In a piece in New York Magazine Andrew Sullivan produces a lengthy bill of indictment against the People’s Republic of China. I encourage you to read it in full.
He concludes with a plea to defeat Donald Trump’s re-election bid so Joe Biden can tell us what to do. Okay, I’ll bite. What do you think that President Biden would do? Recently his rhetoric has been if anything harsher than Donald Trump’s. On the other hand the foreign policy establishment is undoubtedly longing for a return to the neoliberal fantasies that have dominated U. S. foreign policy with respect to China for the last 40 years. On the third hand the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as exemplified by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders tends to be generally disinterested in foreign policy and, to the extent that it is interested, is inclined to lean on international institutions.
My guess is that will be the policy of a hypothetical Biden Administration. He’ll speak loudly and wield no stick, preferring to hope that “like-minded democracies” (are there any like-minded democracies?) will do the heavy lifting for us. That has never been true in the past but hope springs eternal.
My own view is that a China ruled by the Chinese Communist Party cannot be trusted as a trading partner or on anything else and will be focused, as Bill Clinton might have said, like a laser on holding on to power while extending China’s influence. Their zero sum view of trade and foreign policy more generally means to them that victory means our losing.