Crumbling Christendom and the Political Chaos in Europe

, by Harjeet Singh

Crumbling Christendom and the Political Chaos in Europe
Credit: Vernet: On the barricades on the Rue Soufflot (1848). Wikimedia Commons.

A political storm is brewing on the European continent, where the geopolitical reality of Europe in the discourse of the Ukraine crisis has been exposed against the reality of Russia. The political tussle within the conservative Party in Britain after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation further destabilizes the UK, and the absence of strong leadership on the continent, even within the alliance, failed to assert strong resistance against the Kremlin regime beyond the sanction that are now reciprocating itself as a boomerang effect.

Despite NATO’s expansion to include Finland and Sweden, it will remain inefficient and ineffective against Putin’s invasion. From a geopolitical standpoint, it is unlikely that Russia will advance beyond Ukraine as the current war had already revealed the shortcomings in the Russian military, especially when the Ukrainian forces sank the Russian Moskva ship; it was a grand humiliation for the Russians as all the attempts failed to capture Kyiv. In Italy, a concession was provided by the EU regarding the purchase of Russian gas, yet the domestic economic realities and sky-rocketing inflation created political instability. For example, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was forced to resign due to this, which was initially rejected by the President but accepted after Draghi failed to prove the majority tendered his resignation. This chaos found historical backing when we shed light on Italian politics since World War two, erected 69 governments. Italy, the third largest economy in Europe, owns a significant proportion of burdens to maintain European Union hegemony in geoeconomics to counter the red threat coming from China and contribute to defense against Russian aggression, which is in a fragile state.

The fate of Europe intertwined with the leadership against Russia as German chancellor Olaf Schultz announced "a new era" in the foreign policy of German, by the first cancellation of Nord pipeline ii projects, increasing GDP spending by 2% for military par to the requirements of NATO, and ending the policy of not supplying weapons in the conflict zone. However, the sudden cut off of natural gas from Russia could drive European household energy costs, especially concerning the winter crisis in the EU.

This spontaneous shift failed to project Germany as the leader of the European Union as the EU compromised over the oil embargo in response to European countries, those who heavily relied on Russian energy. Europe has been witnessing a crisis for a strong leader for a long time, even during the reign of the Former Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, who alone was the epitome of European values. She delivered stable leadership during times of crisis, transforming EU relations through the updated version of the ostpolitik with Russia after the Crimean crisis and initiated structural reform during the Eurozone debt crisis when Greece financial turmoil brought the nation of bankruptcy, to tackling the refugee crisis that erupted in 2015 accommodating millions of refugees. Her policies regarding Russia left Germany on its knees as its energy reliance is over 50 percent. Merkel and Putin joined the NORD pipeline II, which even compelled US President Joe Biden to give approval, prioritizing German commercial interest over European values.

French President Emmanuel Macron tabled the candidature for the Face of the EU, but current domestic politics hamper this quest. The ‘yellow vest’ protests prior to the Covid pandemic questioned Macron’s credibility as a national leader. In the 2022 French Presidential Elections, the margin of difference between Republic Forward and National Rally reduced from 32.2 percent (2017) to 17.10 percent (2022), leaving a negative impression of French citizens’ mandate for Macron, especially after losing the majority in the National Assembly election, causing the first hung parliament since 2000. Elisabeth Borne’s tendered resignation was rejected by Macron and, with efforts, passed the no vote of a confidence motion against the EM (Republic Forward). This chaotic reality puts forward an uncertain future for European leadership, echoing the question, “Could European Christendom stand firmly against the Eastern Winds coming from Russia and China?”

The covid pandemic accelerated the deterioration process of the European leadership that all began in 2015 after the refugee crisis and the sudden influx in the number of right-wing sympathizers like the AFD in Germany, the Austrian People party, the Conservative Party in Britain. While Macron stole victory away from the right wing in 2017, in 2022 Le Pen was the second most favorable leader prophesying the arrival of the right-wing in France. The inefficiency of United States President Joe Biden first led to the disastrous evacuation crisis in Afghanistan and the failure of the US to uphold the assurance promised under the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 during this ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, posing a question mark over Biden’s competence as a global leader. The sanction packages against Russia fall short of compelling the Kremlin regime to concede to a peace deal; on the contrary, these sanctions accelerated the recession in the United States, and now over Europe. The military incompetency after the Post Afghanistan crisis, where the Taliban swept all the territories with ease, raised concerns over the legitimacy of the United States as a powerful military in the international arena. This unprecedented moment put China on a higher pedestal, not alone in the geopolitical realm simultaneously; the absence of great power in Europe alleviated the value of China to negotiate and change the balance of power towards the east. This is visible as the White House sided themselves away from US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which invited the military drill from PLA; beyond rhetorical objection calling it "irresponsible", the United States could not do much as China is no longer just a regional power anymore while Beijing stalled all the ongoing dialogues with Washington in response to the belligerent intervention in the internal affairs of China. Will Europe be able to survive the political crisis? Indeed, a political crisis seldom culminates in a complete shift in fundamental state principles; however, the power vacuum that emerged from this political instability will solidify the Chinese grip over Africa and Latin America as it historically witnessed a lot of interventions by the Western forces in their domestic affairs, governance conduct via financial aid schemes and sanctions regimes. Chinese dynamic approach disapproves of any moralistic shift in African governance, which served extensively, especially in the African Horns region. Argentina, the largest economy in Latin America, now joined the BRI project and simultaneously applied for the BRICS membership enabling China to accommodate new geopolitical strategies conveniently.

While Russia and China are leading their sphere of influence under the two individuals, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, paving the way to cultivate the shortfall of European Union leaders for their benefit. In this challenging time, European hegemony is at stake under this political rift, and a tremendous shift in power dynamics is to be manifested if the European Union fails to find the global leader that could lead the EU in the next decade when China will replace the US as the world leading economy.

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