Distrust and Verify Biden on China

Center for Security Policy Exclusive Analysis


America faces no greater external challenge than that of Communist China. Is the Joe Biden administration up to grappling with this ruthless and ambitious foe—one made all-the-more formidable by how inextricably intertwined it is with America?

Careful scrutiny of the record suggests not, belying the superficially “tough” rhetoric touted by President Biden’s sycophants in the corporate media.

Consider that Biden has been cheerleading Communist China’s rise to a greater extent, over a longer period, and at a higher level, than almost any American over the last 40 years.

The staffers with whom he has surrounded himself are members par excellence of the national security and foreign policy establishment that promoted this same project of, in effect, helping create our greatest enemy.

Both President Biden and many of the officials crafting his China strategy share troubling ties to Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked individuals and entities.

The Biden administration’s most influential supporters and substantial financial backers hail from the very Ruling Class—those at the commanding heights of Big Business, Big Tech, and the Corporate Media—that is most beholden to Communist China, increasingly envious of it, and supportive of its quest to attain superpower status and supplant America.

The Biden administration’s earliest policies perfectly reflect the personnel behind them, and the desires of their constituents. To wit, in just a month it has:

  • Recommitted America to the self-defeating Paris Climate Accord;
  • Returned to the CCP-captured World Health Organization, and pledged to lavish over $200 million in membership fees on it to demonstrate its “renewed commitment;”
  • Extended New START while excluding China from it;
  • Delayed implementation of an investment ban on companies suspected of working with China’s People’s Liberation Army—which seems to be of a piece with Biden’s stance as then-vice president on permitting Chinese companies access to American capital markets in spite of their violations of relevant rules and regulations;
  • Backed China’s choice for World Trade Organization Director-General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala;
  • Required executive branch employees to use China’s preferred name for the coronavirus to avoid offending Beijing;
  • Withdrawn a Trump administration draft rule that would have required schools to disclose ties to China’s Trojan Horse Confucius Institutes;
  • Shelved U.S. companies’ acquisition of TikTok, and asked the relevant federal courts—via the Justice Department—to put holds on reviews of Trump-era bans on that app, as well as WeChat;
  • Suspended an executive order that would bar the government’s purchase of equipment for the U.S. electric grid from adversaries, including China; and
  • Wavered on whether to keep Huawei on the Commerce Department’s Entity List.

Even if we were to set aside this litany of troubling evidence of weakness on China, taking the administration’s nebulous strategy at face value leads to no rosier a forecast.

In January 29 remarks at the United States Institute for Peace, National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan spoke at length about the administration’s China strategy. His words were consistent with prior remarks from other presumed architects of the Biden administration’s policy. Two recurring themes emerge from the statements of Biden’s Beijing brain trust: An emphasis on multilateralism, and an emphasis on strengthening America.

The former is as vague as the latter is sophistic.

Alliances and partnerships are obviously critical to any comprehensive strategy to counter Communist China. Biden administration officials chide their successors for pursuing an “America alone” strategy, but the fact of the matter is that it was the Trump administration that invigorated the “Quad”—the seminal alliance for countering China in the Indo-Pacific. The Biden administration has acknowledged its intention to build on it, which is heartening. We ought to hope too that it builds on the Trump administration’s Clean Network Initiative.

But the Biden administration is also poised to detract from any such efforts by re-legitimizing global institutions that work directly against America’s national interest, while furthering those of Communist China—by enabling the CCP to push its priorities, flout said institutions with impunity, and give America’s adversaries a veto over us.

The salient questions, when it comes to multilateralism are these: multilateralism with whom? To what end? In what venues? How will such efforts deviate from those of the Trump administration, and why are they likely to prove more propitious? Is multilateralism demonstrative of a refusal to boldly lead? Is it a euphemism for subordinating the national interest to globalism? As the Trump administration emphasized, alliances and partnerships exist to further our national interest. Arrangements that do not serve such ends ought to be reformed, or done away with, and replaced. The Biden administration has shown little appetite for such a reckoning.

It also bears noting the related headwinds that it has yet to address. NSA Sullivan has above all pinned his hopes on Europe as essential to combatting China. That ship seems to have sailed, given the China-European Union investment pact agreed to before the new year. What will the Biden administration do to ensure Europe is not lost?

And how will the Biden administration address the crisis of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)? As Alexander Gray, former Director for Oceania & Indo-Pacific in the Trump administration National Security Council, has highlighted, five countries comprising Micronesia have resolved to leave the PIF. Consequently, “the central multilateral institution in this critical region will lose the very voices most skeptical of Beijing’s malign activity and open to U.S. and allied leadership. A PIF without Micronesian voices is likely to be one far less interested in U.S. priorities and perspectives.”

On the second plank of the Biden administration’s China strategy, it is certainly imperative to strengthen America. But how to square this sentiment with the policies the Biden administration is pursuing: Open Borders, anti-energy environmentalism, repudiation of our history, imposition of Wokeism across the executive branch, and the threatened assault on “wrong thinkers.” NSA Sullivan’s calls for “domestic renewal,” and “refurbish[ing] the fundamental foundations of our democracy,” seem discordant with deeds that erode our sovereignty, undermine our economy, and divide our people.

In short, when it comes to Biden and China, Americans must distrust and verify.

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About Benjamin Weingarten

Ben Weingarten is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist and co-host of its media criticism program "BAD NEWS," Columnist at Newsweek, Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, Fellow of the Claremont Institute, co-host of the Edmund Burke Foundation's program "The NatCon Squad," and a Newsmax Contributor. He is the author of American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party (Bombardier, 2020). In 2019 he was awarded The Fund for American Studies' Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship, under the auspices of which he is writing a book on U.S.-China policy and its bold transformation under the Trump administration. Follow Ben on Twitter @bhweingarten.