Biden said he wanted to “confront” China. Is Trudeau willing to go?
The leaders of the G7 nations gathered this weekend for talks that will certainly be led by three themes: COVID-19, climate change and China. But this is the last topic that may dominate the discussion.
The summit may not produce a moment like Winston Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech, which is now widely believed to mark the beginning of the Cold War.However, the Western establishments on both sides of the Atlantic have issued unanimous voices warning of the threat posed by Chinese authoritarianism. And describe this moment As an opportunity not to be missed to unite against it.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed to expand the League of Democracies. He already has a new league job title: D-10“D” stands for democracy. The 10 countries are the traditional G7 plus the three governments that attended the Cornwall summit as guests: India, Australia and South Korea.
Of course, what these three countries have in common is not only electoral democracy. They also all have serious problems with China-which is why they are presumed allies in a world that appears to be split into hostile groups again.
US President Joe Biden has successfully hosted a climate summit in April and has more or less cleared the deck for dealing with the other two issues-among them, on the one hand,intersect.
“Unite the democratic countries of the world”
Biden elaborated on his summit goals Column Released on weekends. He wrote that one of the tasks of this new alliance is to “counter the harmful activities of the Chinese and Russian governments.”
After four years of President Donald Trump’s tenure, the “West” looks a little shabby. Trump often flouts international commitments, is friendly with dictators, and aggressive toward allies, leading to a sharp drop in European and global confidence in the ability of the United States to do the right thing.
Brexit and the uneven response to the pandemic have also strained relations within Europe.
But there is a problem that unites the governments of various political fields in Europe and North America, and they also enjoy rare Cross-party consensus On the polarized American political arena.
The problem is distrust of the Chinese Communist Party, which has more card members than most G7 countries.
CCP loses friends abroad
Hong Haofeng of Johns Hopkins University cited a series of actions against different countries, saying that “China’s increasingly aggressive diplomacy, rhetoric, and policies” are causing other countries to unite against it.
“Punishing Australia and the United States for getting too close, and also sanctions European diplomats and scholars for their concerns about Uyghurs. This actually makes it easier for the United States to build such an alliance against China.”
Countries such as Germany may have been annoyed by the decline in car sales in China, but now they are aggrieved by China’s aggressive diplomatic measures.
Hong said: “This has caused a strong opposition, making Europe now politically very difficult, for anyone who wants to say good things about China or that Europe should improve relations with China.”
He said that India is also changing from an “enemy” to more adversaries-especially since the Chinese army seems to have Was ambushed to death A group of Indian soldiers stationed at the remote Himalayan border between the two countries.
“China’s influence in Sri Lanka and Pakistan makes India worry that they are surrounded by Chinese friends,” Hong said. “India has also received the Tibetan government in exile, which China is very dissatisfied with.”
India also feels rivaled by a country with the same population as India but with a GDP and defense budget more than four times higher. “So India will definitely be happy to join this alliance” against China, even though it is not very interested in the quarrel with Russia, Hong said.
If there is a “D-10” alliance centered on Britain this week, many countries may more or less ally with it-including China’s many nervous neighbors, such as Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Hong said the alliance behind China may be much weaker.
In a bipolar world, China’s main potential allies are countries that have no choice but to rely on China, China’s market, and financial system. Countries that are sanctioned by the United States and Western alliances, such as Russia and Iran, and of course North Korea, they need China’s financial resources, market and resources to alleviate the negative impact of Western sanctions.
“They must persist in dealing with China. But they are not the kind of friends who share basic values ??or even geopolitical interests.”
Hong said that although the Western Alliance has been stretched and tested, it has gone far deeper. “It has a long history as a democratic alliance, having experienced two world wars and the Cold War together.”
Canada’s own quarrel
The dispute between Canada and China is centered on the detention of Michael Cummingkay and Michael Spavor. For Trudeau, it is important to ensure that the plight of these two Canadians is resolved as part of any collective request to China.
He also knows that the Canadian public is in a bad mood when talking about the Chinese government. He saw that all opposition parties—even some of his own Liberal MPs—voted to support parliamentary motions, demanding that his government adopt a tougher attitude towards Beijing.
Despite all the partisan hatred in the United States, when Biden was about to go to Britain, the two parties came together. Pass an important bill Through the Senate, it aims to support American technology companies against Chinese competitors.
There is no such consensus in Canada. When Trudeau packed up for the summit, the official opposition party issued a statement: “There is only one choice to ensure Canada’s future and confront the Chinese Communist regime, and that is Canada’s Conservative Party.”
These requirements go beyond the issue of Canadian detainees. There are also 300,000 Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong, and cross-party pressure for Canada to take action to protect Uyghurs from persecution. Parliament has voted Call it “genocide.” (Trudeau and his cabinet were absent from Parliament for most of the day.)
“I hope to see Canada and our G7 allies take a coordinated approach, both in terms of sanctions and in formulating a strategy against China,” said Cherie Wong of the Canada Hong Kong Alliance. “What China has done in history is to isolate a country and bully it. So we need to unite with our allies.”
Canada faces a choice
Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat and Chinese scholar, said that Canada faces a choice.
“In the absence of any effective response capabilities of the United Nations, I hope that the coalition of nations affected by China’s actions will take more coordinated actions, because China is a permanent member of the Security Council and therefore can veto anything important,” he said.
“Is Canada ready to stand up for Australians affected by hostage diplomacy the way we expect Australians to stand up for our Michael Cummingkie and Michael Spavor? Are we really ready to participate will make the Chinese government uncomfortable? Wyatt’s program cooperating with us? Allies?
“Or do we want to leave this to other big countries, and hope that if Canada remains relatively neutral, we will be able to protect our market position in China?”
Burton wanted a more confrontational Canadian approach. He said his expectations were low.
Perhaps because of the anticipation of the summit, China has been sending Send a friendly signal to the world The last few days.
Gordon Holden, the head of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, another former diplomat and Chinese scholar, said that the sudden talk of friendship and respect may be to prevent the emergence of a stronger anti-China alliance.
“This is a complex and big country. They know the global diplomatic calendar and leadership calendar very well, and G7 falls into this category,” he said. “To be sure. I don’t think the timing is accidental.”
The new cold war?
Holden said that he saw the elements of the new Cold War—even the Heat. “We have to worry that we are in a different situation from 1910 in terms of competition among major powers.”
He said that the world may have learned the wrong lesson from the Cold War, which ended peacefully with the victory of the West.
“Even in the latter part of the Cold War, there are very dangerous periods and events, and both sides may always misjudge and cause some kind of nuclear disaster,” he said.
Holden quoted a Chinese diplomat who said: “‘We have no choice but to coexist, or we will destroy together.'”
“So, well, we will enter the cold war mode, where we will bump into China’s domestic explosion…maybe this is the result,” he said.
“If this happens, well, we know which side we will be on, and we will do our part. But I still hope that we can avoid this outcome… Assuming the new Cold War will end One is a dangerous assumption.”