Biden's 'either we or them' push at G7 impractical, unrealistic and unsustainable
Azhar Azam


Editor's note: Azhar Azam works in a private organization as market and business analyst and writes about geopolitical issues and regional conflicts. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

With an avid interest to renew America's transatlantic alliance, U.S. President Joe Biden will attend the 47th Group of Seven (G7) and NATO summits in Cornwall and Brussels within the next few days. Threatened by China's rise and global kudos for Chinese vaccine cooperation and conceptualization of universal prosperity, he wants a stable and predictable relationship with Russia to keep his obsessive focus on Beijing.

Before leaving for Europe, Biden described that his goals were geared toward "strengthening the alliance, making it clear to Putin and to China that Europe and the United States are tight." Once holding talks with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the U.S. President will also try to restore America's relationship with European countries and dispel Europe's concerns about lack of trust in the U.S.

Yet given European states do not back the idea to forge the so-called "democratic" bloc against China under declining U.S. global competitiveness and eminence, Biden should better restrain himself from using the forum for setting Beijing and Brussels, endeavoring to move forward and deepen their bilateral trade and economic ties, at odds.

The Biden administration is steadily backing away from its promise to maintain a fine balance between competition and cooperation with China. The European Union (EU) however realizes the importance of China-EU collaboration as the European Council President Charles Michel hailed the landmark investment deal a "huge step in the right direction."

Ahead of his meeting with Biden at G7 summit, Michel's resolute support to the treaty, objective stance signaling to put away differences and buttress trade and economic ties with China – despite seeing Beijing as a competitor but also important partner of cooperation – shows way to Washington how a balance could be crafted between two sides through continuous engagement rather than sheer confrontation.

Even though the U.S. President is desperate to watch Brussels act as Washington's proxy, many officials in the White House show skepticism that Europe will ever concede its business interests or contribute to security in other regions, let alone managing to gather support for the U.S. unprovoked "long-term strategic competition with China."

Armed police officers patrol ahead of the G7 leaders summit in Carbis Bay, UK, June 9, 2021. /Getty

Armed police officers patrol ahead of the G7 leaders summit in Carbis Bay, UK, June 9, 2021. /Getty

So, as the research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations Jeremy Shapiro summed up, Europe for the U.S. is largely a grandiloquent place where American officials deliver speeches and practice hot diplomacy in scenic locations "to show up and to intone the ritual incantations of transatlantic solidarity" and hard press the European leaders support the U.S. efforts to contain China.

Biden, some argue, will have to make Europe more resilient for a return of Trumpism and help it become more autonomous and capable before enabling the U.S. to better compete against China. The wariness within the bloc to join an anti-China alliance is another major barrier in the achievement of Washington's manic ambitions. 

G7 is an informal club of wealthy and developed countries; still India was invited, leaving out the largest growing developing country and key to global economic growth, China. The division of the world on the basis of political systems exposes inequitable treatment with specific countries, doubts Biden's quest for the survival of multilateralism and most importantly, risks revival of international growth and stops other developing nations from playing their role in multilateral governance.

The EU, like China, is a victim of the U.S. tariff war over alleged national security concerns. Biden is yet to lift tariffs on European steel and aluminum, possibly as a leverage to push the bloc to meet his undue demands.

But prior to that, the U.S. President is treating the EU even harder than Trump. Biden is sustaining the "Buy American" policy, continues the blockade of the judicial system in the World Trade Organization and has made Brussels look like the bad guys by unilaterally backing the proposal to give up vaccine intellectual property rights.

The sudden shift in the U.S. behavior on vaccine cooperation is aimed at countering China, which expansively helped developing countries in inoculating their population and further pledged $3 billion over the next three years for COVID-19 response and social and economic recovery. Biden seeks to align Europe, especially Germany, to join the U.S. new Cold War against China. In order to take the industrial giant on board, he reportedly decided to waive and defended waiving sanctions on the company overseeing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. But the Europeans including the important Chinese trade partner do not like the U.S. often-used term "adversary." Instead of becoming part of any America's China doctrine, they would put their interests before "America First."

Washington has to mend its arrogant approach that the U.S. partners can't be China's allies. The European nations have the right to draw an independent policy and maintain their relationship both with China and the U.S. Biden's push – "either we or them" – is impractical, unrealistic and unsustainable. Confrontation favors nobody and that should be Europe's message to Biden at G7.

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