Opinion: Half-measures will not do the trick in competition with China

China poses the greatest security challenge to the United States and our Democratic allies, but President Joe Biden too often adopts inadequate half-measures in the face of economic, diplomatic and military competition. It all plays too well in Beijing’s hand.

State Secretary Antony Blinken clarified that America oppose China’s mercantilist policies that weaken Western economies and stifle opportunities for our workers; its gross human rights violations against Muslims in Xinjiang and democracy advocates in Hong Kong; and the militarization of large swathes of the South China Sea and threatening actions against Taiwan.

It’s time to stop pretending that we can engage China or do business with a maniac fascist on most issues.

Biden seeks to endow the US economy with industrial policies embedded in his infrastructure plan. However, funding for the semiconductor industry and manufacturing pales in comparison to the government-wide support Beijing is giving to Huawei and other national champions of solar, electric vehicle and other industries.

Growing tensions between the United States and an increasingly powerful China have raised concerns that they could escalate into armed conflict. But as the WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains, there are more forces working against conflict rather than towards it. Photographic illustration: Todd Johnson

Industrial policy and Fed policy are the keys to tackling inequality and China


As China and Russia strengthen, Biden offers Pentagon a shrinking share of U.S. GDP that won’t keep up with inflation. And he bowed in defense to the far left, that prioritize climate change and social justice over national security, passing on Michele Flournoy for the secretary of defense.

Flournoy has the clearest view of transformative changes in assets and strategies needed to address risk posed by China in the Pacific, while Lloyd Austin showed little comparable understanding through his record, his words or his first actions in power.

Biden seeks a coalition of democracies. However, for the UK, Germany, France, Japan and other countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the disengagement and confrontation with China leads to losses of exports and jobs, as well as trade-offs between military spending and national spending.

America can’t expect Japan, Germany and others to forgo market opportunities in China, while Biden acts so protectionist towards friend and enemy look alike. Our most powerful option would be to offer our allies a Western free trade alliance in join the TPP and expeditiously conclude trade agreements with the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Biden’s many appeasements

Instead, Biden shuns new trade deals, while China builds a its own less formal trading block in the Pacific and is apply for membership in the PTP. Once done, Beijing could block US membership and freeze US exports.

Biden appeases Black Lives Matters, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other radical progressives by not explicitly rejecting the 1619 story and critical race theory. He supplies his administration with appointees who pass the ideological and identity and political litmus tests of the far left.

All this opens the field to Beijing’s aggressive foreign policy rhetoric who tells the world that America is making a false choice: Beijing offers a better system and a unifying path while America sows division and suspicion. Beijing argues what it does internally to Muslims and other minorities is its own business, and its treatment of Hong Kong and Taiwan is at its sovereign discretion.

Beijing repeatedly calls on the United States for our treatment of blacks. BLM, the OAC and the rest of the country-oriented far left should be happy for the help.

The good news is that Antony Blinken is a talented diplomat, well able to cultivate allies and focus them in private on the hypocrisy of the Beijing narrative. The bad news is that, like most of those coming out of Foggy Bottom’s ranks, he’s opposed to the public assertion of compelling but uncomfortable truths.

If this were in the 1920s, the way Beijing treats Muslims, Hong Kong and Taiwan would be internal affairs, but since World War II and the United Nations Charter– which China has signed and should respect – respect for human rights and self-determination are international obligations, not just matters of national sovereign discretion. For his actions, Biden and Blinken should label China a terrorist state, which would better frame the problem for our allies and impose strong sanctions.

Since the Truman administration, our national policy has been to correct injustices against black people and dismantle systemic racism while as Secretary Mike Pompeo has rightly said that China’s national policy amounts to genocide. The Biden administration has reiterated this observation, and now it’s up to Blinken to accuse that these acts make President Xi guilty of crimes against humanity.

World leaders who allow him to become Xi Jinping’s accomplices.

It’s time to stop pretending that we can engage China or do business with a maniac fascist on most issues. During this decade Beijing’s army may well cross the straits of Taiwan, and America must prepare for war or accept Chinese domination in the Pacific– and maybe all over the world.

Peter Morici is an economist and professor emeritus of commerce at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist.

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