Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is finally forcing the EU to get real about reliance on authoritarian states

By | March 28, 2023

Politico reports:

China and the U.S. are in a race to build up their world power blocs, and both are using the same pressure point: the war in Ukraine.

Last week, China’s leader Xi Jinping spent three days in Russia, solidifying his “no limits” partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden kicks off his second Summit for Democracy — aiming to rally world leaders around principles of freedom, rule of law and human rights.

The not-so-subtle subtext: the world needs to unite against China and Russia.

In Biden’s alliance of democracies, Europe has been at best ambivalent on China. Some of the most important countries, such as France and Germany, have worried that decoupling from China would cause too much economic pain.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Europeans are starting to pay more attention to Biden’s message about the dangers of dependence on dictatorships. With urgency like never before, they are restricting exports of chip-making equipment to China, banning TikTok on government devices and pushing protectionist trade policy. Even long-time holdout Germany, the European Union’s biggest economy and a heavy investor in China, is starting to question its business-first ethos.

China is fighting back. It’s strengthening ties with Russia, offering up a peace plan for Ukraine and pushing the message that governments can be “democracies” even if they deny their citizens the right to vote freely for their leaders. [Continue reading…]