The threat from China: will Biden be too nice to Beijing?

The threat from China: will Biden be too nice to Beijing?

If there’s one thing that, as outgoing director of national intelligence, I’d like to impress on the American public, it’s this, said John Ratcliffe in The Wall Street Journal: “The People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since the Second World War.” Beijing’s goal is clear: “to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically”, and “to reshape the world” in its own authoritarian image. 

Untroubled by “ethical boundaries”, it’s on a mission to steal our “research-and-development secrets”, our defence technology, and our companies’ intellectual property. Addressing this existential threat requires “a shift in thinking” by our intelligence officials, who remain preoccupied with Russia and counterterrorism. All of Washington must “work across partisan divides to understand the threat... and take action to address it”. But does President-elect Joe Biden grasp all this, asked the Washington Examiner. He seems “reluctant even to identify China for what it is”: a predatory communist dictatorship that aims “to supplant America as the global superpower”. He and his national security team offer only a vague “pledge for more-effective competition”. And his eagerness to play nicely isn’t lost on Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

On the contrary, Biden, who has called Xi “a thug”, is well aware of the threat China poses, said Thomas Colson on Business Insider. And given his “commitment to multilateralism and traditional alliances”, and his readiness to enlist European and Asian allies in presenting a united front, he can do far more to contain China than “Donald Trump’s go-it-alone approach” ever could. Besides, is China really that strong, asked David Von Drehle in The Washington Post. Its remarkable economic progress obscures signs “that this long-troubled nation” is losing momentum.

 A confident government wouldn’t lock up ethnic Muslims, “throttle the intellectual vibrancy of Hong Kong”, and subject its entire population to Orwellian surveillance. Such repression marks a government “afraid of its own people” – a fatal flaw in a world “where human capital is the indispensable resource”. Meeting the Chinese challenge will not be easy, but in its commitment to economic freedom and human rights, the West still “holds a winning hand”.