By Shazia Anwer Cheema
ENJOYING strategically important geopolitical positioning with weaker economies places the majority of eastern European countries in a sensitive security zone.
Russia on one side and NATO on the other create a diplomatic magnetic field, resulting in constant vibration and consuming energies for taking decisions.
Ukraine has become an example that the US is not offering instant help to a country that wished to join the US band and lost a big piece of its land to Russia without getting tangible support from US allies.
Another important factor is the presence of China in the region that offers no ideology but business and promotes nothing but economic connectivity.
Now three magnetic fields are present in Eastern Europe—— NATO with an anti-Russia narrative; Russia with an anti-NATO narrative and China that does not compel anybody for any narrative.
The narrative which China offers is “economic incentives”. Even stronger European countries like Germany are under the influence of the Chinese economic network while energy demands of European countries link them with Russia while NATO offers Security.
Regional experts believe that since NATO has only one leverage to stay in the theatre and that is — Security, therefore, NATO prefers creating Security issues in the region.
This viewpoint can be contested and one can say that this is Russia which creates security issues and NATO is the protector of weaker countries.
Whatever viewpoint is true; it indicates that the reality of security is an important issue for Eastern European countries.
Recent hype that “Russians are coming” dented the Ukrainian economy that was already going through a bad patch due to several factors including COVID-19.
Western media portrayed the situation that any minute Russian would try to invade Ukraine and this “any time” played havoc with the Ukrainian economy because economics cannot stay normal when there is news of a “possible war” in international media.
This hype could be politically useful for the United States to build pressure on Russia and a “Breaking News” kind of situation for the media to fill their airtime but it was not at all in favour of Ukraine.
It is pertinent to mention that Germany and France had managed to cool down the Ukraine-Russia situation through the 26 January 2022 meeting.
This meeting indicates that Diplomacy is the only solution and sitting across the table confirmed that Diplomacy must not be the victim of media hypes because no Media House paid the cost of this hype but the Ukrainian economy.
Ukraine is not the only case and every year or sometimes twice a year we find news that Russia is building up at EU states borders.
Western media is the major tool for cleaning the ground for US landing as the hype of “Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)” helped to invade Iraq and as news that “Osama Bin Laden had Dirty Bomb” offered immunity to attack Afghanistan.
I believe that western media has all the skills for creating hypes and scenes where destruction is knocking at the doors and the rescuers are NATO and US-allied forces that prevent wars otherwise the whole world will be at war.
Since the inception of NATO after World War II, security arrangements in Europe are pro-NATO, anti-Russia and anti-Muslims (after the 9/11 tragic incident).
However, I believe it will not stay as it is today if China continues to influence European markets.
The new scenario would be anti-China, Anti-Russia, and pro-NATO. Now, there would be three main actors — China-Russia-NATO.
The US is already inciting eastern European countries to challenge the “One-China Policy” by promoting Taiwan as an independent state.
I am afraid that Europe will be the major economic battlefield between the US and China soon but this would be a different kind of economic war.
Till now, NATO and the US use “Sanction Weapon” against adversaries everywhere in the world from South America to Africa, the Middle East and within Europe.
This weapon would not be as lethal for China as it was for Russia or Iran because the world’s economy is strongly linked with Chinese products.
China is not also a Muslim country, therefore, accusing China of harbouring terrorism would also not be possible as this was used against Iran and sometimes even against Pakistan.
I am sure this decade will be China-centric for the United States but I doubt that its allies would stand against China blindly or recklessly as they stood in the past against several countries.
I believe Europe will rewrite its security arrangements and would develop an independent security doctrine and mechanism in this decade because energy-hungry Europe cannot afford to cut all relations with the biggest energy source—Russia and smaller economies of Eastern Europe cannot deny economic incentives offered by China.
According to my understanding, the majority of traders, shopkeepers and businessmen in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe, are trading in cheaper Chinese goods and trade suspension with China will immediately harm consumers and traders whose economic survival is directly linked with Chinese goods.
Note: The above article was originally published by Pakistan Observer.