July 19, 2019

America and Europe Need To Stand United on China

“Shortly before President Trump departed Washington to attend the G20 Summit in Japan, he proclaimed that “Europe treats us worse than China” during a television interview. Yet the existence of the summit itself, and especially the president’s meeting tomorrow with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, is a reminder that the United States and Europe still need each other and will continue to in the future.

To understand how the modern transatlantic alliance arrived at its current juncture, it is worth remembering its origins. European powers were laid in ruins after the Second World War. Their leaders, faced with the task of rebuilding their continent in the shadow of the Soviet Communist threat, were determined to do everything they could to prevent another global conflict. To achieve peace and prosperity, they allowed the United States to take a leading role in the post-war political organization of the continent.

Today, both the Second World War and the Soviet Union are just hazy memories. Europe is the world’s largest economy and the risk of war is minimal. The United States, meanwhile, no longer faces the challenge of containing the Soviet Union. Instead, it has to manage the economic rise of China and Beijing’s increasing assertiveness. It is no surprise that the transatlantic alliance has lost some of its cohesion.”

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