By Dong Yifan
NATO and the EU signed a joint declaration on cooperation on January 10, saying that China's growing assertiveness and policies presented challenges that they need to address. For the EU, which seeks security and development, strengthening its ties with NATO is only a fruitless approach that may drag itself into the vortex of more conflicts and confrontation.
The EU is the biggest achievement of the political trial in European integration. The prospects of European civilization were once in jeopardy after the catastrophe of the two world wars on the European continent. Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle and other European politicians with strategic vision promoted the development of European unity with extraordinary foresight and political courage. They not only laid the cornerstone of post-war peace and stability in Europe but also built Europe into an important part of the international political and economic structure.
In contrast, NATO was born to serve the Cold War confrontation and military camp confrontation. NATO is a tool for the US to maintain its hegemony on the European continent, and to bind and coerce European countries to continuously conduct geopolitical squeeze and military deterrence against the Soviet Union (Russia). Today, NATO has transformed into an existence that conducts external armed intervention, creates and exacerbates regional conflicts and turmoil, and exports security anxiety. In this process, the prospect of peace and development in Europe has eventually become the "fuel" for the US, the actual leader of NATO, to pursue political and strategic self-interest. NATO's practice of constantly creating confrontation and incidents has not only become the main factor of the Ukrainian crisis, with endless conflicts, turmoil, and ethnic and religious contradiction left behind, but also a major source of challenges including Europe's circumjacent security, refugees and terrorism.
Today, the US-led NATO once again takes advantage of Europe's security anxiety and political panic in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and continues to peddle the already rotten "China threat theory" to seek helpers for the US to comprehensively contain and suppress China. The China-related contents in the Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation confuse right and wrong and present typical practice of judging unfairly a noble person with own despicable mind. One of the most important messages conveyed by the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in October 2022 is that China will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. China would never seek hegemony or engage in military expansion, no matter how developed it becomes. In contrast, the US and NATO have been fanning the flames and creating conflicts around the world for decades. It is not that China challenges them, instead, they have been extending to the Asia-Pacific region in various ways and trying to weave a network of containment and suppression around China.
In fact, in recent years, especially after experiencing the economic impact and geopolitical turmoil of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, many politicians and far-sighted people have begun to reflect on whether the US and NATO are helping Europe become more secure, or they are gaining political and economic self-interest through peddling security anxiety and even directly creating conflicts. Considering what the US had done when Europe suffered from an energy crisis, high inflation, and the huge loss of manufacturing industry, the EU should think again about what strategic autonomy is. The cognitive assessment of so-called security and threats should also return to one's own real interests and the original intention of seeking peaceful development, rather than continue to be dragged into the ditch by the US and NATO.
(The author is a researcher at the Institute of European Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations)
Editor's note: Originally published on huanqiu.com, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.