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(Con): EU-US Relations Good Contention

(Con): EU-US Relations Good Contention

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Western European countries are not participating in the BRI now. It’s just Italy and Eastern European countries

Ivan Dikov, March 24, 2019,, Commissioner Proposes EU Veto Power on Chinese Infrastructure Investments after Italy’s BRI Deal

On Saturday, Italy became the first G-7 member and EU heavyweight to become part of the signature foreign policy initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, also known as the New Silk Road. Until now, the largest EU member state to have joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative had been Poland. A total of 14 other EU member states, mostly in Eastern Europe, have become part of the BRI. However, Italy’s scope and its status as the first major Western power to do so has sent shockwaves throughout the capitals of its main allies. The United States, the EU, Germany, and France have been the most vocal in the West about their worries that China might be using its BRI infrastructure investments to project its political clout and acquire sensitive technology, including through what has been called “debt-trap diplomacy”, a term derived from the case of Sri Lanka which in 2017 had to cede control of a strategic port to China as it could no longer service its BRI loans. The EU Commissioner for Budget, Germany’s Gunther Oettinger, proposed on Sunday that the EU should have the right to exercise veto over Chinese infrastructure investments throughout the Union that might ultimately prove detrimental to its common interests. Oettinger’s Chinese investment veto right suggestion came just as Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas piled criticism on Italy for its accession to the Belt and Road Initiative, warning about the risks associated with doing business with China. One of the deals that are part of the Italy – China memorandum of understanding signed on Saturday concerns projected Chinese investments of EUR 7 billion (USD 7.9 billion) in the strategic Italian ports of Genoa and Trieste. “[It] Italy and other European countries, infrastructure of strategic importance like power networks, rapid rail lines, or harbors are no longer in European but in Chinese hands,” the German EU Commissioner told Funke Media group on Sunday, as cited by DW. “The expansion of transport links between Europe and Asia is in itself a good thing — as long as the autonomy and sovereignty of Europe is not endangered,” he elaborated. In his words, the EU leaders should consider either an EU veto right to block future Chinese-funded infrastructure projects, or a requirement that such projects first receive the consent of the European Commission, the executive of the European Union. Oettinger is convinced that EU member states do not always take into account national and European interests adequately enough, referring to their desire to attract foreign investment, including from China. “Europe urgently needs a China strategy, that lives up to its name,” the EU Budget Commissioner urged. “An European veto right, or a requirement of European consent — exercised by the Commission — could be worth considering [with respect to Chinese infrastructure investments],” he said.

It would be a radical change in allegiances to have Western countries join BRI

Charles Stevens, the founder of The New Silk Road Projecttells, March 13, 2018, New Silk Road Project founder: Developments in Azerbaijan are significant, Nexis

Q.: What would it mean for Western European countries to join the Belt and Road initiative? Do you expect more countries to join it in future A.: I think it would mark a great success for BRI as a strategy.

With the UK leaving the European Union the economic region has had a jolt to its confidence. Whilst the EU does not have a united policy towards BRI some countries, particularly in Eastern Europe have been more receptive. This includes Belarus which is not formally part of the EU but participates in the EU’s Eastern Partnership. It would signal a decisive shift in strategic direction and historic allegiances were Western European countries to align more closely with BRI. China has been clever in presenting BRI as a development which is open for any countries to participate in this includes the U.S.

EU has its own strategy that is supported by the US – The Connectivity Strategy. The EU joining the BRI would have it reverse course on this US-supported strategy

