Nothing, perhaps, characterizes the historic changes that are taking place internationally more than the recent agreement signed by the United States, Australia, and Britain aimed at controlling the threat posed by China.
America has announced it will share the latest in submarine technology with Australia, enabling it to reach the shores of China undetected. As noted, the agreement aims to reduce the growing risk posed by China in its race to become the number one economic and political power in the world in the not-too-distant future.
A series of moves from both sides have already brought them into direct confrontation. Foreign policy experts are debating whether the relations between the two countries can finally be characterized as a Cold War – along the lines of what happened between the West and the Soviet Union after World War II.
Opinions are still divided, and the White House, at least for now, refuses to use the phrase ‘Cold War,’ as was reflected in President Biden’s speech to the United Nations.
Regardless of the terminology used, the difference between the United States’ competition with China, compared to that with the Soviet Union is that the latter was a purely military competition – although there was an ideological element – while with China there also is a huge economic dimension – and complication – to the competition.
The United States exported $4.3 billion worth of goods to the Soviet Union the year it disbanded and imported $709 million in 1989. Last year, the United States exported $142 billion worth of goods to China and imported $434 billion worth, making China the biggest exporter of goods to the United States and the third largest consumer of its products after Canada and Mexico.
In other words, this is a competition with many – and serious – dimensions that do not have easy solutions.
This agreement – and this point I want to emphasize – also has profound implications for European countries in general, and for Greece in particular.
You will recall that the French reacted angrily to the signing of this agreement, recalling their ambassador to Washington for talks and canceling some events that were scheduled in the American capital.
And of course, Biden did not sweat it, because the U.S. had to make the deal with Australia, and England.
What is happening is the redefinition of America’s national priorities and a shift of its attention from Europe and Russia to China.
That is very significant. Among other things, it means that by changing its priorities, Washington will have fewer capabilities to intervene in Europe and the vicinity.
The time will come when Europe will be America’s forgotten relative and Washington will only do the bare minimum required to maintain their relationship.
This means that the current seemingly harmonious relations between the countries of the European Union will be disrupted even more, with each taking its own path.
And it also means that regional powers, such as Germany, but also Turkey, will have much greater latitude in pursuing their national goals than they have so far.
At the same time, as the U.S.-China rivalry intensifies, the pressure on countries allied to the two sides to demonstrate loyalty will increase and they will be asked to choose sides.
For example, one of the issues that will sooner or later be put on the table by the U.S. will be the control of the port of Piraeus, as well as other Chinese investments in Greece.
Note: A reader asked me, “What was Dendias’ response to Blinken’s praise for the Greek Diaspora during their public statements?”
The answer: Nothing. Not a word.