The president and his dangerous foreign policy
Joe Biden pretends to not know China’s goal of global domination
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President Biden met last week with China’s President Xi Jinping. In a stunning statement demonstrating the vacuity of his strategy with regard to China, Biden described the purpose of the meeting: “We’ve just got to figure out where the red lines [i.e. non-negotiables] are and what are the most important things to each of us, going into the next two years.”
This statement is stunning for any number of reasons, but three are worth our reflection here. First, Biden seems not concerned with the long-term U.S. national interest. His horizon is just the last two years of his presidential administration. Second, despite what Biden says, the United States does not need to re-evaluate its priorities to appease China. Third, we don’t need a picnic with Xi to learn what is important to China: Xi’s statements and actions, such as recently setting up a war cabinet, his crackdown on Hong Kong, and his statements on Taiwan tell us all we need to know.
Great presidents concern themselves with the long arc of purposeful American power. Ronald Reagan wanted to win the Cold War and did everything in his power to do so. Harry S. Truman made tough, unpopular decisions that resulted in long-term policies that advanced international security. Washington, Adams, Lincoln, and others did the same.
Not so Joe Biden. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA chief Robert Gates observed, “Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Maybe the reason that Biden has been wrong so often is because his horizon has been limited to surviving the next U.S. electoral cycle. The core of his thinking is simply, “How do I get what I need to win the next election?”
A purposeful U.S. president would call upon the national security establishment to counter the growing threat of China’s malevolent influence on world affairs, from the bullying of our allies in the Far East, to China’s horrific human rights violations against Christians, Muslims, and ethnic minorities, to its subtle cyber-war on American institutions.
Biden has not done so. Instead, he pretends not to know what China wants.
The second issue, American priorities, are also not ambiguous, uncertain, or unknown. The Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy, finally published after numerous delays in October 2022, argues that “a competition is underway between the major powers to shape” the world. That means competition between the United States and authoritarian rivals such as Russia and, especially, China.
Biden’s National Security Strategy also recognizes the imperative of conserving and advancing the Western rule-based order protected by the United States since World War II, emphasizing “self-determination, territorial integrity, and political independence … countries must be free to determine their own foreign policy choices, information must be allowed to flow freely, [and] universal human rights must be upheld…”
Biden needs to read his own Strategy. At least in the language cited, it points in the right direction. Indeed, nearly every major Democrat or Republican president of the past century would agree: We must protect our allies and those who support this common-good vision of the world. Thus, Biden does not need to meet with President Xi in order to re-calibrate American interests and values.
That takes us to the third point: Does Joe Biden really not understand what President Xi wants? Impossible.
President Biden’s national security team has surely read the most recent issue of the world’s most prestigious foreign policy magazine, Foreign Affairs, with the cover story, “The World According to Xi Jinping: What China’s Ideologue in Chief Really Wants.” The article rightly notes that “Xi’s published writings on [Communist] theory are vastly more extensive than those of any other Chinese leader since Mao.”
We have a library of what Foreign Affairs calls “Xi’s deepest political convictions.” These include ideological harmony—at almost any cost—at home in China. It means cracking down on any form of dissent. It means building a powerful surveillance state to control its own citizens, scaling up military spending, and purifying the populace from foreign influences (e.g. Christians, Uighurs). It also means increasingly deploying economic and political power abroad, whether by cowing its small neighbors or actively seeking to destabilize Taiwan.
Xi is not just a man of rhetoric. All of these priorities have been translated into action, from the Hong Kong crackdown and Uighur concentration camps, to countless billions of dollars in industrial espionage and a massive arms buildup. Xi’s China is on the rise and it is dangerous to global security.
Joe Biden says that there need not be a new Cold War, but as WORLD Opinions expert Will Inboden recently observed, President Xi is an “heir of Marx and Lenin” declaring a new Cold War. The United States and its allies will only be safe when we look at what Xi says and does and respond to these unprovoked attacks on the interests and values of the U.S. and its allies.
We know the truth. Why does the President of the United States pretend not to know?
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