International Relations

Macron’s Remarks on China and India’s Possibilities Throughout Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent proclamation that France is an ally but not a vassal of the United States, as well as his remarks that Paris does not share Washington’s antipathy towards China, elicited strong reactions in the United States and Europe. Beijing’s official media has commended Macron’s approach to strategic autonomy towards China, and Russia believes that France and other European countries would be less politically dependent on the US.

Macron’s remarks and reactions on China and Taiwan

  • Outrage in the United States and Europe: Macron’s remarks that France does not share the United States’ antipathy towards China and does not regard the Taiwan situation as a threat to Europe sparked outrage in the United States and Europe.
  • China applauds: Beijing sees Macron’s model of strategic autonomy as a favourable example for other countries to follow when it comes to China.
  • India has criticised the remarks, emphasising that both principle and power are at risk in Ukraine and Taiwan.

What is mean by Vassalisation?

  • A state or country that is in a subordinate or dependent relationship with another, generally more powerful, state or country is said to as vassalised.
  • It implies a lack of decision-making freedom and autonomy, as well as a need to obey the policies and objectives of the more powerful state.

Important developments underlined by the discussion on Europe’s and Russia’s vassalization

Different perspectives on Taiwan and Ukraine

  • Macron’s assertion that Taiwan is not a concern for Europe bolsters India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s critique of Europe’s view that its problems are the world’s problems.
  • The Ukraine conflict has crippling global ramifications, and a shooting war between the United States and China over Taiwan might be much more deadly and costly to the international order.
  • Macron’s conflicting attitude to the Indo-Pacific region is unsatisfactory, and his vacillating stance on China may cause Asian countries to doubt French resolve.

Macron does not represent all of Europe

  • Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, views China differently from Macron.
  • Central Europeans trust the United States to defend their security interests more than France or Germany.
  • Europe is fundamentally split on how to solve today’s security concerns, undercutting Macron’s ambition to make Europe the world’s third superpower.
  • Today, the sole shared opinion in Europe is political faith in Beijing’s ability to resolve Russia’s war in Ukraine.

A weaker and divided Europe enhances the prospects for a bipolar world

  • For more than three decades, India’s foreign policy has prioritised multipolarity.
  • As the United States and China surge further ahead of other powers, deepen their confrontation, and determine the choices of the rest of the globe, talk of multipolarity may become academic.
  • The assumption that Europe and Russia can function as components of a multipolar world is eroding.

India’s possibilities in Europe and Russia

  • Despite its current position with China, Delhi should not abandon Europe.
  • Macron’s China push highlights India’s own opportunities in Europe.
  • Western Europe, which follows the money in China, could do the same in India, benefiting India much in its partnerships with Brussels and individual European actors.
  • India is increasing its interaction with Russia, believing that Moscow’s current reliance on Beijing is just temporary.

India needs to work more closely with the US and its Asian allies

  • Because Russia and Western Europe are unable or unwilling to balance China, India must engage much more closely with the US and its Asian allies to secure a more advantageous balance of power in its Indo-Pacific area.
  • Because of Europe’s hesitancy to challenge China’s imperial goals, India’s strategic worth will only increase for the US.
  • Few Asian countries confront more pressing and severe challenges from China than India, and few Asian capitals have more political determination to oppose Beijing than New Delhi.
  • Europe’s and Russia’s diminished stature in great power relations is mirrored by Asia’s development, with increasing strategic opportunities for Japan, India, and South Korea.

Relations between Europe and China

  • Over the years, Europe-China ties have become increasingly complex and multifaceted: On the one hand, China is Europe’s second-largest trading partner, and the two are economically interdependent. Concerns have been raised concerning human rights breaches, a lack of market access for European firms in China, and China’s growing aggressiveness in the Asia-Pacific area.

Among the significant developments are:

  • The EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI): The CAI, which to be negotiated in December 2020, is a landmark investment agreement between the EU and China aimed at strengthening market access for European firms in China and expanding investment flows between the two areas. However, some EU member states and civil society organisations have criticised the deal, claiming that it does not go far enough to confront human rights violations in China.
  • Increasing worry about Chinese human rights violations: In the aftermath of the crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong and the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, Europe has been increasingly critical of China’s human rights record. The EU has sanctioned Chinese officials involved in human rights violations, and there is rising support for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
  • Increasing competition in the Indo-Pacific region: Europe is getting more involved in the Indo-Pacific region, which is viewed as a crucial area of strategic conflict between China and the United States. Some EU member states, such as France and Germany, have formed their own Indo-Pacific plans and are aiming to strengthen security ties with regional countries.
  • Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): The BRI, China’s vast infrastructure project, has alarmed Europeans over China’s expanding influence in the region. Some EU member states, such as Italy and Greece, have backed the move, while others have been wary.

@the end

Macron’s remarks regarding China have generated arguments over Europe and Russia’s relations with China and the United States. A weaker and more divided Europe increases the likelihood of a bipolar world dominated by the US and China, emphasising the importance of India engaging more deeply in European geopolitics and collaborating closely with the US and its Asian allies to secure a more favourable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region.

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