Biden China Tracker

by Malcolm Riddell

'Antony Blinken interview: The secretary of state offers a window into Biden's foreign policy decisions'

The Washington Post

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David Ignatius | The Washington Post
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April 8, 2021
'Antony Blinken interview: The secretary of state offers a window into Biden's foreign policy decisions'
'Antony Blinken interview: The secretary of state offers a window into Biden's foreign policy decisions'
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David Ignatius | The Washington Post

BIG IDEA | ‘ “Our goal is not to contain China, hold China back, keep it down,” Blinken underlined.’

This short op-ed is worth reading beyond China as a window into Biden foreign policy. Wish Mr. Ignatius would publish a transcript in full.

‘Secretary of State Blinken outlined Biden’s worldview in a 45-minute interview this week, his first lengthy one-on-one discussion of administration foreign policy.’

  • ‘Nobody has worked longer with Biden on these issues, or knows the president’s mind better, so the interview offered a window on how foreign policy decisions will be made.’

‘As Secretary of State Antony Blinken describes President Biden’s approach to major foreign policy issues, you don’t sense a “doctrine” so much as a pragmatic mind-set:’

  • ‘Solve problems, communicate clearly with friends and adversaries, advance the “rules-based order” one step at a time.’

‘Biden’s approach to China is a similar mix of stressing U.S. interests and exploring areas of cooperation.’

  • ‘Blinken said the message Biden told him to deliver to the Chinese leaders in Anchorage last month was that Chinese actions in Xinjiang, or Hong Kong, or Taiwan, or the South China Sea aren’t simply internal matters, but threaten the rules-based international order.’
  • ‘ “Our goal is not to contain China, hold China back, keep it down,” Blinken underlined.’

‘In a world moving at “hyperspeed,” Biden has embraced very traditional ideas about American global leadership.’

  • ‘ “What he sees time and again is that . . . when we’re not leading,” then someone else, increasingly China, “tries to assert itself in our place” in a way that may harm American interests or values, Blinken said.’
  • ‘ “Or no one shows up,” resulting in “chaos and law of the jungle,” which also hurts the United States and its friends.’

‘Biden’s view of American leadership may expand to new forms of cooperation.’

  • ‘Blinken mentioned a coalition, initially centered on “fellow democracies” and including other key stakeholders, such as global technology companies.’
  • ‘The goal would be to solve “big ticket” problems that can only be addressed collectively, such as pandemics, climate change and disruptive technologies.’

‘Seeking a pragmatic balance between values and interests is a perennial concern of U.S. foreign policy.’

  • ‘Biden’s 21st-century understanding of the limits of U.S. military power, combined with a traditional emphasis on U.S. engagement, may differentiate him from predecessors Donald Trump and Barack Obama, who struggled with the same dilemma but had less experience.’

‘I came away from the conversation with the same image I’ve had since Biden took office — of a genial, white-haired guy driving a Ferrari.’

  • ‘Biden’s ideas about the world are rooted in the past, but they’re tempered by a lifetime of cutting deals — and a very modern version of the art of the possible.’

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Malcolm Riddell
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Biden Doctrine
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The Biden Doctrine and Its Discontents

President Biden has framed China as a threat both to the U.S. and the liberal world order.
7/15/2021

The Economist

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Biden Doctrine
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'What's Wrong with Biden’s new China doctrine'

‘Mr Biden’s aides invariably start any discussion of China strategy with the need to restore American greatness after decades of decline.’
7/15/2021

The Economist

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Biden Doctrine
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Part 2 | Joe Biden is determined that China should not displace America

‘Mr Biden’s aides invariably start any discussion of China strategy with the need to restore American greatness after decades of decline.’
7/15/2021

The Economist

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Biden Doctrine
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Part 1 | 'Joe Biden is determined that China should not displace America'

‘Biden’s emerging China strategy, while still protean, sounds of a kind with Mr Doshi’s prescription for “blunting and building”.’
7/15/2021

