The Netherlands will not succumb to America’s power play. Good luck, I thought

The Netherlands will not succumb to America's power play.  Good luck, I thought

At the end of last year, our Economic Affairs Minister Mickey Adriansen vowed that we would not succumb to the American power play. His colleague for international trade, Liesje Schreinmaker, said the Netherlands would follow its own path in the case of chip machine manufacturer ASML. Good luck, I thought.

Because in early October, US President Biden had decided to attack China hard. The country had to deny access to advanced semiconductors produced by ASML and Taiwanese TSMC, mainly with Dutch machinery. The legitimate argument is that national security is at stake. Because supercomputers can build advanced weapons with those chips. In fact, it is a technological race to prevent China from becoming the most powerful country in the world.

Since China has a completely different view of the world than the West, there is a lot to be said for the Netherlands taking on this war alongside the EU and the US. For authoritarian China, the economy is political, not free trade like ours. Check out the Belt and Road Initiative, the new Silk Roads. It seems to revolve around trade, but it is mainly about increasing China’s global influence. Export restrictions on ASML are part of efforts to reduce that influence and preserve as much as possible the liberal world order on democracy, human rights and US leadership.

No own tax

The ASML case also shows that the organization is too big for politics in The Hague. So to speak, President Biden would have to threaten to limit KLM’s landing rights in the US, and the Netherlands would cope. So Powerplay has no streak or resistance of its own.

If you want to organize a protest, you have to do so through the EU. Only then can the Netherlands take a stand against countries that want to harm us. The US, like China, has a tougher job in the European Commission than in the Rutte cabinet. Incidentally, it argues in favor of granting Brussels export licenses to companies of this type.

Brussels can also build global alliances of like-minded countries to better protect our trade interests or access to raw materials and energy. Trade agreements are an appropriate mechanism for this. By doing so, you attract those countries to you and you create mutual dependence. Trade agreements are increasingly becoming instruments of power politics.

Sustainability goals are too weak

Unfortunately, none of this goes to a large part of the House of Representatives and a small part of the Cabinet. ChristenUnie supported the Animal Party’s resolution to force the government to block the Mercosur agreement with South American countries. According to CU party leader Mirjam Bikker, the sustainability goals of this agreement are too weak and our farmers are suffering. In Faith He says he fears the floodgates of cheap meat will be opened to victimize Dutch farmers already suffering from nitrogen measures.

Here, an international agreement is linked to the nitrogen problem created by the Netherlands, and the EU is refused to take a position. This, and the ASML issue, make it clear once again that the New World Order is still a phenomenon unknown to the hack.

Rob de Wijk is Professor of International Relations and Security at Leiden University and founder of the Hague Center for Strategic Studies (HCSS). He writes weekly on international relations. Read his columns here.

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