“Please, get out from Ukraine, Mr. Putin,” President Petro Poroshenko said days after Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and their crew members claiming they had entered Russian waters illegally. “The Russians will pay a huge price if they attack us,” Poroshenko added as NATO and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held special meetings while urging for restraint from both parties.
As Kyiv insisted on Moscow’s “act of aggression” that violated a 2003 treaty that stipulates free access to the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov played down tensions, pointing out “the need for the full and consistent implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures to reach a settlement in eastern Ukraine.”
Although the latest incident marks yet another degradation of bilateral relations after Russia backed a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014, the economic consequences should be mostly local and mainly impact both countries’ economy.
Of course, another hot point on the map isn’t a good development for the global economy since it increases uncertainty however the Ukraine-Russia situation has been war-like for years, and the two protagonists are the ones who will likely suffer from it the most. Also, it will strain the US-Russia relationship a bit more.
For some time on the ground and more and more frequently in words, the main military concern of the United States as seen by its government and its Generals focuses on China.
Indeed, if the immediate threat from a cybernetic and political viewpoint originates from Russia, the real long-term threat against US interests would mainly originate from China, the sole country able to reach world leadership over the next decades.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded more military funding from his European NATO allies considering that “the United States needs a very strong European pillar (because) in 15 years it is a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China,” said US General Ben Hodges at the Warsaw Security Forum.
Now retired and a former commander of the US Army in Europe, Hodges believes that the United States will not have the ability to deal with both Europe and Asia at a same time.
In addition to the needed increase in their military capabilities, Europeans must also make sure to restore their sovereignty at home, said Hodges, emphasizing that China owns more and more companies and infrastructure including more than 10% of European ports.
Former French Minister and current Chairman of the National Assembly (AN)’s finance committee Eric Woerth and economist and Fondapol’s scientific council’s member Laurence Diazano wrote in the daily newspaper L’Opinion that “Europe must better defend its trade interests” against Donald Trump and “build an autonomous financial system” within ten years.
Taken between the United States and its “America First” policy and by China and its rising global power, Europe must build its economic sovereignty or otherwise risk having to systematically align with US interests. The next European Commission, said Woerth and Daziano, will have to lead three major actions.
First, build an autonomous financial system probably in collaboration with China. Then, have a European Monetary Fund in order to stabilize European and/or geographically close countries and increase its monetary clout in collaboration with the ECB. Finally, take advantage of the US trade withdrawal to gain market share, particularly in Asia.