China’s been making some very bold moves as of late and there’s little doubt that it has to do with President Joe Biden’s milquetoast position when it comes to dealing with the communist nation. It’s a take that former Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates thinks Biden is getting very wrong, and something that Trump got very right.
Gates appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview with Anderson Cooper where he had nice things to say about Biden’s “integrity” but didn’t softball it about the president’s foreign policy decisions, especially on China.
“I think he’s gotten a lot wrong,” Gates said, making it clear he wasn’t just talking about Biden’s years as president either.
“He opposed every one of Ronald Reagan’s military programs to contest the Soviet Union,” elaborated Gates. “He opposed the first Gulf War. That list goes on. Now I will say that in the Obama administration, he and I obviously had significant differences over Afghanistan. But he and I did agree in our opposition to the intervention in Libya, and frankly on issues relating to Russia and China.”
Gates said that when it came to Afghanistan, Biden’s withdrawal was a mistake and that it’s unlikely Biden will ever admit this, as no president ever really admits to their mistakes. Regardless, he thinks Biden can recover from the Afghanistan debacle through the submarine deal between America, the UK, and Australia, which will make it clear to China that the west is a clear and present danger should China decide to go on the offensive in the pacific.
Gates believes that China is the greatest threat to the United States both economically and militarily, and believes that it was Trump that got it right when it came to dealing with the Chinese:
I think this is a place where President Trump got it right. He basically awakened Americans, and I would say especially the business community, to a China that — the assumptions about which we had gotten wrong. And the assumption for 40 years was that a richer China would be a freer China, and that’s clearly not going to happen. But there’s another piece of this puzzle with China, and that is the economic side. Chinese now manage something like three dozen major ports around the world. They are the biggest trading partner of more than half of South America. They are everywhere. And what are we doing in these non-military arenas to compete with the Chinese?
Interestingly, while Gates did say that he and Biden tended to agree on China during the Obama years, he did not elaborate on whether he believes Biden is getting it right today. However, his pointing out that Trump did get it right is a clear indicator that the current sitting president isn’t measuring up.
Earlier Monday, RedState reported that China launched a hypersonic missile capable of delivering a nuclear payload to anywhere in the world, alarming analysts and causing Republican Mike Gallagher of the armed services committee to call Biden’s approach to China “complacent.”
“We will lose the New Cold War with Communist China within the decade,” warned Gallagher.
This latest move from China, as well as its clear threats against Taiwan, have tested Biden’s mettle against the communist country, but Biden’s approach has been to try to talk things out, differing from Trump’s approach which was to show strength if anyone got out of line.
With China, this may be the best approach as it’s clear that the threat posed by China will only be lessened if they see the might of the United States and its allies. These comments may be Gates’ way of dropping hints to Biden on how to proceed with China, but the question is whether Biden will have the mettle to do it.