Former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign has comprised of vague allusions to issues of the day, pandering platitudes that appeal to the lowest common denominator, and even plagiarism of President Donald Trump’s current policies. All this without any pushback from the Fourth Estate. Whether it is the Coronavirus pandemic or foreign policy in the Middle East, Biden has failed to articulate what he would do differently than his opponent in November – aside from not being President Trump. China is another subject that Biden has inadequately addressed, which might be concerning since he would inherit a rocky relationship with the Communist regime should he win the race for the White House. Would Biden cave to President Xi Jinping out of political expediency? Or would he maintain the president’s tough stance on the red dragon?
The Engagement with China Doctrine
Since Biden has been in public office for more than 40 years, he has seen the evolution of China, emerging from a country recovering from Maoism to an economic superpower. He has also witnessed the change in America’s diplomatic approach to Beijing, advancing from isolation to normalizing. And thus, this has been the geopolitical tactic since the 1970s for Republican and Democratic administrations.
For years, Biden has long believed in the “engagement with China” doctrine. The concept is simple enough: Talk, trade, and travel with Beijing so the country can accommodate and adapt to international norms. He has modified his position over the last year, going as far as calling President Xi Jinping a “thug” and describing the regime as “an authoritarian dictatorship.”
When he spoke at the Democratic National Convention, Biden outlined his four priorities, and managing the China file was not one of them. Nobody understands the justification for this apathy since China dramatically affects the U.S. economy and the world stage. Perhaps it is because his positions have been unclear. The only proposal we know is that he would scrap the tariffs on China, which is something he admitted in an interview with NPR. But even this is up in the air, based on commentary from the Biden-leaning punditry class that thinks he would maintain Trump’s hardline position.Chinese President Xi Jinping
“I don’t see any scenario in which he can go in, in the first six to 12 months, and lift those tariffs. The current political environment – left, right, and center – is going to require Biden to be tough on China,” said Nathan Sheets in an interview with Reuters. Sheets is a former Obama administration Treasury undersecretary who negotiated with China on economic issues.
The uncertainty of how Biden would manage China could be blamed on the former vice president himself. He has either refrained from listing specific solutions, or he outright copied Trump – remember his “Made in All of America” proposal? The 2020 contender averred that Beijing needs to play by the international rules, requiring the U.S. to work with the World Trade Organization (WTO) on cracking down on China’s currency manipulation, dumping of below-cost exports, and state-owned businesses receiving subsidies. Biden has fallen short of the details, but he still says he has a plan, unlike Trump.
“I will use tariffs when they are needed, but the difference between me and Trump is that I will have a strategy – a plan – to use those tariffs to win, not just to fake toughness,” he wrote in a statement to the United Steelworkers union in May.
A Fortune Made in China?
Like Ukraine, there are a lot of questions surrounding the Biden family’s connections to China.
President Trump recently warned that the Biden family would “sell out our country directly to the Chinese military.” Are the president’s statements warranted? While nobody has broken any laws, the political ethics and imagery should raise eyebrows – at least to somebody who is indifferent to the two-party football game occurring in Washington.
In December 2013, Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, traveled to Beijing on Air Force Two and accompanied his dad on an official visit. Soon after, Hunter’s firm, Rosemont Seneca, became a partner in a new investment company supported by the state-owned Bank of China. It then became Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). Hunter reportedly entered an investment agreement that involved the Bank of China.
Over the years, BHR has invested in strategically sensitive assets in the U.S. and China. One of these transactions involved a Michigan auto parts manufacturer and a top Chinese military defense contractor. In 2015, BHR and Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) purchased Henniges Automotive, a producer of vibration-dampening equipment. There were a few critical aspects of this deal. Henniges’ technology can be used for military purposes, so the acquisition needed federal approval. AVIC had been suspected of stealing U.S. technology. Soon after the deal was done, AVIC released its new J-2O fighter.
In that same year, another lucrative transaction was made. From Peter Schweizer and Jacob McLeod for the New York Post:
“In 2015, a state-backed real estate conglomerate acquired a controlling stake in Rosemont Realty, a sister company of Rosemont Seneca where Hunter served as an advisor. As part of the deal, the Chinese promised $3 billion for commercial office property acquisitions in the US — a major windfall for the company.”
Schweizer, an acclaimed investigative journalist, has reported on other questionable deals that have involved the Biden family and China. But the evidence of wrongdoing is lacking. As PolitiFact notes, for example, some of the figures that President Trump and his re-election team are throwing around, particularly the $1.5 billion number, are hard to verify, so “it’s unclear what personal income Biden is earning from the arrangement.”
A History of Failure
Biden is stuck in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of situation. If he is tough on China by replicating many of the same policies from the current administration, the left would, in theory, accuse him of being like Trump. If he is soft on China, Biden’s critics would immediately pounce and allude to his family’s crony relationship with Beijing. Whatever he decides to do, the record suggests he will get it wrong because foreign policy has never been his strongest issue. As former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates said: “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Iraq – from voting to invade to proposing to break it up – summarizes his foreign policy record – the same applies to all the Swamp creatures that have resided in Washington for far too long. As Liberty Nation‘s Political Columnist Joe Schaeffer opined, the Swamp taint that has latched onto Biden and his advisors is too strong to be washed away.
Read more from Andrew Moran.