Center for Strategic and International Studies

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Pierre Morcos | Center for Strategic and International Studies
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G7 to D10
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'NATO & China's Challenges to Europe'

‘Even though China does not pose a direct military threat to NATO, contrary to Russia or terrorist groups, Beijing’s growing economic influence and diplomatic assertiveness in Europe coupled with its growing military relationship with Russia do have major implications for the transatlantic economy as well as its security.’
6/9/2021

CHINADebate

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Malcolm Riddell
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G7 to D10
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Biden Worries China Might Win

‘Biden has taken the vital first step of correctly diagnosing the strategic challenge facing the country.’ ‘Like Harry Truman at the start of the Cold War and George H. W. Bush at its end, the president now has an opportunity to create a framework for a new era.’
6/9/2021

The Washington Post

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Joe Biden | President of the United States
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G7 to D10
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Joe Biden: 'My trip to Europe is about America rallying the world’s democracies'

‘This is a defining question of our time: Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?’
6/9/2021

The Atlantic

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Thomas Wright | Brookings
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G7 to D10
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'Joe Biden Worries That China Might Win'

‘Biden worries that China is in competition for America, and not only that—they might win. This belief underpins the Biden doctrine.’
6/9/2021

The Atlantic Council

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G7 to D10
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'From the G7 to a D-10: Strengthening democratic cooperation for today's challenges'

‘A “Democratic-10” or “D-10” is aimed at rallying the world’s most powerful democracies around a common cause— advancing a rules-based democratic order based on shared values and common interests.’
6/9/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Postscript: China Doubts U.S. Allies Support

'Chinese leadership is also cynical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led Cold War-style bloc.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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China's ‘Anti-Hegemonist Bloc’

‘To counter U.S. coalition building, China has enhanced its diplomatic, economic, and military relationship with both Russia and Iran in recent months, resulting in the closest ties these countries have had in the post-Cold War era.’
5/30/2021

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Malcolm Riddell
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Biden’s China strategy
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What China Thinks About Biden's China Policy

And that is what makes Cheng Li’s ‘Biden’s China strategy: Coalition-driven competition or Cold War-style confrontation?' so valuable. Cheng has decades of close relationships with China’s leaders and high officials. They trust him not to attribute their comments and so speak freely and honestly to him. Cheng is the person I rely on most to convey China’s positions.
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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'Final Thoughts'

'Just as Brzezinski foresaw the two new contending blocs –– requiring greater “geostrategic skill” –– that are forming today, Kissinger has emphasized the unprecedented dangers that AI could introduce into a divided world.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Worse for China than Trump

‘Many Chinese now believe that the Biden administration could be more detrimental to U.S.-China relations than the Trump administration.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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The Trump Legacy

‘From Beijing’s perspective, the hawkish approach to China in the final year of the Trump administration revealed that the Trump team sought to defeat and destroy China in much the same way that the United States defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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'Biden’s China strategy: Coalition-driven competition or Cold War-style confrontation?'

‘Senior officials on the foreign policy team have frequently emphasized three “C” words: competition, cooperation, and confrontation.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Biden’s ‘Anti-China Bloc’

‘Throughout President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, his administration has largely continued the Trump administration’s hawkish approach toward China.’ ‘President Biden has also made international coalition building to confront the growing power and influence of China his primary foreign policy initiative.’ ‘Chinese leaders and the public are not convinced by the statements recently made by President Biden that these U.S.-led alliances are “not anti-Chinese” and that the United States is “not looking for confrontation” with China.’
5/30/2021

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC

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Wang Wenbin | Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
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Biden’s First 100 Days
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'China's Response to Biden's Speech'

‘It is natural for the two sides to have competition in some fields, but we should advocate fair competition, like competing with each other for excellence in a racing field, not beating each other on a wrestling arena.’
4/29/2021