Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
October 12, 2022
The document released today is required by statute and it was delayed for more than five months. The reason: war in Ukraine started on February 24 this year. It is important to realize the following key point so we can understand the context of this document.
The strategy is largely used for budgeting purposes and for national security agencies to get their priorities in line with the current administration. The White House last year released interim guidance that pivoted away from the Trump administration’s “America First” strategy and focused instead on global cooperation to take on China and fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
First of all, we should note that it is Biden’s National Security Strategy which reflects Biden’s approach to foreign policy. It is not a US National Strategy, and its remaining shelf-time could be two years! After 2024, the new US administration could pivot away from Biden’s strategy just like Biden pivoted away from Trump’s “Make America Great Again” strategy.
Secondly, this strategy is not complete and without much detail on how Biden would deal with the following major issues:
- War in Ukraine, risk of escalation.
- US-China Trade relation: Tariffs on Chinese goods established by his predecessor Donald Trump that cost U.S. importers billions.
- Global Energy Crisis: Russia’s actions, including fraying relations with long-time ally Saudi Arabia and India’s reliance on Russian energy.
- COVID-19 global pandemic.
- Global food security.
- Global Climate Change
- Nuclear proliferation: North Korea and Iran.
The list goes on and one…
Biden’s foreign policy approach is based on alliances with like minded democracies to counter the rising authoritarianism. It is easy to observe the “rising” of authoritarianism is partially due the “decaying” of democracies. Biden professes often that the US democracy is under attack! Under Biden the US politics is more divided and polarized than ever. US economy is in bad shape heading toward a recession, Europe is in recession already, China is slowing down. But Biden’s domestic policy is focused on spending more money. Money is important but money does not improve the soul or value of any nation.
The US mid-term election is only 25 days away and Biden is campaigning hard for the Democratics by attacking Republicans. It is most likely the Democratics will lose big on November 8 then Biden will be a lame duck. All Biden’s rhetoric, gaffes, and strategy will fade away.
Unfortunately, Biden’s strategy of containing China will cause permanently damages to the US-China relationship for the “decisive decade” and more.
Biden’s national security plan aims at China, Russia
Jarrett Renshaw and Michael Martina Wed, October 12, 2022 at 9:02 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The White House rolled out a long-delayed national security strategy on Wednesday that seeks to contain China’s rise while reemphasizing the importance of working with allies to tackle challenges confronting democratic nations.
The 48-page document, which was delayed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, includes no major shifts in thinking and introduces no major new foreign policy doctrines. Instead, it highlights the view that U.S. leadership is the key to overcoming global threats like climate change and the rise of authoritarianism.
Even after Russia’s invasion, China represents the most consequential challenge to the global order and the United States must win the economic arms race with the superpower if it hopes to retain its global influence, the strategy says.
“The People’s Republic of China harbors the intention and, increasingly, the capacity to reshape the international order in favor of one that tilts the global playing field to its benefit, even as the United States remains committed to managing the competition between our countries responsibly,” national security advisor Jake Sullivan said in outlining the policy.
He said Washington must manage the China relationship while dealing with transnational challenges including climate change, food insecurity, communicable diseases, terrorism, the energy transition, and inflation.
Biden has yet to resolve some key foreign policy debates, including tariffs on Chinese goods established by his predecessor Donald Trump that cost U.S. importers billions, and faces new ones brought into high relief by Russia’s actions, including fraying relations with long-time ally Saudi Arabia and India’s reliance on Russian energy.
Daniel Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia under former President Barack Obama, said the strategy was consistent with Biden’s stated priorities of domestic renewal, strengthening alliances and democratic institutions, and balancing cooperation and competition.
“However, during its 21-month gestation period, the strategy has clearly shifted to place overwhelming emphasis on competition with China,” he said, noting that while it pledges to avoid looking at the world solely through the prism of strategic competition, “competition with China suffuses every chapter.”
Russel said the paper pledged to build the broadest coalition of nations to address global challenges, but it would be difficult to do this without China and there was no indication how such cooperation might be secured.
A lone reference in the document to North Korea underscored limited U.S. options to contain its nuclear and missile programs.
This was striking, Russel said, “not only because it passes so quickly past a persistent and existential threat, but also because it frames the strategy as ‘seeking sustained diplomacy toward denuclearization,’ when North Korea has so convincingly demonstrated its utter rejection of negotiations.”
The administration was supposed to have sent the strategy to Congress when it submitted its proposed budget on March 28.
Sullivan said the Ukraine crisis did delay but did not “fundamentally alter” Biden’s foreign policy approach.
However, he added: “I do believe that it presents in living color the key elements of our approach – the emphasis on allies, the importance of strengthening the hand of the democratic world, standing up for fellow democracies and for democratic values.”
Biden global strategy tackles China, Russia, domestic needs
AAMER MADHANI Wed, October 12, 2022 at 10:47 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House laid out a national security strategy Wednesday aimed at checking an ascendant China and a more assertive Russia even as it stressed that domestic investments are key to helping the U.S. compete in the critical decade ahead.
The administration’s first national security strategy, a document required by statute, stresses the need for a foreign policy that balances the interests of global allies with those of middle-class Americans.
“We understand that if the United States is to succeed abroad, we must invest in our innovation and industrial strength, and build our resilience, at home,” the strategy states. “Likewise, to advance shared prosperity domestically and to uphold the rights of all Americans, we must proactively shape the international order in line with our interests and values.”
In broad brushstrokes, the strategy sketches a “decisive decade” for national security, as President Joe Biden faces an arguably more complicated world than when he took office 21 months ago in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century.
“We’re in the early years of a decisive decade,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a speech at Georgetown University to spotlight release of the document. “The terms of our competition with the People’s Republic of China will be set. The window of opportunity to deal with shared challenges like climate change will narrow drastically, even as the intensity of those challenges grows. So we need to grasp our moment.”
Biden is dealing with a nearly eight-month Russian war in Ukraine that is wracking the global economy, increasingly assertive action by China toward the self-ruled island of Taiwan, mounting nuclear concerns in Iran and North Korea, and strained relations with the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
United Nations voices concern over National Security Law in Hong Kong