Alan Cafruny, the Henry Platt Bristol Chair of International Affairs and Professor of Government, recently presented a paper titled “Caught in the Crossfire: Europe in the Sino-American Rivalry” at the virtual annual meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Associations. His presentation was part of a panel discussion on “Political Economic Conditions for Socio-Ecological Transformation” sponsored by the Union for Radical Political Economics.
Cafruny said that “strategic engagement with China was crucial to the development of the U.S.-led global neoliberal order, allowing U.S. and other multinational corporations to access China’s vast pool of cheap labor and expanding consumer market. Yet, China’s further advance now also presents an increasingly serious challenge to that order and to the cohesion of its Atlanticist core.
“The United States and the EU have yet to confront, much less resolve, this fundamental contradiction,” he noted, and “European capitalism remains heavily dependent on the American superpower.
“At the same time, China is now also an increasingly important arena for European—and especially German—exports and foreign direct investment,” Cafruny said, adding that “the U.S. strategy of containment through a project of decoupling and bifurcation represents a significant threat to Europe.”