In what at first glance looked like the European Union getting onboard with the US-led confrontation with China, a recent delegation led by Raphael Glucksmann sent to Taiwan supposedly representing the EU tells a story less of supposed mainland “interference” within the island territory, and instead, a story about US interference within the EU.
Glucksmann is a French member of the European Parliament. He was also chosen last year to chair the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union. But despite his supposed role in protecting the EU from foreign interference, he has an established career as an agent of interference elsewhere as well as within the EU.
Because of his troubling background and his questionable actions more recently in Taiwan, it is safe to say he represents an agenda imposed on rather than emanating from the EU.
Glucksmann in Taiwan
Reuters in an article titled, “Taiwan welcomes first official European Parliament delegation,“ would claim:
“Our visit shows how Taiwan now is very high in the agenda in Brussels and in every member state,” Raphael Glucksmann, a French member of the European Parliament, told Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang at a meeting.
“We in Europe are also confronted with interference from authoritarian regimes and we came here to learn from you,” added Glucksmann, who is leading the delegation.
He described Taiwan as “a laboratory and a hub for the fight against foreign interference and the preservation of democracy”.
Glucksmann’s undiplomatic verbiage accuses China of being an “authoritarian regime” and suggests that it is somehow “interfering” in Taiwan. Yet even the Reuters article admits Taiwan, “does not have formal diplomatic ties with any European nations except tiny Vatican City.” This is because the EU, like most other nations on Earth, recognizes the “One China” policy where there is but one China, Taiwan is part of China, and there is only one recognized government of China – the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.
Glucksmann’s delegation and Glucksmann’s own comments challenge the EU’s own official stance regarding the One China policy, jeopardizing relations with Beijing, but also encouraging Taiwan further down a path that ends either in a deadend or a bottomless pit. Taiwan’s economy for example depends heavily on relations with mainland China. In 2019 Taiwan exported more to Hong Kong alone than to all of Europe combined. Over 40% of all exports from Taiwan go elsewhere in China. Imports tell a similar story.
This economic reality serves to ground the most provocative actions by both the US and certain circles within Europe including Glucksmann and his delegation.
The Global Times – often indicative of the thinking in Beijing – in an op-ed titled, “Chinese mainland should keep ‘strategic focus’ despite token European politicians’ visit Taiwan,” dismissed the delegation as “political clowns” amounting only to symbolic support for secessionists from the West.
The op-ed also recognized that the delegation was less representative of the EU which otherwise has a very healthy relationship with China – and was instead acting as cover for the US.
Glucksmann’s Dirty Work for the US
It’s well known that the US seeks to paper over its unilateral and illegal aggression on the global stage with “coalitions” and through citing the participation and approval of “other” nations. When these actual nations refuse to back the United States openly – and in regards to the EU itself because of its fractured nature – there are always circles of politicians both within national governments and within the EU itself willing to bolster Washington’s dirty work.
Glucksmann’s parroting of Washington’s talking points regarding Taiwan is not the first instance where he has done this – neither in regards to China nor in regards to US machinations in general.
Last year Glucksmann was featured in the US State Department-funded media platform The World in an article titled, “One French politician fights to expose China’s Uighur concentration camps.”
In it, Glucksmann takes a leading role in repeating debunked claims of forced labor and “concentration camps” he and others claim are being overseen by the Chinese government in its western region of Xinjiang. Citing dubious sources including the likewise US State Department-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Glucksmann led a campaign to pressure companies to cut business ties with Chinese suppliers and factories.
The article also mentions those working with Glucksmann on his anti-China campaign, including Dilnur Reyhan of the European Uyghur Institute – one of several organizations posing as human rights advocates but in actuality pursuing a separatist political agenda with the aid of the US government and its allies.
It is no coincidence that Glucksmann finds himself supporting two separatist movements sponsored by Washington, targeting China.
Almost a decade earlier Glucksmann was involved in propping up another proxy of Washington – this time along Russia’s borders. Wikileaks revealed among several e-mails from and to then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that US government meetings with their client regime in Georgia headed by Mikheil Saakashvili included Glucksmann who served as Saakashivili’s “adviser.”
It’s difficult to tell why the European Parliament would include Glucksmann on a special committee regarding foreign interference within the EU. Perhaps it’s because of his extensive experience as an agent of foreign interference beyond the EU’s borders, thus making him an expert in spotting foreign interference when it turned back against the EU.
But because Glucksmann’s history of foreign interference involves advancing Washington’s foreign policy objectives under EU cover and often at the expense of the EU’s own reputation and standings with other nations around the world including now China – it is safe to say he himself is a vector of – not an expert in defending against – foreign interference within the EU.
Beijing seems to understand that time is on its side. The Global Times notes that Taiwan’s current government headed by the US-backed Democratic Progressive Party – by engaging in such provocative moves with such disreputable partners is comparable to a “cornered beast” caught up in a desperate struggle.
The story of the West’s attempted containment of China is one of provocations amid an ultimately failed strategy. China will likely continue being patient while the provocations continue to become more desperate. The window is closing and when it does for good, China will be stronger, more unified, and more unassailable than ever before. If the US and its partners have had so many problems encircling and containing China when the advantages were on the West’s side – how will it bode for the West when no more advantages remain?
Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.