The US is warning Europe about the influence of China and Russia in the fields of 5G dominance and energy dependence amid new threats of sanctions against countries that work with Huawei or aid in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline…
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s latest tour is being branded as a way to warn against influence from China and Russia in Europe, at a time when the US is facing increased tensions with both countries.
Pompeo landed in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, where he is set to meet with officials to discuss “nuclear energy cooperation, the Three Seas Initiative” and what he described as efforts to counter the “malign actions of Russia and China.”
The Three Seas Initiative is a 2015 agreement between 12 countries in the region between the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea. It was formed as a way for the states to show their alliance to the US, while reducing economic and energy dependence on China and Russia.
This is just the latest move in the Trump Administration’s ongoing attempt to get European countries to turn away from energy dependence on Russia, specifically when it comes to Moscow’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Last month, Pompeo issued a warning that the US is preparing to expand its sanctions to target companies in Germany, the Netherlands and France, if they continue to work with Russia. In response, Germany accused the US of attempting to interfere in its domestic affairs.
Following his time in the Czech Republic, Pompeo is set to visit Slovenia to sign a bilateral agreement on 5G security. Then he will travel to Austria to discuss trade. And finally, to Poland, to discuss an increase in US troops.
On the topic of 5G, the Trump Administration has spent more than a year warning its allies to break all ties with Huawei, claiming they are concerned for national security if the Chinese telecom giant dominates the 5G market.
What has resulted has been security agreements with countries like Poland, which did not mention Huawei by name, but did add additional government reviews of the companies involved in building its 5G network. And threats of sanctions against close allies, which led to the UK’s decision to ban Huawei from its 5G network after a months-long pressure campaign from the US.
It does seem like Pompeo’s trip covers a wide range of topics, but all roads lead back to China and Russia. Even though Pompeo won’t be visiting Germany this week, it is still playing a pivotal role in his trip. In addition to disagreements over German involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Trump Administration is also moving to withdraw up to 12,000 troops from the country, over claims that Germany owes NATO billions of dollars.
In addition to bringing thousands of soldiers home, they are also planning to send thousands to other NATO allies, including Poland, which did make the list for the visit.
During a recent interview, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US intends to move “many troops further east, closer to Russia’s border, to deter them.” He added, “It is collective security, it is about our collective responsibility to stand up to the Russians.”
But that move could serve to escalate tensions at a time when the clock is running out on the last remaining nuclear treaty between Russia and the US.