Skip to content

China, EU & the United States: Holy Trinity or Ménage à Trois?

Stanley Crossick, a "European of British nationality," has published an essay which argues that a strong trilateral relationship, reinforced by three strong bilateral relationships is essential. He wrote a short version for Atlantic Review:

In the coming 20 years, the China-US-EU relationship will decide the trend of international relations. (Zbigniew Brzezinski: c 2004)

Since the end of the Cold War, a bi-polar world has become mono-polar but may be in the process of being transformed into a multi-polar world or, preferably, a multilateral one. Globalisation and rapid scientific and technological advancements are drastically transforming international relations. Although political ideology is no longer a driving force, it takes a generation or two to eliminate recent dogma, prejudices and perceptions. Regional cooperation and development have become important factors.

The China-US, China-Europe and US-Europe relationships are arguably the three most important geopolitical and economic relationships in the world. This does not mean that Russia, Japan, India or Brazil should be ignored, as well as other rising powers in Asia and South America.

The world faces more major common challenges than ever before.

China, the US and the EU are together responsible for one-third of the world's population, over three-quarters of the world economy, over 90% of total military expenditure and four of the five permanent seats on the UN Security Council. Sadly, however, there remains a vast lacuna in the knowledge and mutual understanding between the Chinese and Westerners and still surprisingly too great between Americans and Europeans. China, the US and the EU have very considerable influence. Apart, conflicting influences are very damaging. We live in an increasingly dangerous world and it is critically important for all three therefore to act as responsible stakeholders, if we are to secure a more stable and peaceful world, and set an example to others.

 

Here are some reasons why we need a trilateral relationship:

  • The three polities all face the same major challenges and these can only be resolved globally.
  • Both China and the EU are emerging 'soft' world powers and together with the US are going to shape the world in the future.
  • Balance of power and zero-sum games are unwise and in many cases not relevant to the new global challenges.
  • There is one global market and the three leading players are mutually interdependent, and they must therefore find ways of working
    together rather than separately, or one against the other two.
  • The three polities have fundamentally common strategic interests in peace and development.

 

What a trilateral relationship cannot achieve:

  • We do not necessarily share common legacies and methods.
  • The close institutionalised cooperation which exists in transatlantic relations does not exist with China.
  • We do not all face the same immediate security and development challenges.

 

What a trilateral relationship can achieve:

  • Economic and monetary cooperation.
  • Shaping the world together with each other and with the other players.
  • Casting a new light on global issues such as poverty alleviation, pandemic disease control, better use of natural resources, climate change, and even a global information society.
  • More 'fair play' in international trade with rules better to suit us all in our different development stages.
  • Promoting mutual understanding in all sectors and at all levels.
  • Promoting regional and global security.
  • Strengthening international cooperation and global governance.


It is essential that the intergovernmental relationships be underpinned by the building of three interlinked participatory societies. These relationships are too important to leave totally in the hands of politicians and officials. The think-tank and academic communities, business and civil society must all play an active role

The successful development of China is in the global interest. A failed China would have frightening consequences. It is essential, therefore, that there be a strong trilateral relationship, reinforced by three strong bilateral relationships. From time to time there should be trilateral meetings as there are in fact three sets of bilateral working groups that address more or less the same issues, beginning with the Transatlantic Economic Council, the High Level EU-PRC Economic & Trade Dialogue and the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue.

Stanley Crossick is a political analyst and media commentator on EU internal and external policies, with special expertise on China. He blogs at blogactiv. More about his bio.

Trackbacks

No Trackbacks

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Zyme on :

This is all well and good - and while I agree that these are the three key players in the 21st century, did nobody else have to think about George Orwell´s 1984 when reading this one?

Kevin Sampson on :

Blah, blah, blah. I’m still waiting for a list of all those ‘large-scale military interventions’ we indulged in from 1989 to 2001.

Anonymous on :

It is all relative. And compared to Europe's military operations (Congo, Lebanon etc), the US led military operations in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti are pretty big. And then there is Colombia, East-Timor, etc.

