Thirty years of independence from communism and the Soviet Union have also meant 30 years of fear of a Russian invasion for Central and Eastern European countries. As a result, these countries have spent three decades consolidating relations with the United States and NATO — both of which they see as possible saviors in an existential crisis.

The United States has become the number one partner of many Central and Eastern European countries. Ties with Washington are the bedrock of their defense and diplomatic strategies. Not surprisingly, it has become natural for policymakers in these countries to be very sensitive to anything that could jeopardize their relations with the United States.

That is why the only three countries with which Washington has signed memoranda of understanding targeting Huawei are Romania, Poland, and Estonia. Regional policymakers are less concerned about the possible threat from Huawei, and more concerned that failing to side with the United States on this issue would risk losing Washington’s support in a crisis with Russia. China and Huawei find themselves caught in the geopolitical realities of the region: They have failed to understand the “Russian factor” and the loyalty that Central and Eastern Europe have toward the United States and NATO, which has been repeatedly highlighted over the years.


This article has been published by Andreea Brînză, Vice President of RISAP, in War on the Rocks. You can read the full article on the War on the Rocks website.