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Don’t expect Biden to be ‘tough on China’

Ben Weingarten warns Federalist readers to beware Biden administration efforts to recast the president’s approach toward China.

The Biden administration and its corporate media cheerleaders are at pains to tell you that career-long China kowtower Joe Biden is “tough on China.” But toughness can only be proven by action. Contra the official narrative, however, President Biden’s initial policies and those tasked with implementing and building upon them do not indicate strength. Rather, to America’s detriment, they signal a reversion to the status quo ante of weakness.

The media has trumpeted Biden administration rhetoric on three key China-related issues: the administration’s affirmation — with caveats — of the Trump administration’s designation of the Chinese Communist Party’s atrocities in Xinjiang as constituting “genocide”; its pledge of a “rock-solid commitment” to Taiwan; and its promise to maintain a “free and open” Indo-Pacific — again, with caveats. …

… Still, actions speak louder than words, and notwithstanding its continuation of certain policies, and convening of a Pentagon China Task Force too green to be judged, the Biden administration has undercut its rhetoric on several fronts.

It is recommitting America to the self-defeating Paris Climate Accord, on which peerless polluter China will almost surely cheat.

It is returning America to the CCP-dominated World Health Organization, for which it was rewarded with scorn by the lone American on the panel investigating the coronavirus’s origins.

It is extending the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty and excluding China from it, delaying implementation of an investment ban on certain companies suspected of working with the Chinese military.

It is barring executive branch employees from calling the Chinese coronavirus by its rightful name and withdrawing a Trump administration draft rule requiring schools to disclose financial ties to Trojan Horse Confucius Institutes. …

… Even more consequential than these policies will be the individuals to whom President Biden has entrusted his China strategy. Because personnel is policy, from “The Big Guy” on down, there are glaring weaknesses.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...