Pamela on :

What, no Russia - the energy supplier for the EU? I think not. BTW, I just saw a report that Russia cut oil supplies to the Czechs over their missle deal with the U.S.

Zyme on :

Who would not cut them, after such a provocating Czechian support for the former arch-enemy of Russia.. Wait - didn´t the Americans cut off a little more than oil supply in Cuba, once the Russians wanted to establish a missile station over there? Now that is a totally different story of course. Those were the Russians after all! :D

Pat Patterson on :

Cuba had already signed an oil deal with Russia in 1960 which was barely 12 months after Castro had seized power. The US and the OAS ordered all its members refineries to not process Russian crude and then Castro expropriated all refineries and nationalized the entire oil industry. The Cuban Missile Crisis began in 1962 when US spy planes photographed the construction of ICBM bases. The US with near unanimous OAS support acted to block deployment but soon found that at least 10 missiles were already in Havana in spite of Cuban and Russian denials. The embargoes and sanctions were already in place two years before the standoff over deployment. I don't think that the Czechs have threatened expropriating Russian property so Russia cutting off contracted oil supplies is not the same thing as what occurred in 1960.

Zyme on :

You know, reducing oil delieveries is also not the same thing as a complete embargo.

Pat Patterson on :

Are you saying that Russia did not break its contracts to the Czechs? Plus I didn't even try to equate the two different episodes merely pointed out that the premise of similarity was not historically accurate thus negating any comparison between the two.

franchie on :

isn't it also that Russia has a real problem of "reserves" ? that she doesn't want that the western world acknowledges ; making sporadic restrictions might be a part of her economy protection http://www.bakchich.info/article4258.html

Zyme on :

My comparison is valid. It is only the quantity that differs, not the quality - and this way it is with the provocation and the reaction in both cases.

Pamela on :

Russia keeps its reserves estimate as a state secret. However, their production has declined, a development they blame on aging infrastructure.

Joe Noory on :

The EU has yet to demonstrate that it's a key player in any other area than is lent to it by their economic scale as a buyer and seller of goods. Certainly, they will be a key player in the world, but first they have to do something to earn it other than simply talking themselves up while their inaction permits crises to degrade into genocide and civil war in Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere. Sure, they want to be regarded as meaningful, but are they really? Not yet by any measure if you discount the way they're talked up.

Joe Noory on :

The website you're pointing to is a product of unserious adolescent rage about "evil corporations", "evil capitalism", the "evil that we always are", etc. It indulges them mildly, but it isn't to be take seriously, nor is the notion that one little detail propping up something that looks like a "vast, secret conspiracy" more meaningful than a large economic or political trend. It's flattering to the people who think that some simple opinion puts them "in the know", but it's an evasion. Europe only matters because it is said that they will matter a lot in the future, but that depends on how reclusive or involved the EU plans to be when the time comes - whenever that will be. Until then, they are content to talk about their efforts, at any scale, being the enormous and world changing achievements that they say they are.

franchie on :

"The website you're pointing to is a product of unserious adolescent rage about "evil corporations", "evil capitalism", the "evil that we always are", etc." idem as yours !!!! Though I take that source as "relative", till I don't see any further confirmation "Europe only matters because it is said that they will matter a lot in the future, but that depends on how reclusive or involved the EU plans to be when the time comes - whenever that will be. Until then, they are content to talk about their efforts, at any scale, being the enormous and world changing achievements that they say they are." any agendas concurrence ? http://www.iran-resist.org/article4549

Pat Patterson on :

How can that be when you had the chronology, the cause and effect, off by two years? Plus the US did not cut off oil supplies the Cubans chose to buy subsidised oil from Russia? How then could the US embargo deliveries of something the Cubans were already getting from someplace else?