Daily Times, September 30, 2018, EU Challenge to the BRI, nexis

The EU is the latest actor to enter the Great Game. For the 28-member bloc is launching its own ‘Connectivity Strategy’ aimed at linking Europe to Asia. Pundits are inevitably viewing this as a direct challenge to China’s Brick and Road Initiative (BRI). They are right to do so. Despite its overriding focus on transport, digital and energy links the main priority remains infrastructure. For, as experts point out, this is the driving force behind increased connectivity. China has thus far offered the initiative a cautious welcome. While the EU is playing coy as it continues to peddle the myth that Brussels is not trying to usurp Beijing; but introduce a certain set of standards. Thus the EU strives to persuade how, under its stewardship, all ventures will be free from so-called debt-trap diplomacy. Towards this end it has directed that no project should create a climate of political and financial dependency. Moreover, in a bid to push this claimed moral high ground home even further the bloc has stressed the need for sustainability while demanding that all enterprises respect labour and environmental rights. This sounds good on paper. Though in reality it smacks of opportunism. Especially given that many EU clothing giants are still outsourcing production to Asian-based sweatshops. This is to say nothing of how European and American IT and technology industries turn to China and its overwhelmingly under-regulated electronics assembly hub to put together end products. The broader picture suggests that Brussels is sending a clear signal not just to Beijing but to also to Moscow that it is a contender in the race to secure competing spheres of influence. As far as the US goes, the EU may well wish to present itself as a multilateral alternative to American unilateralism. Of course, in truth, this amounts to little more than semantics. For Washington has long used the Union, as well as NATO, to further its European and Central Asian interests; as was witnessed in Kosovo at the close of last century. Meaning that the US will not regard such EU manoeuvrings as a threat to its regional interests. But, more likely, as supplementing these.

Joining will hurt EU relations with the US – the US opposes

Ishan Tharoor, March 25, 2019, Washington Post, China Layws Down a Marker in Europe

The main culprit here, in Beijing’s eyes, is the United States. The Trump administration has been outspoken in its criticism of China’s overseas infrastructure projects and is separately trying to convince its European allies to resist the inroads of major Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, which is on the front lines of a global tussle over the next generation of wireless technology. In a striking rebuke of its NATO ally, the White House National Security Council tweeted its dismay with Rome lending “legitimacy to China’s predatory approach.”

The US opposes China’s BRI. The EU is now working with the US to challenge the BRI

Nadège Rolland, Senior Fellow for Political and Security Affairs, The National Bureau of Asian Research, A Concise Guide to the Belt and Road Initiative,

PUSHBACK U.S. suspicion about BRI’s intentions started to publicly emerge in 2017. Secretary of Defense James Mattis commented on BRI during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee: “There are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating ‘One Belt, One Road.’ ” During a press conference in August 2018, Malaysia’s prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad commented that “free trade should also be fair trade,” adding that there should not be a situation in which “there is a new version of colonialism happening because poor countries are unable to compete with rich countries.” Mahathir’s comments were then interpreted as leading the charge against China amid rising concerns about BRI’s practices. In an interview with the BBC a few months later, however, he said this was an inaccurate portrayal of his comments. As BRI began to make progress in various countries and a series of controversial projects came to light, international criticism became more focused on China’s dubious practices and the initiative’s negative impact on local countries. In early 2017, Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, described BRI as a way for the Chinese leadership to ensnare strategically located developing countries “in a debt trap that leaves them vulnerable to China’s influence.” Echoing the same criticism, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in October 2017 described China’s model of financing infrastructure projects as “predatory economics” resulting in “financing default and conversion of debt into equity.” In March 2018, a report from the Center for Global Development warned that 23 of the 68 Belt and Road countries were “significantly or highly vulnerable to debt distress,” of which eight—Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, and Tajikistan—were particularly at risk. The authors underlined their concern that debt problems “will create an unfavorable degree of dependency on China as a creditor.” In September 2018, the head of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a U.S. government international finance development agency, accused China of purposefully plunging recipient countries into debt in order to “grab their assets” and to go after “their rare earths and minerals and things like that as collateral for their loans.” At the November 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, without specifically mentioning China by name, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged regional countries to choose the “better option” of U.S. financing: “We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt. We don’t coerce or compromise your independence. We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way road.” In May 2017, the European Union’s 28 member states declined to sign a statement prepared by Beijing to mark the end of the Belt and Road Forum because of a lack of guarantees regarding transparency, sustainability, and tendering processes. A year later, a report co-signed by 27 out of 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing (with the exception of Hungary) condemned BRI for hampering free trade, giving an unfair advantage to Chinese companies, and attempting to shape globalization to suit China’s own interests. Concomitantly, an increasing number of recipient countries expressed a willingness to return to the negotiating table or even to cancel some BRI contracts because of the financial burden they would impose. For example, Indonesia and Thailand halted high-speed rail projects with China in 2015 (though both countries ultimately went forward after Beijing adjusted its financial terms), Nepal canceled two hydroelectric dam projects, Pakistan put a stop to the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam project due to “unacceptable” funding conditions, and the government of Sierra Leone canceled the China-funded Mamamah International Airport project. In May 2018, Malaysia announced its intention to renegotiate its contracts with China, describing them as “unequal treaties.” Maldives and Myanmar also began to reconsider the scale and scope of their infrastructure cooperation with China. COUNTER-RESPONSES Several alternative infrastructure development funding options have started to emerge. The United States increased OPIC’s portfolio cap from $30 billion to $60 billion and passed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act), which gives OPIC the authority to purchase equity in development projects, instead of merely providing loans. The United States has also started to work in cooperation with Japan, Australia, and India to promote joint finance development projects in the Indo-Pacific region. During the 2018 APEC summit, for example, Vice President Pence announced that the United States would help Australia develop a naval base in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and work with New Zealand, Japan, and Australia to contribute to the development of PNG’s electrical power grid. Other countries have also launched new infrastructure initiatives to compete with BRI. India and Japan, for example, announced the launch of a joint Asia-Africa Growth Corridor a few days after the Belt and Road Forum in May 2017, and the EU released its strategy for connecting Europe and Asia in September 2018.

