EU-CHINA RELATIONSHIP AS A REMEDY TO SINGULARITY
According to Zhang Weiwei, “China is what the Roman Empire would have been, if it would not have been dissolved”.Therefore,pretending that Europe and China are more different between them than Europe and America is misleading. They have, at least, a series of “mirror image” similarities and diversities.
Mainstream culture and politics establish a comparison just between present days “polyarchic” Europe with Xi Jinping’s “State Capitalism”. On the contrary, according to me, who follow the vision of collective identities started with psycho-analysis,”, as written by Gustav Jung, the “real” identity of each people is composed of different “strata. Underneath the “Europe of Maastricht”, you find the christian-democratic compromise of Gioberti, Vogelsang, Toniolo, Maritain, Fanfani, Delors and De Gasperi; so as, underneath Xi’s China, you find New Confucianism and Chinas’s perennialists. Christian democracy had a link to Ancien Régime, so as Mao was an admirer of old dynasties (see his poem “Snow”). Also Ancien Régime was an avatar of the Roman Empire, so as Chinese nationalism was an offspring of the Imperial (“Tia Xia”) idea (see Zhao Tingyang).
1.“Identity” in the EU’s and China’s international relations
The idea of a “European Identity” had entered the language of European politicians via the Foreign and Defence Policy. Therefore, it is understood also now (and not appropriately), before all as a geopolitical concept. Therefore, it is tightly linked to the question of Euro-Chinese relationships.
In July 1995, the European Trade Commissioner, Sir Leon Brittan, had unveiled the EU’s new initiative, “A Long-term Policy for China”. The 1995 China strategy paper followed on the EU’s broadening relations with Asia, recognized the “rise of China as unmatched amongst national experiences since the Second World War”. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, however, geostrategic analyses have tended to focus on the “China Threat” –. In this setting, the question has been raised: what role will the Europeans play in the power shift from the USA to China?
Some analyses (principally, by French or Chinese commentators) have privileged the idea of the EU and China as alternative poles to a unilateral America. The EU had entered into strategic linkages with China (especially in aerospace cooperation projects) already in 2003 – coincidentally, the year in which China became the third nation to send a man into space. A joint Sino-European satellite navigation cooperation center was opened in Beijing in February 2003, and an agreement was reached in September of the same year, committing China to finance up to €230 million (or one-fifth) of the EU’s Galileo satellite positioning system which is seen as an alternative to the US Global Positioning. President Trump is a follower of this interpretation.
Another approach (or rather, broad school of approaches) to China-EU relations is to see the relationship through ideological, cultural and/or civilisational lenses. They have echoes in historical/civilizational narratives that look at the China-EU relationship as an interaction between two old civilizations, which goes back millennia (Qin and Da Qin). A variation of this approach is to conceive of China and the EU not as “normal” or typical states, but as modern “empires”. In this perspective, China and the EU are not conventional nation-states, but very large and diverse, multiethnic and multinational political entities that strive to behave like nation-states.
Numerous studies on European “identity” have pointed out how “civilisational” identity is strong, even among citizens of EU states suspicious of the EU. On the other hand, “civic” identity, linked to the more overtly political goals of European Union (especially the “progressive” ones of the last decades), is qualitatively different and exerts less attractive power over citizens in EU states.
2.Europe and China: a mirror image relationship
Actually, according to my book “DA QIN”, there is a frightening parallelism among the Chinese “Tian Xia” ideology and the one of “Imperium” typical of ancient Rome, and, still more, of Dante, and of dom Antonio Vieira (“o Quinto Imperio”). Matteo Ricci, inhis work in Chinese called “The real meaning of the Lord of Heaven”, had clearly taken side with Confucianism against Buddhism, so striking indirectly a parallelism with the dispute between Catholics and Evangelicals. The enlightener Fresnais had suggested to the King of France to imitate the Chinese Emperor, and Leibniz had defined Europe, Russia and China as the most civilised countries of the World.
Also the founding fathers of America had in mind the Bible’s and Vieira’s idea of Translatio Imperii, which is very similar to the Chinese Tian Ming and to Persian Hvarenah.
But, first of all, we have to consider with special attention Voltaire’s “Rescrit”, a short satyrical work, by which the French philosopher had answered the question, set by Rousseau requiring comments to the well-known “Projet de Paix Perpetuelle” of the Abbé de Saint Pierre, to which mainstream historiography attributes (abusively) a large merit for the advancement of European integration. On the contrary, according to Voltaire, the federalist “Projet” was backward, because the unification of our Continent alongside the Chinese imperial model, was overdue since many centuries. In comparison with China, he found Europe to be very parochial.”Philosophes”were not at all “democratic”: they equated the “enlightened despotism” of its favourite kings (Peter the Great, Mary Therese, Frederick II, Catherine II) with he one of the Qing Emperors.