Zyme on :

Ha - the Czechs are free to get their oil somewhere else. In fact I read they now have increased their demand from Ingolstadt in Germany - what an irony. http://www.radio.cz/en/article/106128 I hope this will encourage them to be better colleagues when the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon is due in Czechia ;)

Joe Noory on :

I don't pretend to be a newspaper. As for the iran-resist article: IT'S AN OPINION. It's also insane. Sarko was talking about the Med Union during the election, and any opinions he had BEFORE 2000 about negotiating with Iran were no different than any other person in French politics. Let's see..... What happened since 2000? Nothing important, really. What happened? Wasn't that when [url=http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2005/08/congratulations-to-eu3-on-another.html]Iran[/url] wasn't anywhere near having a missile that could hit Paris and wasn't too far along with thier nuclear weapons development? As far as the US having a dialog with Syria, we always have and always will. The US relationship with both Lebanon and Syria as as deep and wide as France's. Iran, on the other hand presents a different problem to the typical rationalizer of the hexagon. The pattern is always that the terms of history always need to be revised to reflect a francophile sweetness and wisdom. While stamnping your feet about Jimmy Carter, don't forget where Khomeini (literally) pitched his tent. The other side of that is that examples selected are to avoid the actual lesson when finding a way to hate-hate-hate the non-francophile: Carter's failure was a failure of the same SOFT POWER that Europeans largely think to be the only option. So in this case, while looking to Carter's doings to wag their finger at America, they feen just as free to wag their finger at Bush who takes a carrot and stick approach with them. To rationalize that George Bush prevented a yet-unelecteed President Sarkozy to form a mediterranean union, or caused the Hizballah-Iran-Syria relationship [b]that dates back to 1982[/b] is specious and insane. I really would love to see that time machine... It must be right next to the UFO bodies at area 51 or maybe at the US base at the bottom of the Bermuda Triange... Intersting how that works. How complete, consistent, and reliable it is. How every interpretation of anything that goes wrong in the world is laid at the feet of an America for whom there is envy and antipathy. Is that the sign of a rational group of intellects? As for France being the EU, and their legacy becoming the EU's: it isn't the whole of Europe. For the most part the old fantasy of a French jockey riding a German horse is gone, but it's still hiding here and there.

Pat Patterson on :

Plus France's dawning realization that the German horse has been gelded and put out to pasture with Ferdinand! I would hope someday that France might see the benefit of trying to manipulate American power rather than trying to conjure up some ghostly army ready to counter every US move.

Pamela on :

"rather than trying to conjure up some ghostly army ready to counter every US move." Oh, mais non, mon cher. Every business day I get email from Open Europe with press summaries from Europe - quotes and a link. There is no link to accompany this item from today's email, so I shall just quote it. --------------- Sarkozy's plans for European army The News of the World looked at the French proposals for a 60,000 strong EU army. It noted that Nicolas Sarkozy wants France, Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland to supply 10,000 troops each and wants to establish an independent military planning centre in Brussels. The article quotes Sarkozy saying, "I want Europe to be capable of ensuring its security autonomously." ------------------- With 60,000 troops? Is he kidding? Who does he think he'll be defending against? Luxumbourg?

Pat Patterson on :

Is that a mistranslation and the intent is simply to have 60,000 new military planners in Brussels ready to raise an army of hundreds at a moments notice?

franchie on :

Ok there we go again ! IT'S AN OPINION. yeah, as so your Lebanese buddy, Ajami, though, not on the same side of the pond, and for you that means the site is wrong. It's a group of iranian journalists, that are pro-Shah. Then what they say is "free" from american (or french) influence "Sarko was talking about the Med Union during the election, and any opinions he had BEFORE 2000 about negotiating with Iran were no different than any other person in French politics" Come on, your still using your extrapolation skill ; Sarko didn't talk of UPM during the election times, for the simple raison that it was a Henri Guaino's idea, that was first neglected by the lefties, and that Sarko recruited after he was elected. " While stamnping your feet about Jimmy Carter, don't forget where Khomeini (literally) pitched his tent." did I quote jymmia carter ? ans as far your buddy K, Khomeyni was is France as a political Refugiee, (according to the constitution) that your so "beloved" Carter and his buddy Brzezinski chose to replace Shah-Shah ; any idea why they preferred the religious option instead of a legal head ? "communists, mein Herr, were about to get a representation in Iran, therefore replacing a laic Shah, would help to erase "communism", indeed, though a far more malicious islamic power keeps your diplomaty on alert now (ie also the Talibans in Afghanistan) see ya, you even invited Amentajacket into the US, and now he'll be going reinvited, soon I have read, and on a red teppish, as usual for great fellows ! "As for France being the EU, and their legacy becoming the EU's: it isn't the whole of Europe. For the most part the old fantasy of a French jockey riding a German horse is gone, but it's still hiding here and there." I can see your hate, whatever, Mme Merkel is kissing Sarko "hello", and they prepared the summit together, as they also will for the next Nato summit, so you haven't finished of whinning ! ahahah ! now, your other rants are worse horse farts... so I leave them to the "ecurie" for your lads that I have already seen around

