That's wrong. What Merkel says in her remarks at the WEF is that she doesn't want the world to be split into two blocs, one around China, the other around the US.
For Merkel, such an arrangement sounds like a replay of the Cold War, with China taking over the role of the Soviet Union.
Merkel's core goal is not to be drawn back to a Cold War constellation. As someone who has been politically socialized in the 1990s, she wants to preserve and protect what has been gained: the vision of a "new world order", of globalisation, of cooperation across borders.
You can disagree with Merkel on the merits of her recent trade moves (CAI) or see her as stuck in a view of China that is not up-to-date. But her overall point, that a bipolar global order is not in Europe's interest, is a serious argument.
A China approach that is fully hawkish won't fly with US allies, neither in Europe nor in Asia. If the Biden administration is serious in its wish to build a joint strategy with allies, it needs to take views like Merkel's into account, bring it in the mix.

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More from @ulrichspeck

28 Jan
It's not just Germany. France and the rest Europe isn't keen on a world divided in two blocs either. Nor are, as far as I can see, India, Japan, ASEAN.
Full economic decoupling isn't going to happen. But a lot can be done to make sure that China isn't going to derail the global market economy, uses only fair instruments in its competition, and respects rights and sovereignty of others.
Plenty of space for many coalitions between like-minded partners such as Europeans, US, Canada, Japan, India, Australia, others in Asia.
Read 7 tweets
30 Dec 20
Key questions about the EU-China investment agreement (CAI) have not yet been discussed. Quick thread.
Is the conclusion of CAI a strategic move by EU governments, led on this issue by German chancellor Angela Merkel, or is it just path-dependent “business as usual”?

What are the strategic implications?
Will the CAI increase Europe’s (Germany’s) considerable economic dependency on China, making it even harder in the future to say “no” to China? Will it move Europe further towards the position where Beijing wants to see it -- politically neutral between the US and China?
Read 8 tweets
19 Dec 20
Here are my three questions regarding the EU-China investment agreement.…
1) Is it wise to deepen our economic dependence from China at a moment when we realise that China is increasingly using economic dependency for geo-strategic gains? Shouldn't we, in light of that new reality, rethink our economic ties to China?
2) Is the new agreement likely to provide Beijing additional opportunities to obtain advanced European technology? Technology that can be used to outcompete Europeans unfairly in the markets (with the help of the Chinese state) or that may strengthen China's military?
Read 6 tweets
24 Oct 20
You hear it everywhere: "There's no going back to the good old days of the transatlantic relationship even if Biden wins". But is it true? A thread.
First, the premise is questionable. There are no "good old days" in transatlantic relations. They have never been harmonious. Just like intra-European relations are never harmonious. There have always been clashes between worldviews, interests, personality.
Secondly, what we would see with Biden is a return of Obama people into leading foreign policy positions. The Obama administration was a time when transatlantic relations were good, or very good, when cooperation was largely successful, from the financial crisis to Ukraine.
Read 10 tweets
23 Oct 20
Putin's view of Germany as an emerging superpower is surprising. He may just want to saw a bit of confusion. Or he may really believe it. If it's the latter, why should he?
He may think that Russia is facing two economic powerhouses limiting expansion and at least indirectly challenging its spheres of influence (or control), China and Germany.
Indeed while it has been cautious not to offend Russia, Germany nevertheless has strongly supported Ukraine and played an important role in NATO's return back to territorial defense and deterrence.
Read 6 tweets
16 Oct 20
Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh: The Kremlin seems to loose its iron grip on its neighborhood. This begs the question: How successful has Putin's foreign policy been? A thread.
Starting point: Putin has two major foreign policy goals:

a) Control of the neighborhood, ie Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, parts of Middle East and North Africa. Pretty much like during the times of the Soviet Union.
b) Standing on eye level with the US: be respected globally and have a seat on the table when global issues are being negotiated, one way or the other.
Read 8 tweets

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