Biden Admin’s Weak China Strategy

Biden Admin’s Weak China Strategy
The U.S. flag flies from an embassy car outside China's Ministry of Defense in Beijing on June 24. (Greg Baker - Pool/Getty Images)
Anders Corr
6/17/2023
Updated:
6/22/2023
0:00
Commentary

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is bending over backward to extend a friendly hand to China. He may slip on the ice. Beijing’s proffered handshake, if it can be called one, looks frigid.

Blinken spoke to China’s foreign minister a few days before his upcoming visit, and the minister was already publicly shaming the United States for deteriorating relations.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang reportedly told Blinken on June 14: “The relationship between China and the United States has encountered new difficulties and challenges since the beginning of the year. It’s clear where the responsibility lies.”

Ouch.

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) reversal of blame and numerous affronts to the United States are daunting. Beijing wants to take over Taiwan, with force if necessary. It wants both the East and South China seas. It seeks naval footholds around the world and is threatening freedom of navigation. The Chinese regime steals as much as $600 billion of intellectual property annually from the United States. It owes trillions of dollars in compensation for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CCP continues to support Russia’s war against Ukraine, especially through energy imports. More than 70,000 Americans overdose and die annually from fentanyl—for which the regime supplies precursors to the Mexican drug cartels that ship the poison north.

Since then-U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022, Beijing has refused to engage in counternarcotics cooperation with U.S. authorities. That refusal makes the CCP culpable for U.S. fentanyl deaths. The intentionality on the part of Beijing—which tries to leverage American deaths for its own advantage by refusing to bring fentanyl traffickers to justice—is criminal.

Tragically, the Biden administration approaches the fentanyl problem through a strategy of weakness that incentivizes yet worse behavior from the CCP.

According to a June 13 report, the administration may be prepared to ease prior U.S. sanctions against an institute involved in the Uyghur genocide in order to get some semblance of counternarcotics cooperation from Beijing.

The report states that U.S. efforts to get counternarcotics cooperation “could include negotiations with China over the 2020 U.S. decision to put China’s Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science on the Commerce Department’s ‘entity list.’” The institute has violated Uyghur human rights, according to the United States, and listed entities are effectively barred from importing U.S. goods.

While loopholes in U.S. sanctions allow China’s sanctioned companies—and the institute—to simply import goods through intermediaries in China, Hong Kong, or elsewhere, it would be wrong for the administration to treat genocide sanctions as a bargaining chip.

The CCP’s genocide is so heinous that it’s arguably better to proceed down the path of decoupling from China than to act as if the CCP is an entity with whom we can truly negotiate in good faith. Beijing’s history of broken promises and ignored treaties means it certainly can’t be trusted.

Blinken’s trip to China is a mistake if it broadcasts weakness in the face of the CCP’s apparent lack of willingness to abide by its agreements, follow international law, or improve its observance of human rights.

According to defense analyst Rebekah Koffler, Blinken should cancel his trip.

“There’s no reason to talk with China right now,” she told Fox News on June 15. “Diplomacy does not work unless it is backed up by a serious combat power. But the truth is the Pentagon has let our combat readiness deteriorate.”

China has refused to meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, preferring as interlocutors the softer American officials, including Blinken, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Yellen is due to visit Beijing soon. The CCP has also welcomed a parade of U.S. corporate leaders, including Tesla’s Elon Musk, J.P. Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. It seems they all seek more market share and protection of their sunk costs in China. The meetings could empower Beijing and normalize its human rights abuse and threats against neighbors.

The CCP has, since its founding in 1921, acted as more of a terrorist organization than a political party or government. Until it radically improves its behavior, we should treat it as such and stop doing business as usual with China.

The United States has long had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. While we’ve occasionally broken the policy, likely incentivizing more terrorism against us, we should at least apply it consistently against our most dangerous adversary, the CCP.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).
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