China, Europe, and the Pandemic Recession

  • May 04, 2022
  • Chris Alden, Mr. Erik Brattberg, Dr. Roger Cliff, Dr John R Deni, Dr. Mark E. Duckenfield, Dr R Evan Ellis, Nicholas Nelson, Laren Speranza

Given the depth and breadth of the pandemic-induced recession in Europe, private companies in need of capital and governments looking to shed state-owned enterprises may be tempted to sell shares, assets, or outright ownership to investors with liquidity to spare. Of greatest concern is the role that China might play in Europe, building Beijing’s soft power, weakening allied geopolitical solidarity, and potentially reprising the role it played in the 2010s, when its investments in Europe expanded dramatically. More specifically, there is concern over China’s investments in infrastructure and sensitive technologies relevant to American and allied military operations and capabilities. Whether Europe is prepared and able to parry Beijing’s economic statecraft is somewhat unclear, given varied attitudes toward China and the patchwork of investment screening mechanisms across the continent. Regardless, the outcomes will have significant implications for US security and for the Defense Department specifically. In support of US European Command (EUCOM) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) assembled an interdisciplinary team to examine these issues and offer actionable policy recommendations for military leaders and decisionmakers on both sides of the Atlantic.