US & NATO Failed to Get Europeans to Fall Behind a Hard Line Against China at London Summit
What Washington got was a hodgepodge where Beijing is named as a "challenge" but not one that necessarily warrants confrontation
In spite of fierce internal conflicts, NATO is enhancing its operational readiness, is preparing its next expansion and is setting its sights on China as a new “challenge.” These are the main results of the war alliance’s anniversary summit, which ended in London yesterday, with the participation of the heads of states and governments of the member countries.
As early as next year, NATO will be able deploy 30 army, air force and naval units [battalions, wings and ships] in a war within a 30 day maximum. At the London summit, North Macedonia, which is about to join the Alliance, was represented for the first time. In the future, NATO will extensively concern itself with China, however not exclusively confrontational, as Washington would have wanted.
The conflict with Turkey did not escalate, even though the dissentions between Ankara and various other allied states, by no means, had been resolved. In fact, the Turkish government has implicitly been given a blank check for its heavily criticized activities in the occupation of Northern Syria.
Apparently this is what Turkey got at the NATO summit in return of approving the Baltic defense plan:
• Instead of updating the defence plan on Turkey, the allies decided to maintain “2017 Gradual Retalitation Plan”, which describes YPG as a Syrian wing of PKK.
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) December 5, 2019
NEW — NATO defense plans crisis didn’t end:
Turkish FM says they only allowed defense plan for Baltic countries to get to the second stage of negotiations: military council.
“We won’t approve the Baltic plan unless the defense plan on Turkey includes the threat posed by YPG”
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) December 6, 2019
Enhanced Operational Readiness
Whereas, in the run-up to its anniversary summit meeting which ended in London yesterday, some experts had not ruled out an escalation of NATO’s growing internal conflicts, it did not end in an open éclat. NATO even succeeded in achieving some success, for example, in its so-called Readiness Initiative. Beginning next year, the allies will be capable of deploying 30 army, air force and naval units in a war within a maximum of 30 days – 25,000 soldiers, 300 military aircraft and 30 warships, as was reported in Brussels.
According to reports, Germany’s contribution will be 7000 troops, 50 airplanes and helicopters and three ships. Alongside France and Great Britain, Germany will thus be one of the major troop providers.
In addition to the enhancement of operational readiness, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev represented North Macedonia for the first time at the London summit. The country is about to be formally admitted into the Alliance, as soon as the Spanish parliament gives its approval. The procedure had been delayed because of Spanish parliamentary elections.
In its anniversary summit’s final document, NATO explicitly mentions China for the first time, particularly under pressure from Washington. Already at the occasion of NATO’s 70th Anniversary, in April, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo had explicitly classified China a “threat” and exhorted the war alliance to “confront” this threat.
However, not all of the alliance members agree with this position. Several south European NATO countries are cooperating quite closely with Beijing, among them, Greece, Italy and Portugal.
Even though it sends its warships to occasionally patrol the South China Seas, Great Britain is also looking forward to economic cooperation with China – particularly, in light of Brexit. Since a relevant government decision in October 2013, the City of London has become the second most significant Chinese currency trading center. It transacted, in fact, already 44.5 percent of the Renminbl global trade in the second quarter of 2019. The United Kingdom is Chinese companies’ most important investment site in Europe. Their investments already total €46.9 billion – more than in any other EU country. And finally, London has stubbornly persisted in refusing Washington’s call to boycott Huawei, the Chinese company that had invested £2.2 billion in Great Britain from 2012 to 2017 alone, and in 2018 was considering another £3 billion.
In Germany, as well, the interests are contradictory. Although, since some time particularly the transatlantic forces have been pushing for a sharper confrontational policy toward China – under the assumption that, in the long term, the People’s Republic of China would become overpowering, and its rise should be stopped as soon as possible. Just recently, a commentary alleged that there can be no “peaceful coexistence” with Beijing.
On the other hand, a growing portion of Germany’s economy – including the powerful automotive industry, such as VW – is existentially dependent on cooperation with China. A poll taken among top executives in German enterprises and business associations recently revealed that, even though more than three-fourths of those queried, fear “coming under more future pressure” from the United States and the People’s Republic of China “to chose” between one of the two, a third of the top management in business, nevertheless, answered, in such a case, they would opt for China. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.)
At NATO’s anniversary summit, Washington was unsuccessful in imposing an exclusively confrontational policy toward Beijing. The final document, for example, declares, “We acknowledge that China’s growing influence and the international policy offers hopes [!] and challenges that we must confront together as an alliance. The alliance also refused to ban the Huawei company from the elaboration of 5G networks in NATO countries – as the Trump administration demands.
 Nato-Staaten erhöhen Einsatzbereitschaft von Truppen. sueddeutsche.de 04.12.2019.
 Richard Hall: “When they come, they will kill you”: Ethnic cleansing is already a reality in Turkey’s Syrian safe zone. independent.co.uk 30.11.2019.
 Syria: Civilians Abused in “Safe Zones”. hrw.org 27.11.2019.
 Bethan McKernan: Turkey’s “safe zone” in northern Syria unsafe for civilians, says report. theguardian.com 27.11.2019.
 Lesley Wroughton, David Brunnstrom: Pompeo calls on NATO to adapt to new threats from Russia, China. reuters.com 04.04.2019.
 See also Struggle over the Silk Road.
 See also No Peaceful Coexistence.
 See also Vor der Zerreißprobe.
 NATO sieht China als neue Bedrohung. tagesschau.de 03.12.2019.
Source: German Foreign Policy