Annalena Baerbock, the leading contender to replace Angela Merkel in Germany’s upcoming election, has called for “dialogue and toughness” when it comes to the issue of defending democratic issues and human rights. Baerbock called for the EU to use it’s economic might to block Chinese goods made with forced labor and avoid communication technologies that endanger European Security. She stated in a recent interview that “we are currently in a competition between systems: authoritarian powers versus liberal democracies” and even went on to state that China’s investment in infrastructure and energy grids in Central Asia to Europe is “brutal power politics”. Baerbock also stated that the European Union must act more accordingly to it’s own values, such as using a more recent investment accord between Beijing and Brussels to address more strongly the issue of China putting its Uyghur minority into forced labor.

How should the Biden administration react to Germany taking a tougher stance on China? If Annalena Baerbock is elected as Germany’s new chancellor, there is a good chance that she will follow on her word to take a tougher stance on Beijing. That being said, the Biden Administration should follow suit and also take a tougher stance on China to support their NATO ally by continuing to call China out on their human rights abuses and not allowing communication technologies, like Huawei, to develop in the US as it is a national security interest.

Miguel Terrazas