Monday’s meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which took place in the shadow of the G-20 economic conference in Indonesia, revealed troubling aspects of a coming new world order Chinese style and just how wrongheaded and weak Biden is when it comes to understanding the communist Chinese threat.
The first indication of a problem was the optics when the two presidents came face-to-face at the summit.
Biden was seen smiling with his hand extended as he anxiously walked toward his Chinese counterpart who by contrast appeared dour, almost dismissive of the American. The scene could be likened to that of a young subordinate who just saw his boss and hurried his pace to welcome him, while the boss looked down his nose at the young upstart.
It’s safe to say that the scene revealed much about the two men and our emergent relations as global powers. Xi has just came from the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress which granted him an unprecedented third term as chairman, making him the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong. Xi intends to aggressively press toward his goal of world dominance and as he told the 20th Congress, “the East [China] is rising while the West [the U.S.] is declining.”
By comparison, Biden came to the Xi meeting weakened by the likely loss of his party’s majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and a host of troubling issues at home including a deeply divided citizenry and a military arguably in decline.
Besides the optics at the summit, what Biden said at the post-meeting press conference on Monday evening demonstrates his priorities and failure to truly understand the Chinese leadership’s intentions.
Biden claimed his conversations with President Xi were “open and candid” and his “intentions and priorities” were made clear to the dictator.
Further, he indicated that he told Xi that he “would defend American values, human rights and compete vigorously,” and he promised the communist leader that America’s China policy hasn’t changed regarding the issue of Taiwan’s status.
Biden failed to mention whether he pressed the Chinese leader on important issues such as the regime’s maligned economic behaviors like its failure to abide by trade agreements, its military aggression in the South China Sea, the supply of precursors used to make fentanyl which annually kills tens of thousands of Americans, the origins of COVID, the rampant stealing of our intellectual property, and whether it will dial back on its well-documented human rights violations.
The president allowed only four questions after his remarks at the press briefing. He was asked whether a Cold War with China is avoidable. “There need not be a new cold war” with China, said Biden. Rather, we are in “competition” with China. That response ignores the contrary history of “unrestricted warfare” China is waging against the West using all Chinese instruments of power such as economic, military, ideological, geopolitical and technological.
On the issue of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province, Biden said he does not anticipate “any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan,” even though two weeks ago President Xi vowed to “reunify” the mainland with Taiwan and he would “never promise to renounce the use of force.”
Biden said he “made it clear” to President Xi that our Taiwan policy “has not changed at all.” Yet, on multiple occasions over the past two years, the president confused that policy by promising to defend Taiwan against any communist assault. Yet, Biden insisted that Xi “understood exactly what I was saying.”
Perhaps most distressing is the president’s promise to set up more meetings with Chinese officials to discuss our differences. He took the same approach a year ago in June with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and that didn’t end so well, ask the Ukrainians.
Unfortunately, President Biden is out of his element when dealing with tyrants like Putin and Xi. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said about Biden, he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Biden’s actions regarding China, we have good reason to be skeptical and arguably fearful.