US President Joe Biden has now said that his administration would take all necessary steps to contain China, which obviously means containing China’s expansionist policies, trade strategies, etc. This also means that Biden has virtually said that he would not permit China to overtake the US and emerge as a superpower of the world, pushing down the USA to a second position.
The officials in the Biden administration have further clarified that the Biden administration would follow the same policy against China, as adopted by former President Trump. This indicates that Biden feels that Trump’s approach towards China was correct. He has not cared to say this during the election campaign when he bitterly accused Trump on various counts including his China policy. Certainly, Trump and his supporters would be laughing at their sleeve now.
In any case, it is now clear that the hostility between the US and China would continue, though one is not sure whether Biden would be able to maintain the level of intensity that Trump could do in his China policies.
The question now uppermost in the mind of the world observers is whether Biden would be successful in containing China effectively.
All said and done, the ground reality is that Biden and his administration and China baiters around the world have to necessarily recognize that China is now in a stronger position than the USA for all practical purposes on various fronts. In all likelihood, China is unlikely to change its approach and would not be cowed down by a threat from Biden. China would try to act cleverly in a variety of ways, even without risking a major military confrontation with the USA.
If Biden were to be successful in confronting China, total support from West European countries is necessary, The economy of the West European countries have been severely affected by the COVID 19 crisis and these countries need strong trade relationships with China to prevent further deterioration in their economy and sustain their growth profile. . China is the largest market for European countries today and the US cannot replace China by offering an equally widespread market outlet for trade to European countries.
Given the fact that the economy of the US is still in recession in contrast to that of the Chinese economy which is now registering strong growth, the US is in no position today to challenge China on the trade front to the level that would destabilize the Chinese economy. If Biden would impose tariffs on Chinese products in the way that the Trump administration did, China would find Europe to be a favorable market outlet for it.
Further, there are substantial investments by US-based companies in China and Biden may even face resistance to anti-China policies by the US-based business houses.
Today, the dependence of China on the US and other countries on the technology front is much less than what it was a decade or so back.
Given such circumstances, it remains to be seen whether Biden would be able to get the type of support from the European Union that is required to effectively confront China.
One wonders whether President Biden has carried out his homework properly before expressing his determination to confront China.
To succeed in a war, whether trade war or military war, one needs to assess the weakness and limitations, instead of straight away jumping into the fray which amounts to taking a calculated risk.
China does not have the luxury of democratic conditions, and utmost secrecy would be maintained in China and people or media would not be allowed to criticize. On the other hand, Biden is leading a democratic country with a hostile opposition and media that more often than not indulge in criticism than praise, irrespective of the merit of the case, just to maintain the sensational effect and business interests. In all likelihood, the media which was hostile to Trump are unlikely to be less hostile to Biden, as hostility to the administration is the central focus of US media.
With lukewarm support from Britain and European Union, Biden needs to buy peace in the USA, to succeed in his confrontation with China. In such circumstances, it is surprising that Biden is maintaining an element of confrontation with Trump, which prevents the development of a conducive domestic political climate, which is absolutely necessary for Biden at this stage. This raises suspicion whether Biden has a holistic strategy now.
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