Friday, January 7, 2011

China moves into Europe

I have already mentioned before that China is moving to ease the eurocrisis, it was one of the major purchasers of Spanish debt in the last auction, as far as I know. Europe has little or nothing to lose with that, except the pretty much useless, and sometimes demanding and trouble-making, US overlordship.

Interestingly there are of course some peculiar Chinese interests in all this: acquisition of military technology. At Al Jazeera Business blog today, Abid Ali mentions this, in relation to the new Chinese stealth fighter. And also mentions that some European countries, notably France (but surely also Spain, which has some important military industry, albeit less technologically first-line, and I'd dare say Italy as well, which is very eclectic and works well with Russia, Iran and Israel all at the same time) are interested in lifting the arms embargo to China. Naturally Britain is expected to be against and it is not clear if the interested countries can obtain the qualified majority to change this directive. The author seems rather in the line of that being unlikely. 

But, in the context of the dangerous eurocrisis, China is playing powerful cards. Cards that are hard to trump, certainly for Britain, immerse in its own crisis of huge dimensions. I'd dare say that the key is in Germany. But the last thing the German elites want is that the Eurozone collapses. Also they have recently aligned themselves with China in WTO conflicts with a critical view of US monetary policy. And in general they seem like not losing much if the arms embargo to China is lifted. 

After all China is far away from Europe and poses no direct or indirect threat. It is if anything a issue for the USA, Japan, India and Russia, not Europe. So I bet for a lift of the embargo, not without negotiations in which Germany will play its card as deciding vote. 

China as growing superpower, likely to overcome the USA in GDP (PPP) this very decade, needs a powerful military, even if only as counter-balance for the US main card of imperial intervention nearly anywhere. It also needs a strong nuclear deterrence: so far it relies mostly on Russia's nuclear arsenal but how reliable are the Russians? It also relies on its own economic relevance but this is a weak card in the case of war logic unleashing (and anyhow economic tensions between Beijing and Washington are growing).

In this sense taking a more active role in Europe holds some promise for China as well as most European states. As I say, Europe has not much to fear from China and potential gains are on the table. However Europe might be easily divided, with all that it might imply ("Balcanization", potential conflicts), if different states take different stands. Europe is not as relevant as it used to be, hence it may eventually become disposable, as was Yugoslavia not long ago. It still has important economic might and there is a risk (most undesired from the point of view of US and local elites) of socialist revolution (but also of fascism) if the crisis deepens, as it will without doubt.

Opinions welcome, as always.

1 comment:

  1. A relatively good post this time by you, my dear friend! I posted a tie-in that you may find informative or atleast find interested in,


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