration again; And adopt a more pragmatic and balanced strategy in the face of China, the United States and Russia.
Especially for the United States, a “partner” and “friend”, Europeans should keep a clear head. Otherwise, the United States, which has always insisted on “America first”, will sooner or later cook European dumplings. At that time, the most sad thing is that in Europe, some people will still be grateful to the United States and call it “so warm”.
For China, there is no serious geopolitical conflict with Europe in essence. However, Europe should be vigilant in cooperating with the United States to contain China through NATO and other transatlantic cooperation mechanisms. China hopes that Europe can find a “backbone” of Strategic Autonomy, but it cannot expect too much.
In the context of the game between China and the United States, China’s best friend is its growing comprehensive national strength.
China’s biggest strategy is to maintain China’s own continuous development and use its own high degree of certainty to cope with the high degree of uncertainty of the great changes that have not been seen in a century.
Rising in the East and falling in the west is a historical trend. No matter how long the process is, the direction is certain.
What we need to do is to maintain strategic patience, maintain strategic concentration, and continue to do our own things in a down-to-earth manner.
Time will not disappoint any nation that does not waste time.