Biden lacks strategic clarity on China

Biden lacks strategic clarity on China

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has been wrong on China almost his entire career. Will he finally get it right after being sworn in as president? Biden’s policy will help shape security across the Indo-Pacific region, including China’s behavior.

It is no exaggeration to say that international policy toward China has for decades been shaped largely by one power — the United States. From Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, a succession of U.S. presidents aided China’s rise, including its integration in international institutions — from the United Nations Security Council to the World Trade Organization. And other countries followed the American lead in outsourcing manufacturing to China and building closer bonds with that communist giant.

It is Donald Trump’s presidency that began a fundamental shift in U.S. policy.

In a major speech on China in July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Nixon once said he feared he had created a ‘Frankenstein’ by opening the world to the Chinese Communist Party” (CCP). Trump himself has acknowledged that the U.S. “created a monster.”