White House can’t always call the shots

Li Yang

If the Joe Biden administration really deems Sino-US relations and France-US relations as normal and equal relations between state and state, it would not have expressed its confidence in the US-French relationship in such a hurry after French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to China last week.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Biden administration remains “comfortable and confident in the terrific bilateral relationship we have with France.” Kirby cited President Biden’s personal relationship with Macron and said the two countries are “working together on so many different issues,” including naval operations in the Asia-Pacific.
After visiting China, Macron told the media that Europe should be wary of being “caught up in crises that are not ours, which prevents it from building its strategic autonomy”. “The paradox would be that, overcome with panic, we believe we are just America’s followers,” the French president said. “The worse thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers…”
These remarks reflect any country’s yearning for the freedom to act on its own, as well as the French leader’s concerns about Europe’s future and its interests. That US Senator Marco Rubio demanded the French president clarify whether he was speaking for himself or the whole of Europe indicates the lack of manners of some uncultivated politicians on the US side, particularly those China hawks, who have regretfully been allowed to set the agenda of Washington’s China policy for too long without being questioned. His remark shows the extent to which some in Washington take it for granted that European countries should be willing to act as “followers” of the US that must dance to its tune on the world stage.
The thriving of Sino-French relations does not conflict with US-France relations as long as Washington does not define the latter as a geopolitical tool to be wielded against China. The insecurity Washington has displayed speaks volumes of the ugly role it assumes in playing some countries off against one another, which is a root cause of the bitter turbulences the world is experiencing today.
China Daily