China, Europe, U.S.A.
Rearranging the Global Chessboard
For more than 70 years after the Second World War, a close-knit relationship formed across the Atlantic Ocean. Donald Trump’s brand of radical unilateralism has fractured that fraternity. In the new world order, China, the European Union, and the United States will be scrambling to gobble up the pieces.
Rearranging the Global ChessboardBy Yun-han Chu
In the seventy plus years after World War Two, Western Europe has always been the closest ally of the United States. Under American guidance, the war-ravaged nations rebuilt and returned to their former glory. As the Cold War played out over half a century, U.S.-led NATO provided security for Western Europe against the incursions of the Russian Federation.
In return, Europe championed America’s role as the leader of the free world. They played an important part in the post-war world order established by the Americans. Transatlantic partnership with the United States was the cornerstone of European diplomacy. As the United States’ most stalwart confederate, Western Europe became part of the inner circle in many key international organizations, such as the World Bank, the United Nations Security Council, and the IMF. In effect, they guided the global narrative alongside the U.S.A.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO expanded eastward towards the Russian border. The European Union absorbed former Soviet Republics in Central and Eastern Europe by introducing a common currency and shared economic policies set by Western Europe. Through the EU, Western Europe came to be on equal footing with the U.S. in terms of trade negotiations. The euro gave Europe a shot at controlling the global reserve currency, a privilege hitherto monopolized by the American dollar.
Though alarmed by the U.S. government’s leaning towards unilateralism, Western Europe has never dared to oppose U.S.-led military operations or political coups in the region. Whatever the opinion of the United Nations Security Council, at the end of the day America called the shots, and the EU followed, often to their own detriment. Long before refugees or retaliatory acts of terrorism made their way across the pond, it was Europe who had to finance reconstruction efforts, take in massive numbers of refugees, and suffer from terrorist attacks.
For seventy years Europe has weathered this, but at long last U.S. President Donald Trump’s brand of radical unilateralism has shaken their resolve. Unlike previous leaders of the free world, Trump has no qualms about reneging on international agreements, multilateral systems, and long-held diplomatic policies. He has no use for the responsibilities of leadership, shared values, or common goals. He has made it very clear to Europe that he puts America above all else. He fancies himself a tough negotiator who concedes less to, but expects more from, the European Union.
Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement dumped decades of Western European effort down the drain.
Washington ditched the Iran nuclear deal and expected Europe to follow suit. Worst of all, Trump openly advocates the dissolution of the EU, and proclaims himself as a Brexit supporter. Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon actively courted far right groups across the EU. And so Europe finally realized that they could no longer count on American leadership or support.
By sticking with the Iran nuclear deal, Europe has shown that they are willing to forge their own path away from the Americans. They’ve begun to establish their own global payment and clearing system to substitute for the U.S.-led dollar system. This will protect European companies from America’s economic sanctions, and ultimately move them away from the U.S. dollar. Parallel to all this, China has also been forced to diminish their dependence on American financial, technological, telecom and internet systems. The board is set and the pieces are moving. In the new world order, China, Europe, and the United States will be the three global superpowers dominating the game.
Translated by Jack C.
Edited by Tomas Lin