The West likes to argue that market capitalism and political liberalism go hand in hand; in reality, the former has proved far more powerful than the latter. Having made countries around the world economically interdependent, the West should not expect them to jeopardise their global links by taking political sides.
The war could end up pushing the EU closer towards the US, hardening the notion of China as a systemic rival. But if Russia wins the war, the distraction for the West would buy China time to get stronger.
Facing both US exceptionalism and Chinese assertiveness, Europe must vigorously defend its own security and other interests. At the same time, as a defender of liberal idealism, the EU wants to uphold the values and norms it historically and culturally shares with the US.
Tensions stem from the fact China’s success does not conform to beliefs derived from the evolution of Western modernisation. If the West can be guided by a spirit of engagement rather than containment, there will be no need to fear a rising China.