“You are thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don’t. I think that is ‘old’ Europe.”
Donald Rumsfeld, the then secretary of defense under President George W. Bush, gave the previous remark back in January of 2003 when asked his view on the positions taken by both German and French officials regarding the United States’ eventual use of force in Iraq. Rumsfeld said, “If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the East. And there are a lot of new members… You look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe. They’re not with France and Germany [regarding Iraq], they’re with the United States.”
The comments Rumsfeld made drew ire from both German and French officials alike. Whatever one may think of Rumsfeld or the Bush administration’s later handling of the Iraq war, one cannot deny the important distinction made by Rumsfeld regarding the inevitable split between both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe.
Had we heeded Rumsfeld’s warnings, Emmanuel Macron’s recent statements on China would not have shocked to anyone. After a series of meetings with China’s President Xi, Macron announced at a press conference that “France’s position and the European position on Taiwan is the same, we are for the status quo. This policy is constant and hasn’t changed.” Macron later stated that Europe still counted itself as an ally to the United States but that “being an ally does not mean being a vassal,” later saying that it “doesn’t mean that we don’t have the right to think for ourselves.” According to the New York Times Marcon wants to avoid being dependent on America.
Something that seems to be glaringly obvious to all, except Mr. Macron and the French foreign office, is how naive he is regarding China’s intentions toward Taiwan. Last I checked, it was not the United States Navy that was enacting beach landing drills just miles off the coast or military flybys in Taiwanese airspace. Of course, the Chinese government was pleased with Macron’s bow towards the Chinese Communist Party. While ‘Old’ Europe waxes on about being “vassals” to the United States they seem to have no problem playing into the hands of the dictators who hold their economic and energy chains.
But there is a side of Europe that sees the real imminent danger of communist domination, a side that experienced it firsthand under one of the most brutal regimes known to man. ‘New’ Europe as Rumsfeld called them, seems to be best exemplified by the nation of Poland and other eastern European nations. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki lambasted Macron’s remarks by saying.
“I don’t agree with President Macron. We believe that more America is needed in Europe … We want more cooperation with the U.S. on a partnership basis. Instead of building strategic autonomy from the United States, I propose a strategic partnership with the United States”
Poland has put their money where their mouth is. For the past few decades, Poland has actively maintained a well-funded military and has given many contracting agreements to American companies. Poland has been one of, if not the biggest, Russia hawks. Warsaw would later be vindicated in their suspicion of the Kremlin after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Poland hasn’t just decided to side with the United States on serious foreign policy issues because it feels its concerns about Russia are growing larger. Poland was one of the many staunch supporters of the United States’ plans in Iraq back in 2003. The then Polish Foreign Minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, in January of 2003 said his country would back U.S. action in Iraq “without the agreement of the United Nations.” and was supported by the other formerly communist countries who had joined NATO.
The distinction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe is quite clear. While old Europe shrugged off the idea that Russia would invade Ukraine, new Europe served as a fire alarm, and while old Europe seeks to bow to China, new Europe seeks to build stronger relations with the United States.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.