Joe Biden has had a curious relationship in his mind with China for years. Aside from the Democrats’ overblown fear of Vladimir Putin and all things Russia (“Collusion,” Hunter Biden laptop, et al.) Biden’s sometimes-seeming defense of the dictator Xi Jinping and the Communist Nation has been “interesting” at best, troubling at worst.
Toss Secretary of State Antony Blinken into the mix and it gets really confusing.
Such was the case on Sunday with Blinken’s wide-ranging interview on 60 Minutes with host Norah O’Donnell. In addition to discussing winding down the war in Afghanistan, the Biden Border Crisis, the interview was focused on recent Chinese aggression, China’s growing economy and related growing influence, and whether the Communists in Beijing pose a threat to the United States — and the world.
In other words, the question of is “China going to eat our lunch?” We know what Joe thinks. At least along the campaign trail in May 2019, when his response to the mere suggestion was a sarcastic “C’mon, man.”
The CBS News website‘s attempt to frame the Blinken interview was laughable in its effort to portray not only the State Department but literally the “international order” in total ruins after four years of the Trump presidency:
To determine how the United States will deal with China’s growing influence, Mr. Biden has chosen one of his closest aides as secretary of state. It falls to Antony Blinken to rebuild a depleted and demoralized State Department, repair U.S. alliances and champion what diplomats call “the rules-based international order” — the written and unwritten code that governs how nations deal with one another. Rules that, he says, are now threatened by China.
Blinken suggested that China is “the one country in the world” that has the capacity to “challenge the rules-based order that we care so much about and are determined to defend…” But:
“It is the one country in the world that has the military, economic, diplomatic capacity to undermine or challenge the rules-based order that we care so much about and are determined to defend. But I want to be very clear about something. And this is important. Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down. It is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and— and defend it.”
Can someone smarter than me explain how those two statements are not likely mutually exclusive? “Determined to defend the so-called “rules-based order” (please) that “China is posing a challenge to” — but “our purpose is not to hold China back or keep it down.”
A perfect example of why Democrats don’t do foreign policy well at all if there ever was one.
If you listened to Secretary Anthony Blinken on 60 minutes tonight. It’s clear, Beijing has put Washington on checkmate. If I were Taiwan, I would fold my hand. https://t.co/s0stmoHhzo #FreeBritney @laralogan
— Dr. lincoln kamau (@KamaulincolnM) May 2, 2021
Even Norah O’Donnell seemed confused by Blinken’s seemingly contradictory comments:
“I know you say the goal is not to contain China, but have you ever seen China be so assertive or aggressive militarily?”
“No, we haven’t,” Blinken admitted.
“I think what we— what we’ve witnessed over the last— several years is China acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad. That is a fact.”
Not only is it a fact; it’s a “yuuge” understatement — and Blinken knows it.
China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs as we speak — as opposed to “having taken place,” as Blinken attempted to suggest in the interview that, perhaps, China’s genocide was past tense. China’s campaign to crush democracy in Hong Kong is working. Blinken knows that, as well. I was going to say “So does Biden” but who knows what “China isn’t going to eat our lunch” Joe knows?
And then the question, as posed by O’Donnell: “What is China’s goal?”
Blinken, who just moments previously said, “I want to be very clear about something, our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down,” incredulously responded:
“I think that over time, China believes that it— it— it can be and should be and will be the dominant— country in the world.”
Stutter much, Mr. Secretary?
After saying the goal is not to “hold it back,” Secretary of State Blinken says China’s goal is to dominate the world pic.twitter.com/fgFibFoP7O
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 3, 2021
I don’t profess to be an expert on foreign policy — let alone an expert on the intricacies U.S.-China policy, but Gordon Chang, China expert and author of the widely-known book “The Coming Collapse of China,” is. And what does Chang think?
In a word, Chang says, the Chinese “don’t respect” Biden.
“They don’t respect him. We know this from voices that we’ve heard from Beijing – most infamously Professor Di Dongsheng of Renmin University, who … was very explicit about what Chinese officials and others thought of Biden.
“Basically, he said that Beijing thought they could push Biden around. We got a sense of that … when Chinese aircraft entered into Taiwan’s Air Defense Zone.”
And Donald Trump, according to Chang?
“China left the U.S. alone during the Trump years. They were very concerned about what Trump would do.
“Trump was unpredictable. China can deal with hostile leaders, but they have particular problems dealing with uncertainty. And Trump, to them, was uncertain — which is the reason why there was a relatively calm during the four years of Trump’s presidency.
“I think we’re going to see Beijing go after Biden in ways that they are really going to scare the world and terrify the Biden administration.”
Chang shared similar thoughts with Fox News host Tucker Carlson in December.
China expert Gordon Chang warns that the Chinese Communist Party is going to “push a President Biden around.”
“I know that they are in anticipation, licking their chops, about what’s going to happen from January 20 on.” pic.twitter.com/tsoF4dzKkF
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 8, 2020
What could possibly go wrong?
It doesn’t take a foreign policy expert to know that the world’s bullies respect strength and capitalize against weakness. We’ve seen it in the Middle East for decades, the former Soviet Union and Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe, North Korea, and wherever bad guys intent on cause trouble exist.
Here’s the thing. Gordon Chang can make the observations about Joe Biden and China.
But after having watched Antony Blinken’s weak interview with Norah O’Donnell, I feel more than qualified to make the same observations about his mindset on China and the Biden administration’s policy towards the most threatening bully on the planet.
That— is an unsettling thought, indeed.