Trump opposes the BRI

Bruno Macaes, 2019, Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order, Kindle Edit, page number at the end of the card. Bruno Maçães is a Portuguese politician, political scientist, business strategist, and author. He studied at the University of Lisbon and Harvard University, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation under Harvey Mansfield. He is currently a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington

And in August 2018, we finally found out what President Donald Trump personally thinks of the Belt and Road. According to one person sitting in the room, he told a group of business executives gathered at his Bedminster golf club that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt One Road Initiative,” was “insulting” and that he did not want it. Trump said he had told Xi as much to his face.6 Maçães, Bruno. Belt and Road (p. 124). Hurst. Kindle Edition.

US actually trying to disrupt the BRI

Bruno Macaes, 2019, Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order, Kindle Edit, page number at the end of the card. Bruno Maçães is a Portuguese politician, political scientist, business strategist, and author. He studied at the University of Lisbon and Harvard University, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation under Harvey Mansfield. He is currently a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington

After several years during which the Belt and Road was perceived in Washington as a relatively modest project of economic diplomacy, the initiative has steadily grown in status and is now regarded as a major strategic threat to American power. Two areas of analysis have been developed in parallel. On the one hand, the ways in which the Belt and Road directly targets a US-led global order have been articulated. On the other, a strategy to contain and disrupt the initiative is slowly being implemented. Washington has started to appeal to countries it deems of strategic importance in order to establish how they can become less vulnerable to Chinese influence. Many of   these countries are deeply divided in their views on the Belt and Road. Predictably, China and the United States will have their own privileged audiences. The two countries will be supporting different elements within the elites and political class, attempting to help them prevail in the domestic competition for power. There is much here to remind us of the Cold War, including the presence of an increasingly visible military element. Maçães, Bruno. Belt and Road (p. 125). Hurst. Kindle Edition.

US and India oppose the BRI

Bruno Macaes, 2019, Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order, Kindle Edit, page number at the end of the card. Bruno Maçães is a Portuguese politician, political scientist, business strategist, and author. He studied at

Blowback against the Belt and Road followed almost immediately upon its initial successes. As we saw above, opposition from the United States and India—with the two countries encouraging each other down that path—grew consistently throughout 2017. Maçães, Bruno. Belt and Road (p. 130). Hurst. Kindle Edition.

Europe-US elations key to solve all global conflicts

Yannis Stivachtis 10, Director of International Studies Program @ Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University A. Stivachtis (Professor of Poli Sci & Ph.D. in Politics & International Relations from Lancaster University), THE IMPERATIVE FOR TRANSATLANTIC COOPERATION,” The Research Institute for European and American Studies, 2010, pg.