franchie on :

see ya what your buddy Obama is planning for your pupils http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2042459/posts ah the big militia que voilà, oops, LMAO OK, it's an OPINION

franchie on :

Pamela, pas bien, ça, de se moquer de la future armée europeenne, qui n'a d'existence que dans le creux de ton cerveau pas de lien, then horse fart merci pour la morale

Pat Patterson on :

Seriously, do you have a pathological desire to only link to the websites of the unbalanced of either the right or left? There are literally hundreds of websites, of the right and left, that discuss defense issues rationally. Their differences are usually in the interpretation of the facts and not in the kind or deranged intercourse that assumes blathering on about conspiracies, spaceships, Islamic presidential candidates in the US or ZOG is a substitute for rebuttal when faced with contradiction.

franchie on :

it doesn't disturb you to agree to the links or discourses of your budy joe, so, sily game to silly game, is that fair ?

Kevin Sampson on :

“And compared to Europe's military operations (Congo, Lebanon etc), the US led military operations in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti are pretty big.” And why do you suppose that is? At any rate, Somalia, Haiti, and Kosovo were carried out under the UN flag and Bosnia was a NATO operation. So why don’t you explain why you consider these uniquely US interventions. “And then there is Colombia, East-Timor, etc.” When and where did we ‘intervene’ in Columbia or East Timor?

Pat Patterson on :

And what links might those be that you claim Joe N. or I have used? Near as I can tell on this thread you are the only one providing links to some residents of Bedlam as if they were a rational source of information. As to that claim that Iran-resist is pro-Shah that is easily dispelled since the Crown Prince, Reza Pahlavi, has denounced them several times as being hysterics and obstructionists but admittedly they are pro-democracy in Iran. They seem to do a fairly good job on reporting on what the media is saying in Iran but then lose the bottle when trying to argue a point of view and lapse into ludicrous conspiracy theories straight out of drunken midnight bull sessions.

Pat Patterson on :

Pamela-I checked Open Europe a few minutes ago and found the article in a pdf file. http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/frenchpresidency.pdf I thought Pres. Sarkozy was planning on 60,000 more troops but it appears that he is arguing for retasking of some of the current assets allocated to NATO. And is only planning on spending 2% of GDP to accomplish this goal. But it doesn't say if this is in addition to current spending or merely how much will be spent from already existing budgets. In other words, more division or army patches but only attached with Velcro depending on which group in Brussels is giving suggestions.

franchie on :

wrong, Reza Pahlavi denonced the iranian lobbies (that also promote Mariam Satrapi the cartoonist) and have their open think tanks in the US, that are also infiltrated mullah agents BTW you were complaining that you can't understand french, though iranresist is written in french, then how could you say that they are conspiracy theoricians, if your buddy hadn't told it ?

franchie on :

http://euobserver.com/13/26107 The "dreamed" army of 60 000 soldiers is qualified as sufficient for the "modern" conflicts, that will be more of guerillas (urban ?) and or technological ; so the myghty numerous armies as seen by your models are over, even in your country, I have read that the heads thought so so again your making a false trial, just because it's french visualisation

Pat Patterson on :

