The Submarine Deal Is the Answer to Merkel’s China Maneuver

Europe’s self-portrayal as a victim of U.S. power politics is an expression of anti-American schizophrenia: The protection of the American superpower is demanded, while at the same time deals are struck with its enemies. But Biden won’t play along anymore.

At last, the roles are clearly distributed again: The United States is the reckless superpower, cold-bloodedly enforcing its global interests. Germany and Europe are the victims of American power politics — and, in an act of self-defense, have no choice but to move closer to autocratic powers like China and Russia. Under Donald Trump, this was a comfortable narrative. Now it has returned; under Joe Biden, Germans and Europeans are seeing themselves as victims once again.

First, Biden left his allies in Afghanistan high and dry. Then the submarine deal with Australia happened, in which Europe was ousted through secret negotiations. But the fretfulness among the allies is laughable. Biden is simply holding up a mirror to Germany and Europe: In it, they would be able to see their own hypocrisy, if their eyes weren’t blinded by childish tears of rage.

The submarine deal is the answer to Angela Merkel’s betrayal. She had, secretly and alongside Emmanuel Macron, struck a trade agreement with China. At that time, Biden was already elected but hadn’t taken office yet. The U.S. government wasn’t consulted, and had to watch helplessly as Europe made it clear with the deal that it wasn’t willing to follow the United States’ stricter China policy.

Biden got the message: We want America’s military protection, but at the same time, to do lucrative business with its enemies. With Afghanistan and the submarine deal, Biden makes it clear to Europe that he isn’t accepting this two-faced diplomacy.

Unfortunately, it’s doubtful whether Europe understands this, as the foreign policy is mirrored in the sentiment within Europe’s population. Astonishingly, Germans and Europeans still regard the conflict with China as purely an American problem. A lot of people see no difference between China’s totalitarian dictatorship and the United States — the country that liberated Europe.

Europe has practiced this anti-American schizophrenia for decades. Biden, who also made it very clear between the lines of his speech at the United Nations, wants this hypocrisy to henceforth come at a price.

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