There is no doubt that US-European relations are in a period of transition, and that the stresses and strains of globalization are increasing both the number and the seriousness of the challenges that confront transatlantic relations. The events of 9/11 and the Iraq War have added significantly to these stresses and strains. At the same time, international terrorism, the nuclearization of North Korea and especially Iran, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the transformation of Russia into a stable and cooperative member of the international community, the growing power of China, the political and economic transformation and integration of the Caucasian and Central Asian states, the integration and stabilization of the Balkan countries, the promotion of peace and stability in the Middle East, poverty, climate change, AIDS and other emergent problems and situations require further cooperation among countries at the regional, global and institutional levels. Therefore, cooperation between the U.S. and Europe is more imperative than ever to deal effectively with these problems. It is fair to say that the challenges of crafting a new relationship between the U.S. and the EU as well as between the U.S. and NATO are more regional than global, but the implications of success or failure will be global. The transatlantic relationship is still in crisis, despite efforts to improve it since the Iraq War. This is not to say that differences between the two sides of the Atlantic did not exist before the war. Actually, post-1945 relations between Europe and the U.S. were fraught with disagreements and never free of crisis since the Suez crisis of 1956. Moreover, despite trans-Atlantic proclamations of solidarity in the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. and Europe parted ways on issues from global warming and biotechnology to peacekeeping and national missile defense. Questions such as, the future role of NATO and its relationship to the common European Security and Defense policy (ESDP), or what constitutes terrorism and what the rights of captured suspected terrorists are, have been added to the list of US-European disagreements. There are two reasons for concern regarding the transatlantic rift. First, if European leaders conclude that Europe must become counterweight to the U.S., rather than a partner, it will be difficult to engage in the kind of open search for a common ground than an elective partnership requires. Second, there is a risk that public opinion in both the U.S. and Europe will make it difficult even for leaders who want to forge a new relationship to make the necessary accommodations. If both sides would actively work to heal the breach, a new opportunity could be created. A vibrant transatlantic partnership remains a real possibility, but only if both sides make the necessary political commitment. There are strong reasons to believe that the security challenges facing the U.S. and Europe are more shared than divergent. The most dramatic case is terrorism. Closely related is the common interest in halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the nuclearization of Iran and North Korea. This commonality of threats is clearly perceived by publics on both sides of the Atlantic. Actually, Americans and Europeans see eye to eye on more issues than one would expect from reading newspapers and magazines. But while elites on both sides of the Atlantic bemoan a largely illusory gap over the use of military force, biotechnology, and global warming, surveys of American and European public opinion highlight sharp differences over global leadership, defense spending, and the Middle East that threaten the future of the last century’s most successful alliance. There are other important, shared interests as well. The transformation of Russia into a stable cooperative member of the international community is a priority both for the U.S. and Europe. They also have an interest in promoting a stable regime in Ukraine. It is necessary for the U.S. and EU to form a united front to meet these challenges because first, there is a risk that dangerous materials related to WMD will fall into the wrong hands; and second, the spread of conflict along those countries’ periphery could destabilize neighboring countries and provide safe havens for terrorists and other international criminal organizations. Likewise, in the Caucasus and Central Asia both sides share a stake in promoting political and economic transformation and integrating these states into larger communities such as the OSCE. This would also minimize the risk of instability spreading and prevent those countries of becoming havens for international terrorists and criminals. Similarly, there is a common interest in integrating the Balkans politically and economically. Dealing with Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as other political issues in the Middle East are also of a great concern for both sides although the U.S. plays a dominant role in the region. Finally, US-European cooperation will be more effective in dealing with the rising power of China through engagement but also containment. The post Iraq War realities have shown that it is no longer simply a question of adapting transatlantic institutions to new realities. The changing structure of relations between the U.S. and Europe implies that a new basis for the relationship must be found if transatlantic cooperation and partnership is to continue. The future course of relations will be determined above all by U.S. policy towards Europe and the Atlantic Alliance. Wise policy can help forge a new, more enduring strategic partnership, through which the two sides of the Atlantic cooperate in meeting the many major challenges and opportunities of the evolving world together. But a policy that takes Europe for granted and routinely ignores or even belittles European concerns, may force Europe to conclude that the costs of continued alliance outweigh its benefits.

