Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet, this time face-to-face, in November.
Meanwhile, at least two prominent Republicans, one a legendary figure in the history of American diplomacy, are concerned Biden’s power of interpersonal persuasion might be insufficient in warding off a severe escalation in tensions.
Saturday, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the Wall Street Journal that he fears a lack of diplomatic focus on the part of the Biden administration has the nation teetering on war, potentially with both China and Russia.
“We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” Kissinger said.
Kissinger added that he hoped the U.S. would not “accelerate the tensions and to create options” but stressed, “for that you have to have some purpose.”
The former Nixon cabinet member also criticized the Biden administration’s foreign policymakers of being more concerned with verbal condemnations than strategic action.
“I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction. It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment,” Kissinger said.
The Wall Street Journal reported late last week that Biden and Xi will likely meet in Southeast Asia at a political conference in either Thailand or Indonesia.
“China supports Indonesia and Thailand as the hosts of the two conferences, and is willing to work with all parties to promote the conference to achieve positive results,” China’s Foreign Ministry told the Journal.
Given the seemingly permanent state of tension between the two countries over the nation of Taiwan, it is unclear where common ground might be found.
In a well-documented story, the U.S. sent Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan recently, an act to which China responded with numerous shows of force and by accusing the U.S. of instigating in the Indo-Pacific. With tensions still boiling in the Taiwan Strait, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) led a delegation of legislators, including three other Democrats and one Republican from American Somoa, on another trip to Taiwan, which sparked more aggressive maneuvers from China.
The Biden administration has argued China is to blame for the tensions.
“Throughout these past weeks, the United States has held firm to our longstanding key objectives: preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the broader Indo-Pacific region,” Kurt Campbell, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, said during a teleconference. “This is critical to regional and global security and prosperity. It’s in all of our interests, and we are committed to continuing to seek peace and stability going forward.”
Campbell later added, “China’s actions are fundamentally at odds with the goal of peace and stability. They are part of an intensified pressure campaign against Taiwan, which has not ended, and we expect it to continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months…We will continue to take calm and resolute steps to uphold peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to undermine it, and to support Taiwan in line with our longstanding policy.”
The war of words has been ongoing and is unlikely to abate prior to November. However, it may also be foolhardy to take comfort in the fact that, to date, China and the U.S. have done little more than crow in opposite directions.
Gordon Chang, a conservative author who has written extensively about China, warned during a Monday appearance on Fox News that a cold war is not guaranteed to remain dormant. Even if the U.S. and China avoid direct declarations of war, a Ukraine-like proxy war could still arise.
“One year ago today, China issued propaganda saying that, when they invaded Taiwan — not if they invaded Taiwan — that the island would fall within hours and the U.S. would not come to help,” Chang said.
Chang said he believes that the United States’ abysmal withdrawal from Afghanistan proved a turning point in how the United States, and more broadly the West, was perceived in Beijing and Moscow.
“The fall of Afghanistan led to the failure of deterrence in Ukraine, where a much more powerful combination of the United States, the European Union, and Great Britain failed to deter Vladimir Putin. The Chinese believe that disarray in the Western coalition really means it is ineffective, and I think the Chinese believe that they can do what they want…The president of the United States is not preparing the American people for what is coming, what the Chinese tell us they want, which is war in Asia.