China is a "strategic partner" on climate change, and Russia is an "indispensable partner" on Ukraine and Syria: we hear this every day in Europe. Yet China is heavily investing in coal in China and throughout Eurasia. Russia has invaded Ukraine and kept Assad in power.
Therefore neither China nor Russia are partners: they are a big if not the biggest part of the problem. Yet solving the problem requires their cooperation. That's why Europeans like to call them "partner": an expression of hope that one day they may change their mind.
Calling China and Russia partners is a diplomatic carrot: meant as an incentive for them to change behaviour. Yet what if the carrots don't work, to what extent is Europe willing to move towards sticks, especially in the economic area?
You can follow @ulrichspeck.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: