A recent address by the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borell, hints at a new pro-Asian political order on the continent as Germany gets ready to lead the 27-nation bloc. But, is it just a ploy to check Chinese hegemony?
Asignificant change in the global balance of power may be in the offing if we are to believe declarations made by EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell while addressing a group of German ambassadors on Monday in Brussels. Borell reportedly “created a diplomatic headache” when he called for the end of the “American-led system” and made the case for ushering in an “Asian century” centered around stabilizing European relations with Russia.
Borell ruffled more feathers earlier in the week when he publicly opposed “any Israeli initiative toward the annexation of parts of the West Bank,” but stopped short of articulating any concrete steps the EU might take to curb Israeli abuses in the region, stating that the EU would limit itself to “diplomatic action in order to avoid any unilateral action” by Israel in Gaza, despite support by several European nations for punitive actions against the apartheid state.
Nevertheless, Borell’s most recent comments before the German ambassadors are noteworthy for the simple fact that Germany is set to take over the presidency of the EU, as well as the UN Security Council in July, giving the EU’s chief diplomat’s words particular resonance and may point to a new phase in the broader Atlanticist geopolitical playbook.
Playing both sides
Borell, a Spanish politician who took over the EU’s top diplomat spot in December of 2019, has straddled the fine line Europe has taken between siding with American insistence on maligning the Asian superpower with claims of trying to block an investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus earlier this month and calling China a “partner country” in a recent article he penned in several European newspapers.
Ultimately, the European Union’s role in advancing Atlanticist designs in Asia hinges on its ability to play mediator in the tense relationship between the other world superpower – the United States, together with its proxy state, Israel – and China. To this end, Borell calls for the EU to “maintain the necessary collective discipline” against the threat of Chinese economic hegemony in their natural sphere of influence, which includes nations like India, Japan, Indonesia, and Russia.
For this reason, Borell’s message to the German ambassadors revolved around mending relationships with Putin’s Russia and strengthening ties “with the rest of democratic Asia,” suggesting that the EU should put their full support behind the Russian port of Vladivostok and Trans-Siberian transportation routes in order to skirt China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and thus weaken its position throughout Asia.
Germany’s close commercial ties to Russia have been a recurring bone of contention against the American-led intransigence against Putin in recent years, and as the Teuton nation prepares to assume a leading role in the 27-nation bloc government and the UN it looks as though the Atlanticist playbook is being tweaked as they discover that the strategies applied so far are only bringing its enemies closer together.
Filling the powder keg
As the geopolitical chess match continues to unfold amidst this pandemic-induced global economic reset, the real purpose of Israel as the linchpin of the entire Atlanticist project might soon be revealed to the world.
Should the EU’s rapprochement with Russia bear the desired fruit and the Kremlin indeed begins to forge closer ties with Europe instead of China, the balance of power will shift away from the U.S.-Israeli axis, at least momentarily. But, it will also set the stage for what Borell – perhaps only intuitively – expressed as the “pressure to choose sides.”
The EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner and Borell himself underlined that it was important for Europe to have “the best relationship with Israel” as a new coalition government between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz finally begins to take shape in the Middle Eastern state. Borell’s rhetoric about supporting Palestinian sovereignty might be nothing more than a bone thrown to the more conscientious EU members so that the aforementioned “collective discipline” might be achieved and Russia may be successfully lured into the fold and halt any further nurturing of Sino-Russian relations.
The American position on Israel is unambiguous and, in addition to the scandalous and continued subsidizing of the Israeli state, completely backs its most ambitious annexation plans in Gaza and beyond in complete contradiction to the position several European countries are currently taking.
Once the economic corridors have been ironed out and Russia comes on board to serve as the Atlanticists’ Silk Road into all of Asia – not to mention Russia’s own “huge investment potential,” in “natural resources, fisheries, and tourism,” a more isolated China could become fatally vulnerable to a manufactured war sparked by Israel and Washington, which the EU – at that point – might have no choice but to support.