Liz Truss, UK Foreign Secretary, delivered what the Financial Times described as a "hawkish set-piece" speech at a banquet in London on Wednesday. Her target was China. She said "NATO must have a global outlook," and "needs to preempt threats in the Indo-Pacific." Then she bluntly pointed out that they "must ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves." It's fair to say that Truss' remarks are the most blatant and ambitious statements among those made by US and Western politicians for a while about "the globalization of NATO."
It's reported that Truss' remarks came as NATO members were discussing the bloc's new "strategic concept." There is a fierce debate among NATO countries over how much emphasis should be placed on the "security threat" posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region. On the same day, the US Indo-Pacific Commander said that NATO is a "pretty good model" for the Indo-Pacific region, for those nations that value freedom. People have become very familiar with such pattern of the US and the UK echoing each other.
Since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, some politicians in the US and the West have been constantly distorting facts, deliberately linking the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the Taiwan question in an attempt to play the "Taiwan card" to contain China. Truss took advantage of the Ukraine crisis to hype the "China threat" as early as before the conflict broke out. She "warned" that China could use the Russia-Ukraine conflict as an opportunity to launch aggression of its own in the Indo-Pacific. Even former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating harshly criticized her as being "demented" and suffering "illusions of grandeur."
There is indeed frenzy in British foreign policy right now because of the Ukraine crisis. The UK, which has already left the EU and has a "special relationship" with the US, thinks it has a more flexible position than the US and the EU, and often parrots words very "conscientiously," saying and doing things that are inconvenient for Washington and at times being even more aggressive. Some politicians in London now increasingly see this as a source of uniqueness and superiority. The more they do this, the more they seem to feel the lingering warmth of the UK's prior status as "The Empire on which the sun never set."
Although after Brexit, the UK sees "Global Britain" as its strategic goal, hoping that the UK can become a leading country across the world. But over the years, the so-called Global Britain only seems to cling more tightly to the US. Truss claimed she would become the "modern-day Thatcher," but she only looks like the head of the US State Department's London office. Since taking office as the UK Foreign Secretary, Truss has pointed her fingers at China on almost all major China-related issues, including the Taiwan question and Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues. She has followed Washington's lead. And the pragmatism of diplomacy that the British used to talk about has increasingly descended into opportunism and radicalism. In Washington's redeployment of the global system, the UK is increasingly willing to be a "pebble."
Last July, the UK sent its Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier to the South China Sea, but it needed fighter jets and warships from Italy to make a fleet. In late March, during Truss' visit to India, she tried to persuade India not to buy Russian oil, but Indian's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar defended India's purchase of discounted Russian oil. "If you look at the major buyers of oil and gas from Russia, I think you'll find most of them are in Europe," Jaishankar said, refusing the unreasonable demand of the UK.
Even as their own strengths continued to decline, some British and American politicians began to fantasize about "mind control" - namely to re-establish the global "superiority" of Anglo-Saxon civilization. Truss herself does not hide this, calling on Britain in a speech last year to stop the guilt about colonial history and instead be proud of its identity and status. This is why it is not surprising that although UK politicians have recently taken turns to win over India, emphasizing the special relationship between the UK and India and praising India with all kinds of nice words, the domestic response to this in India has been mediocre. Indians say that the UK still adopts a colonial mentality toward India.
In fact, India is hardly the only country that has seen through this. More and more countries have recognized the nature of a series of small-circle activities carried out by the UK and the US in the name of the so-called common values and the culture that prioritizes Anglo Saxons. Truss and her ilk attempt to bring NATO to Asia and try to destabilize the Pacific, but they are doomed to fail. Treating China as a "systemic competitor" is also definitely a big misjudgment in the "Global Britain" strategy.