Generally one considers European strategists to be among the smartest there are. So it is with some disappointment that I notice that they are way behind the curve.
Standard concerns are:
According to this view, US motives are to encourage Europe to switch to US gas from Russian gas. Alternatively, the US is seeking to mortally wound Russia. Or both. Then some criticize the US strategists because they are taking on Russia and China at the same time. Rather critics suggest that US should have sought to divide Russia from China not to make joint enemies.
This is a serious error and undervalues US strategic goals. In attacking China the target is not Russia but Europe. The greatest risk for the US is for Europe to switch primary allegiance to China. What can be done to prevent this? NATO existed because of the Soviet Union. Michael Pillsbury (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEchkn3unl8 ) during a debate at the Oxford Union accidentally let the cat out of the bag. The old Soviet Union he said quoting an old cliche, was better known as Upper Volta with rockets. But the purpose of NATO was to defend Europe against the Soviet Union which he jokingly asides was never a threat to anything. Clearly the Soviet Union, having suffered the loss of 26 million during WW2 was fearful of the West. Pillsbury, a well known hawk who played keys roles in past aggressive US policy such as sending stingers to Afghan Mujahadeen is nobody’s fool. The Cold War forced Europe to accept US direct hegemony. Without the Soviet threat all sorts of options might have been considered by Europeans..
Similarly today. This so-called Ukraine crisis will fold Europe closely into NATO with possibly deteriorating relations with Russia. If Europe becomes dependent on the US umbrella in a conflict with Russia it will loose all ability to pivot to China. The hope of the US hawks is to bring Russia to its knees and then exit Russia from co-operating with China. Meanwhile Europe’s room for manoeuvre will have disappeared in the drowning relationship with Russia. Without conflict NATO looses its reason for existence.
Rather than this being evidence of the US adopting a simply misguided policy, Pillsbury et al have thought this policy through. Pillsbury explicitly let the other cat out of the bag when he said that he understood that the people of Europe did not care if the US lost its place as the global hegemon, but the US will not tolerate this. If Europe does not care if the US looses its hegemonic status then it can happily pivot to China. This is Pillsbury recognising and admitting the quandary: How to prevent Europe from pivoting to China when China is not a threat to Europe? There we have it: use Russia to create a threat that keeps Europe in NATO. The moment that Europe makes friends with Russia and pivots to China then US hegemony collapses almost instantaneously. This would not be a slow decline but a falling off a precipice. This much Puillsbury can clearly see. Can European strategists?