Many of the articles in Iran-resist are in English and I must admit that my French is not that bad in reading screeds but generally not adequate for technical articles. Note I did not say that the only group Reza Pahlavi had criticized was Iran-resist but that was the topic at hand not whether Marjane Satrapi was still a communist like her parents. Both presidential candidates in the US have called for the creation of at least one more mechanized division for the US Army and increasing the size of the USMC by 8-10,000. The recent White Paper on the French military called for reclassifying parts of the reserve forces to the direct control of the Gendarmarie which would indeed reduce on paper the number of soldiers. But the papaer called for increasing the size of the actual combat forces but that 60,000 figure or rather France's share will come from existing formations not new ones. France could, with determination of course, become a world military power again but so far it has refused to modernize and remains both a Cold War relic of large heavy formations, stealthy submarines and a miserable waste of resources in occupying various tropical paradises. For example, instead of building 3 or 4 helicopter carriers that could carry a battalion of French Marines and their equipment, France will again build an ego satisfying super carrier, without any jump jet capabilities, that will rarely leave the Bay of Biscay except for an occasional cruise in the Med. Instead of saying that since the US has the carrier battle groups we should be building ships that fit our strategic goals rather than spending billions on the ability to say me too. But I am still waiting, in vain I know, for some of those websites that you claim I have referred to as more legitimate that some others.

Pat Patterson on :

The article you referred to doesn't say anything about what size army is needed for modern warfare in fact it doesn't say much of anything about an actual army. But rather appears to be some of the first steps in creating a working realtionship between the armies and the foreign policy establishments of those countries willing to get involved. And owing to the fiasco of a recent European Council demand that Italy not put out bids for all its needed helicopters at one time, Italy has traditionally used the same model in a variety of roles, then some of the countries suspect that this cooperation has more to do with arms sales than actually creaing a military force independent of NATO.

franchie on :

I am not an english speaker, and still not a good english writer, though since I go on english speaking sites, I made big improvements in my expression, so you may need some "patience" when you have to read my comments. I'll respond to your argumentation later on, got to work sometime

Pamela on :

Vous illustrez la courtoisie légendaire du français

Pamela on :

Oh excellent find, THANK YOU!! Now I think I get it. Sarkozy is trying to bulldoze NATO. ----------- In an interview with the New York Times Sarkozy laid down two conditions for France rejoining NATO's military command structure: he said that EU defence must move forward, and that top positions in NATO must be reserved for French personnel. He said: "I would make progress on a European defence a condition for moving into the integrated command, and I am asking our American friends to understand that...It is obvious that if we were to envisage such a move, it could only happen in as much as space was made in the leadership, at the highest level, for representatives of France." ------------------ BWAHAHAHA!! I see the Germans are simply charmed. IIRC, when I wrote a piece for this site on the EU Constitution, my reading of it did conclude that the plans for European defense boiled down to NATO. Again, many thanks..........

franchie on :

and do you also read pôve_corn.com ? a great deal for you

franchie on :

et vous, la légendaire "bonne foi" anglo-saxonne

franchie on :

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=5CD288B3-1F01-4872-9604-EBF31F5100DC about Sarko desires, here we know that he is more of opportunism than a conviction man ; so wether EU army or Nato, depends on the circonstances, if he is lucky, he'll manage his position, if not he'll move on something else. Though, I believe that there isn't much politicians with convictions nowadays, we deal with who is available

Stanley Crossick on :

Joe: I agree that the EU has not got its external policy act together outside trade. Kevin: Still looking for my source, but from memory: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Djibouti, Haiti, Iraq twice, Kosovo, Panama, Serbia, Somalia - that's 10 Maybe I'm being harsh but this resort to hard power divides us, even though we are sometimes involved

Kevin Sampson on :

'Afghanistan (NATO), Bosnia (NATO), Djibouti (6 terrorists killed by a Hellfire, you call that a “large scale military intervention?), Haiti (UN), Iraq twice (first time UN), Kosovo (UN), Panama, Serbia (?, when?), Somalia (UN) - that's 10' So out of that ten, six were sanctioned by either the UN or NATO, one was a simple assassination, and I’m not sure one even happened. Do you think characterizing these as all ‘US interventions’ is more than a little disingenuous? 'Maybe I'm being harsh but this resort to hard power divides us' As indeed it should.

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options