3.China’s influence less invasive thanm America’s
Atlanticists insist that China is trying to achieve undue influence in Europe, but the reality is that China is just trying to counter, and very partially, the huge influence on Europe (and the rest of the world) of the United States, which the latter does not cease to assert and to reinforce. America was born as “a house on the hill”, designed for converting the whole world. In this sense, it is America’s worldwide influence which is “undue”, because it’s a deliberated offence to other peoples’ cultures. It is true that also the vague reference to the ancient Tianxia theories, made by some Chinese thinkers, such as Zhao Tingyan, hint at a form of hegemonial temptation. Zhao Tingyang replies that, in principle, the Tian Xia is not the same thing as China: it is something open to all the world (“Tian Xia Wei Gong”, as Sun Yat-Sen said). In practice, Tian Xia corresponds to a better, really multicultural, United Nations, were Li (rites) and Yue (music) would be again at the basis of life, as foreseen in the “Confucian Classics” as “Datong”.
Actually, starting from the travels of Columbus, who expressly referred to the biblical prophecies on the “New Skies and New Earth”, American lobbies never ceased to accumulate power in Europe. Columbus had obtained huge privileges from the Kings of Spain and had even falsified his diary for damaging Portugal for favouring Isabel and Alfonso.He also persecuted heavily those who challenged his personal myth. The Puritan colonists of North America had sent aids to Cromwell’s New Model Army; the Correspondence Committee of the American Revolution had prepared the French Revolution; the US had supported the Italian Liberation Wars, the establishment of AEG and FIAT, as well as the travel of Trockij to Russia and the appointment of Hitler by Hindenburg. After WWII, America had masterminded, also physically, via Fulbright, Donovan, Acheson, Ball and the Law Firm Cleary & Gottlieb, the creation of the European Communities, the orientation of European industries and media, the Yugoslav wars, the coloured revolutions, the Maidan. America influenced customs, language, culture, not only in Western Europe, but also in the East (“Fortian Communism”, the federal system, “tresty”, “turnkey plants”, big cars, rock music, ’68, the Flowers’ Sons, management, informatics,..). After the fall of Real Socialism, European left has ceased to be critical towards America, and, on the contrary, has become its strongest supporter, via George Soros. Even the Catholic Church is influenced by the spendings of US catholics.
Not being yet influenced by this pro-American orientation, the enlightened sponsors of the European Idea in the XVIII century, such as Leibniz and Voltaire, had written, in “Novissima Sinica” and, respectively, in “Rescrit de l’ Empereur de la Chine”, that Europe should have developed in the sense of a sole enlightened monarchy, as the one of China, and the liberal economist Fresnais, who was also the physician of Henry XIV, had suggested to the Roi Soleil to follow the example of the Chinese, small but hyper-effective, bureaucracy. Frederick II had a statue of Confucius erected in his palace of Sans-Soucy.
Thus, the two influences (America and China) have been confronting each other since centuries in Europe. However, the presence of Russia, China and the Islamic countries, via commerce, finance, foreign language televisions, immigrant communities, has constituted up to now, contrary to what propaganda says, a very modest counterweight to the existing theological, social, cultural, ideological, military, political, industrial and mediatic US influence, which is still overwhelming in Europe. Moreover, the US are dealing with Europe with disdain, whilst China and Russia have always expressed a profound love for Europe. Presently, some new element may be felt, e.g., via the existing Chinese investments in Europe, the Confucius Circles, as well as a certain degree of imitation of Russia by East European countries, but they are not enough for allowing Europe a sufficient maneuvering space vis-à-vis the US.
Taking into account such asymmetrical nature of America’s and China’s interferences in Europe, even equating the two (as somebody does) would be unfair. The whole ideological, institutional, social and economic system of present days Europe derives from a literal imitation of the American Model; Europe is filled with American soldiers, technology, capitals, cultural institutions, newspapers. 5G is a pale counterweight of the OTTs; Tik Tok and Alipay have not the strength of Facebook or Cambridge Analytica; State aid in China is nothing as compared to DARPA’s and the US Intelligence Community’s in the birth and the life of the US digital system. The outcomes of the Echelon, Wikileaks, Prism and Web tax cases, as well as the findings of the Court of Justice in the Schrems case have even shown beyond any doubt that the ICT world has been conceived by the US primarily for dominating Europe.
As a consequence, if Europeans want to be consistent with the statements of their authorities (who have started to complain this awkward situation), they must go on in their collaboration with all peoples of the world, without accepting any further interferences from the United States. Only in this way European economy, society, policy and culture will be free again to recover their ancient role as trendsetters of the worldwide debate on the future of mankind.