Biden’s election will show that the Western alliance is no more

We will soon see that the Europeans prefer to cosy up to their enemies than ally with America

Nick Timothy

16 August 2020 • 9:30pm

With an eye-roll here, and a put-down there, it has long been sport for the world to watch Angela Merkel’s response to anything Donald Trump says.

As amusing for many as this may be, the game makes light of the grave predicament facing the West. Just as Europe and America face relative economic decline and growing insecurity, not to mention domestic instability, the Western Alliance is no more. The global institutions built by liberal democracies are decaying, our commitment to collective security is in doubt, and our response to increasingly assertive hostile foreign states is fragmented and ineffective.

Optimistic liberals might suppose that the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States will help the West to set a new course. The polls suggest Biden is likely to win big, and his politics are reassuringly familiar. Europeans can tell themselves that, as a Democrat, Biden will make a renewed commitment to multilateralism. After the Trump years, he might see that the best way of making America great again is by making America respectable again.

But taking such a view would be a grave error. Of course, Biden is unlikely to dismiss foreign lands as “s—hole countries”. And, while his memory seems to fail him on occasion, he is more likely to pronounce foreign leaders’ and landmarks’ names correctly than the man who called one of America’s favourite national parks “Yo, Semite.” But the gulf between Europe and the US is not simply down to the personality of the incumbent president. Its cause can be explained by sharp differences in values and interests, and a failure of leadership, in Europe as much as America.

Take China. The clash between Washington and Beijing is not intensifying simply because President Trump believes the tension suits him. Scepticism towards China is now a bipartisan attitude in America. No US president could sit and watch as China dominates first the South China Sea, and then the Pacific Ocean. Nor could they remain passive as China threatens American allies, sets debt traps to control other countries, and spies on Western companies and military and security agencies.

Biden will probably adjust America’s China policy, his rhetoric will be less wild, and he will be more willing to work with allies and through international institutions. But his objectives will match Trump’s. He will aim to limit Beijing’s geopolitical reach, stop China gaining a military and security advantage over the US, and seek continued American leadership in key technologies such as telecommunications and artificial intelligence. And as he does so, he will seek the support of America’s allies.

But where does Europe stand on these questions? In Britain, the Government is slowly correcting the horrors of the Cameron/Osborne “golden era” of relations with China. The Prime Minister stood up to Beijing over its treatment of Hong Kong, changed policy on Huawei’s role within our 5G networks, and seems increasingly sceptical about Chinese investment in our critical infrastructure.

On the Continent, however, important questions remain unanswered. Emmanuel Macron is hawkish, calling Beijing’s policy “hegemonic”, and declaring Chinese investment in European infrastructure “not compatible with our interests”.

But Germany has been slow to respond to China’s destruction of civil rights in Hong Kong and its treatment of the Uighur Muslims. It pushes the EU to seek trade and investment agreements with China, even as Beijing tears up international treaties, threatens its neighbours, and manipulates international institutions such as the WHO. Like a man determined to prove his own blindness, Peter Altmaier, Germany’s minister for the economy and Merkel’s most trusted lieutenant, insists, “I still believe that change can be achieved through trade.”

The bizarre presidency of Donald Trump has allowed Europe, and Germany in particular, to hide its hypocrisies, inadequacies and indecision behind a veil of self-satisfied moral superiority. But if Biden is elected this November, that veil will be torn away, and not only when it comes to China.

Questions linger about Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia. But with Europe reliant on Russia for 40 per cent of its gas, and plans to increase supply further with a new pipeline, it is Europe, and Germany in particular, that refuses to stand up to Russian aggression. A Biden presidency can toughen America’s Russia policy, but it would require enormous naivety to believe Europe will change its approach.https://cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk/641f03fc-486b-4007-9913-fa240fed0f75.html?ref=https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/16/bidens-election-will-show-western-alliance-no/&title=Biden%E2%80%99s%20election%20will%20show%20that%20the%20Western%20alliance%20is%20no%20more

Partly because of his alleged connections to Russia, Trump’s election prompted anxious concern about the future of Nato and the commitment, from America in particular, to the principle of collective security. Would Washington really risk war if Russia entered Estonia, for example? We cannot answer that question, and fortunately it remains hypothetical, but we do know that it is Europe – far more than the US – that has persistently undermined Nato.