US-EU relations are key to global multilateralism

Wright ‘12 (Brookings Managing Global Order fellow (Thomas, Ph.D. from Georgetown University, former executive director of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and senior researcher for the Princeton Project on National Security, “What if Europe Fails?” The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2012, 35:3, 23-41,

Western Europe has been an integral part of the U.S.-led international order since its foundation in the years after World War II. NATO’s greatest role was undoubtedly in waging a successful cold war against the Soviet Union while consolidating democracy in Western Europe, but it continues to play a central part in international politics. In recent years, NATO has spearheaded interventions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Politically and diplomatically, Europe and the United States form a powerful constituency for openness, democracy, and human rights on the world stage, even if they occasionally disagree about how to pursue these goals. If Europe fails, the transatlantic pillar of the international order would begin to crumble. In the relatively benign scenario of bare survival, Europe would turn inward as it became preoccupied politically, economically, and diplomatically with tackling its own existential crisis. Under such conditions, it is hard to see how Europeans would be willing to play a truly global role in world affairs. Even if they did, military budgets would continue to drop under the constraints of austerity, and the capabilities gap with the United States would widen. Europe’s soft power, which optimists have long pointed to as the European Union’s real contribution to world politics, would be decimated as European-style integration became a warning to be avoided, not a model to be emulated. If failure takes the form of a disorderly collapse, the outcome would be immeasurably worse. As Europe reels from the shock of historic proportions, the United States would have to cope with a rapidly worsening geopolitical climate, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, and China, but also in a number of fragile states around the world. The demand for international leadership and crisis management would skyrocket at precisely the time when a pillar of the West is in a state of collapse. The United States would be compelled to go it alone while Americans would undoubtedly be angered and frustrated at what they would accurately perceive as a European crisis that could have been avoided had better decisions been taken earlier on. Taking a step back from the fate of the Western alliance, Europe’s failure, in either scenario, would be bad news for multilateralism. At the outset, the financial crisis seemed to be a boon for global governance. The crisis demonstrated the need for reform of the global economy, the involvement of emerging powers, and the absolute necessity of international cooperation and coordination. Even better, a ready-made solution was available in the form of the G-20, which enjoyed initial success and appeared to usher in a new era for international financial institutions. Three years later, however, the G-20 has failed to make its presence felt on the Eurocrisis; although the United States and the emerging powers largely agree, they have been unable to convince Germany to change course. Meanwhile, the major powers in the west have become sharply divided on fundamental questions, including the relative merits of austerity versus stimulus, as well as the nature and scope of financial markets reform. No leader has been able to articulate a future for the global economy and free markets that truly resonates. Few have even tried. No one is running for the exits. It is clear that economic isolationism and unilateralism will not work. But, it is also apparent that institutions are changing for the worse. Large countries are much more assertive within institutions. They actively undermine constraints upon their freedom of action and clash directly with other states with different interests. If there are asymmetries of power, the larger state will not hesitate to use whatever leverage it has to compel the smaller state to acquiesce to its wishes, as has been the case in Europe.

Multilateralism solves multiple extinction scenarios

Dyer ‘4 (Gwynne Dyer, former senior lecturer in war studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, 12/30/2004, The End of War, The Toronto Star, p. lexis

The “firebreak” against nuclear weapons use that we began building after Hiroshima and Nagasaki has held for well over half a century now. But the proliferation of nuclear weapons to new powers is a major challenge to the stability of the system. So are the coming crises, mostly environmental in origin, which will hit some countries much harder than others, and may drive some to desperation. Add in the huge impending shifts in the great-power system as China and India grow to rival the United States in GDP over the next 30 or 40 years and it will be hard to keep things from spinning out of control. With good luck and good management, we may be able to ride out the next half-century without the first-magnitude catastrophe of a global nuclear war, but the potential certainly exists for a major die-back of human population. We cannot command the good luck, but good management is something we can choose to provide. It depends, above all, on preserving and extending the multilateral system that we have been building since the end of World War II. The rising powers must be absorbed into a system that emphasizes co-operation and makes room for them, rather than one that deals in confrontation and raw military power. If they are obliged to play the traditional great-power game of winners and losers, then history will repeat itself and everybody loses.