What these observations go to show is that the EU is taking advantage of the Australian and American hype over China’s soft security deal with the Solomon Islands to sell the bloc’s preplanned military expansion to the Asia-Pacific to its people who might otherwise not have supported it.
China’s soft security pact with the Solomon Islands has already been politicized by Australia and the US, with the EU now jumping on the Western bandwagon to also claim that it supposedly represents a threat. The Guardian quoted EU special envoy to the Indo-Pacific Gabriele Visentin and EU ambassador for the Pacific and Solomon Islands Sujiro Seam who both expressed precisely this concern. The first-mentioned said that he was worried that the “multilateral rules-based order will not be fully respected” in the South Pacific after that pact. He described China as “a partner, a competitor and a rival” and hinted that the EU might participate in more “Freedom Of Navigation Operations” (FONOPs) as a result. Visentin also suggested more military drills and intelligence sharing with regional countries too.
Seam, for his part, said that “this security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands must be considered in the development of the European Union action on security and defence in the region.” He then added that “Traditionally in the Pacific, the European Union has been a development partner. The main challenge is to show that we can be something else, a strategic partner in security and defence.” From these two leading diplomats’ remarks, it’s clear that the EU is exploiting the China-Solomon Islands soft security pact for the purpose of manufacturing a false pretext to expand its military influence in the South Pacific. The deal doesn’t threaten anyone, China’s partner isn’t astride any major maritime trade routes, and no rules of the UN-enshrined international order have been violated by their pact.
What these observations go to show is that the EU is taking advantage of the Australian and American hype over China’s soft security deal with the Solomon Islands to sell the bloc’s preplanned military expansion to the Asia-Pacific to its people who might otherwise not have supported it. It doesn’t matter that the entire pretext is false and artificially manufactured since all that’s important is that it checks off the right narrative boxes about the “rules-based international order”, the “China threat”, and FONOPs. Furthermore, observers shouldn’t forget that most EU countries are also NATO members, so this essentially amounts to NATO expanding to the South Pacific under an EU cover.
That’s the larger trend at play, the literal globalization of NATO, which the US aims to employ to simultaneously contain Russia and China in the New Cold War. While it’ll do so differently in each theater, likely playing a more direct role in Western Eurasia while “Leading From Behind” in Eastern Eurasia by bolstering regional partners’ comprehensive capabilities, the fact of the matter is that this US-led military alliance is now expanding all across the Eastern Hemisphere. It’s already been creeping into Africa too, though with little publicity, but the Asia-Pacific front is something new and especially its South Pacific subregion. This disturbing trend pushes the world closer to a war by miscalculation.