It is hard to explain what happened in Anchorage, Alaska between the Americans and the communist Chinese during the meetings held March 18 and 19.
Clearly this is not how previous grand and historical meetings between Great Powers have normally been described (and there were other descriptions even more sophomoric than the one I cited). But these are not normal times.
How Did We Fumble?I was and still am cautiously optimistic for the Blinken Team. In many ways they appear to be President Trump and Dr. Peter Navarro with the sharp edges sanded down, or so that’s the way in which they have presented themselves.
What went wrong in the preparation and execution of the event? I think it’s clear that the overall American Delegation was unprepared for the full scale, high energy frontal assault of the CCP Wolf Warrior modus operandi.
I’ve said it a number of times and I don’t know how more clearly to explain this. The CCP apparatus including the Ministry of State Security, People’s Liberation Army, and all extensions of the Civil Military fusion of the CCP read and analyze everything, I repeat everything we publish and say in public.
They analyze it ad nauseum for every possible nuance, indicator, and double triple Clausewitzean/Sun Tzu fake out trickery. I’ve been cornered by CCP operatives at the end of public speaking presentations and the relentless questions, attempting to follow every possible vein of meaning are fatiguing and approaching ridiculous.
But that’s what they do, and we don’t. Unfortunately, our delegations are very busy, inwardly focused on American legacy media talking heads, and so confident of our talking points and positions that we routinely fail to even glance at what the CCP is communicating publicly in advance.
How Do We Recover?What happened in Anchorage was a debacle. We need to be honest. Secretary Blinken did magnificent work to attempt to stand his ground, but it was not enough. The entire Biden Team however needs to regroup and learn from this beat down.
The keys to staring down the CCP aggressiveness are resolve, preparation, and deterrence. The key to these keys is the public messaging and presentation style. This is what Secretary Pompeo was masterfully doing and in many ways Secretary Blinken had telegraphed he would continue, but with perhaps a different demeanor.
The Biden Team needs to not only fully embrace the Trump policies but also the Trump demeanor, as difficult as that is to swallow. The CCP despises weakness and the overly nuanced, over sophisticated, and overly abstract policy references of the Biden Team. This behavior and communication style of the Biden Team needs to be replaced with clear, unambiguous communication. Out with the Chamberlainisms and John F. Kerryisms. In with the Trumpisms.
From this point forward, the Blinken Team (as the direct representative of the president on these matters) needs to fully “take off the gloves” and accelerate aggressively all elements of resolve, preparation, and deterrence.
The messaging needs to be clear that the United States will fully use financial and trade matters as a big stick toward the CCP. The United States still dominates the world’s financial scene, we need to start (or re-start) acting like it, in an unashamed manner.
We need to fully withhold access to the capital markets and aggressively pursue and block any devious end arounds by China, enabled by their Wall Street allies, to escape and evade the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The firm establishment of the “Quad” (India, Japan, Australia, and the United States) as a political, economic, and military alliance needs to be officially codified, with alacrity.
And we need an unambiguous announcement, from the President, Taiwan will be defended, asymmetric warfare by China will be met in kind, and the CCP is a trans-national criminal organization that will be blocked at every attempted move. Only by this can we disrupt the pathway to conflict that the CCP has already initiated.