The EU seeks its own military alliance, for example, with structures rivalling Nato. Its governments underfund their already limited capabilities. Even now, as Greece and Turkey – two Nato countries – stumble closer to conflict, Europe remains passive. Again, German economic interests explain why: Berlin’s diplomats dialled down the EU’s response to Turkish aggression. But Biden, apparently the president with whom Europe thinks it can do business, is promising to make President Erdogan “pay a price” for 
his actions.

There are, then, two ways in which a Biden presidency will remove the Europeans’ veil of smug superiority. First, he will follow some Trump-era objectives, because that is what American interests demand, thus showing that Trump was no extremist on China. And second, where he does change approach, he will expose European indifference to the Western Alliance as driven, not by distaste for Trump’s policies, but by Europe’s own cynicism, short-termism and willingness to freeload off US military budgets.

In both respects, Biden’s election will reveal Europe’s dirty secret. It was never Donald Trump who stopped the Europeans being their better selves, taking responsibility for the security of their own citizens, and protecting long-term Western interests. It was always Europe itself.

10 comments

  • Biden will lose. In popular vote polls Trump is coming back. Biden 50%, Trump 48%. And Trump is leading in all swing states now. Seems Kamala was the wrong choice that could give Donny a second term. I’m hoping for Trump, since i fear for the global economy if Biden would win.

    Liked by 2 people

    • For Britain and the global economy, Trump is the right choice. For Ukraine, it would be Biden.
      ‘Yo Semite’: that made me laugh like a drain!

      Liked by 3 people

      • In comparison to Obama, Trump was better for Ukraine. Will Kamala really support Ukraine? Let’s wait what vice Donny will nominate first.

        Liked by 3 people

        • On July 31, I published a Politico piece entitled ‘Biden will escalate aid to Ukraine’. It stated that ‘If Joe Biden wins in November, he would sharply increase shipments of lethal weapons to Ukraine in an escalation of the Obama administration’s policy toward the country, his top foreign policy aides tell POLITICO.’
          If true, as seems likely, that will be helpful to Ukraine. Especially bearing in mind Biden’s 30 year friendship with John McCain, whom he refers to as a ‘brother’. It’s impossible to think that John’s robust views did not rub off on old Joe.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I will remind you that Biden was in charge of Ukrainian affairs for 3 years as VP following the Moskali invasions. The only thing he did for Ukraine was give rosy speeches (including one in Moscow), blankets and let his son be on a gas board ran by corrupt pro-Russian oligarchs. And suddenly he will help Ukraine? Only a fool and the left wing press would believe that.

            Like

            • I did say ‘if true’ though facts. It might not be I suppose, but what would be the motivation for lying? Who benefits? Politico is accused by the left of having a right wing bias.

              Liked by 1 person

  • ‘In both respects, Biden’s election will reveal Europe’s dirty secret. It was never Donald Trump who stopped the Europeans being their better selves, taking responsibility for the security of their own citizens, and protecting long-term Western interests. It was always Europe itself.’
    Indubitably so.
    Putler bought a lot of influence. He knows full well how malleable the Franco-German alliance is and that they are almost as anti-American (and by definition as anti-British) as he is. He owns Schroeder, Merkel, Macron, Sarkozy, Hollande, Le Pen, Steinmeier and many other frogs and kraut quislings.
    It has become clear that his troll farms were incredibly active during the Brexit campaign and his stooge Farage was bankrolled by a businessman named Aaron Banks, who coincidentally no doubt is a Russian speaker married to a Russian putlerite ho.
    EU remainers believe that putler wanted us out of Europe to weaken the EU, but they are off the mark as usual. The EU will in fact be stronger without Britain because it will be more united and open in its support for the fascist rodent. Only Poland and Pribaltika remain in the EU as anti-putler countries and they will become increasingly marginalized. The Franco-German putlerite alliance hate Nato and want to form their own ‘EU army’, which would more likely fight with, rather than against Russia. That’s why we need a new European military/trade/intel sharing bloc consisting of Poland, Pribaltika, Ukraine, Georgia, Canada and the US.

    Liked by 3 people

  • I think Biden will win…but lets c who we all get as a President and VC

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trump could counterbalance Biden’s ‘person of colour’ affirmative action by hiring a Sikh; Nikki Haley as VP. As a bonus, she is highly capable and takes a hawkish approach to the tiny poisoner.

      Liked by 3 people

  • Hmm true..u r right my friend…hope for the best whatever it is…😊

    Liked by 2 people

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