America’s big China question

America’s big China question

Resetting relations will be near the top of Joe Biden’s agenda — three new books look at the challenge

Before his death in 1994, Richard Nixon reflected that his much-acclaimed diplomatic masterstroke — the opening of US relations with China — might have been a mistake. “We may have created a Frankenstein,” the former US president said in an interview.

The comment represented an early inkling of what has become a deep foreboding. As Joe Biden takes office as America’s 46th president, a huge China challenge is sitting in his inbox.

The new president will have little time to read books. The militarisation of downtown Washington, a raging pandemic and a global tilt toward authoritarianism are just some of the issues on his plate. Nevertheless, his staff should take the time to delve into three perceptive guides — written from a western perspective — that provide insight and suggestions on how to grapple with China.