One of the largest questions around what would happen when President Trump left the White House was how could foreign policy change. Since the 2016 election American relations with China have steadily decreased with the trade war and increased military presence in the Asia Pacific. For its part China has also changed during those years. With concerns about ethnic minorities and freedom expression in a general sense increasing. The outbreak and failure to contain Covid19 has also damage relations with many different nations.
China has a habit of testing the resolve and attitude of a new President. So it was little surprise when China upon Joe Biden being made president made a bold play to see what his reaction was. Taiwan has increasingly been made a high tension zone and the test was a airspace violation. While this is clearly not intended to start a conflict, each one of these incidents contain the possibility of a mistake that leads to conflict or serious consequences.
Joe Bidens reaction is telling.
Not Really Important:
While the official statements sound good. They fail to note the increasing amount of pressure and threat that Taiwan and its people are coming under. These bulk standard replies that are wheeled out by American officials do not discourage actions that have already occurred. This warning if it even reaches that level, clearly did not discourage China from doing the flight. While better then nothing, China’s own statement about the island are increasingly extreme. American language was increasing as well under the Trump administration. While the media reported that this tone increase came from America it was meeting the increased aggression in the Chinese tone when it came to Taiwan. Since Biden has come to the Whitehouse the bulk government answers has been gone back to, as threats continue to be made. This is a step back and adds risk to Taiwan.
Yet the Biden WhiteHouse has shown that while not following a American First agenda it is not interested in problem solving. In the Middle East there is already talk about leaving America behind to get the critical peace plan started under Donald Trump done, before the new administration gridlocks it behind ideological commitments that delay peace. A sharp domestic focus has been embraced by the Biden camp apart from rich globalist groups that the administration has come crawling back to after Trump exited, or asserted independence against them. For whatever reason a lot of critical geo political situations have just been forgotten or ignored as he starts his term.
The Boldness To Challenge
America is the most powerful nation on earth. Despite some growing challengers it retains this place. Yet learning from history when a group or nation believes that America is not willing to use that strength that problems arise. Japan notice the massive potential in the United States yet it believe the nation was too lazy to actually want to do something. China knows that direct military force is likely to trigger deep military plans that are around since the Cold War. However if it economically attacks and uses everything short of a bullet then the American reaction is likely timid. This belief has been fed by decades of policymakers choices when it came to China.
Donald Trump changed this. Suddenly the anger of the American people to Chinese actions that hurt the nation had a powerful voice that could actually get things done. If the nation did not play fair, Trump did not care if they had not invaded or shot anyone. His administration was combative on every single front of the geopolitical struggle. Certainly due to other issues and polices some of the ideas did not work out. Yet there is no doubt that China found itself under pressure in many areas when compared to the small timid attempts by the Obama administration.
Biden appears to not be focused on the region. Looking at how he has treated Canada it also appears he is not good at building trust with allies. Biden has the ability to call out China for their emissions and bring his base along the struggle against China. Yet by banning calling Covid19 the Chinese virus and offering lukewarm negative statements, it is clear he is not interested.
If Joe Biden wants to contain China he needs up the pressure and stop playing political games against stopping China. However despite making numerous promises including numerous cultural promises, containing China was not something he brought up much. Speculation to why he does not care about containing China is naturally too extensive to cover here. Yet I am sure many people have their own reasons that come to mind.