Taiwan! Taiwan! Taiwan! Europe can say it enough. In fact, Europe talks about Taiwan almost as much as China does. Taiwan doesn’t need formal diplomatic relations to live rent free in the minds of global leaders around the globe—especially living rent free in the minds of Beijing leaders—especially in the mind of Xi Jinping. Don’t forget Japan.
Europe doesn’t want to be bullied by China. Every response from China is interpreted by the EU as a reason to disagree with almost anything China says. China is so hated, we are almost to the point where China could use reverse psychology to get what it wants. If China disagreed with everything it wants, the world might agree with everything China wants, just to spite China’s rhetoric. But, we are only 98% of the way there. The world doesn’t hate China quite that much. There’s still room for more.
But, look closely at what is happening in Europe. Lithuania deepens ties with Taiwan while the EU pounds the table. It is almost as if Europe is testing China by watching what happens with Lithuania. If that were so, none of the European rhetoric about Lithuania or China is real, yet. They’re just saying things to gauge China’s reaction. In other words, Europe is experimenting with China as the lab rat. That’s got to make shame-phobic leaders in Beijing feel great about themselves.